These days, Respawn, a unit of video-game giant Electronic Arts Inc., is living up to its name. The studio, based in suburban Los Angeles, released the hottest game of the year on Feb. 4. Apex Legends, which is free to play and uses a battle-royale format similar to the global hit Fortnite, has already signed up 50 million users.
The studio announced Tuesday that it is introducing a new character, a high-speed player called Octane, and a $9.50 season pass, which allows access to more content. That shows Apex is aiming squarely at Fortnite, the phenomenon made by closely held Epic Games Inc. Apex could generate as much as $500 million in revenue for Electronic Arts in fiscal 2020, according to Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co.
“Apex is taking advantage of a market of core gamers that were probably tired of fortnite free v bucks generator, and happy to embrace a battle-royale game that has more of the look and feel of the first-person shooters,” Sebastian said in an email. “Launch timing was also fortuitous just as some fatigue was setting in for Fortnite.”
The tale of Apex is a happy one for the industry, in that it signals traditional game makers who were used to selling $60 titles can move fairly quickly into the free-to-play universe and still have something to sell. Electronic Arts shares are up about 13 percent since the title’s release.
Apex is a first-person-shooter game, where teams of three players compete to be the last people standing on a shrinking landscape called Kings Canyon. There are 60 players in all. Although contestants don’t have to purchase anything, many buy new “skins” for their characters, decorations for their weapons and one-liners, called quips, to intimidate rivals. Sample: “Don’t look for sympathy. You won’t find it.” Skins cost about $18.
In addition to the three-person fighting format, Apex has other features that differentiate it somewhat from Fortnite, including the ability for a jump master to control where the team lands when they drop into the game.