Electronic Arts is in “advanced negotiations” to bring massive free-to-play battle royale hit “Apex Legends” to both mobile phones and to China and already have plans in place to self-publish the game in Korea, EA chief operating officer and chief financial officer said during an earnings call this week.
“We will update you on timeframes when those negotiations are concluded,” he said. “The game offers an opportunity for us to build a direct connection with our players (in Korea), and we hope to be able to leverage this for other games.
“Apex Legends” is the fastest growing new game EA has ever had, according to the company, reaching 50 million players in record time and bringing in a glut of people new to EA. The company estimates that 30% of the game’s players are new to the company.
EA chief executive officer Andrew Wilson said the company is now focused on delivering new seasons and more robust Battle Pass content to the game. He also noted that developer Respawn Entertainment learned a lot from the launch of a game that broke so many records in terms of player count and growth early on.
“When you bring 50 million players or more in short order, you learn a lot of stuff and you learn about the dynamics that come up with scale, with access, with matchmaking, with cheating, with monetization, with content creation,” he said. “And I’m proud to say that the Respawn team is a learning team and they are taking all of that and rolling that back in the game experience.”
The developers focus now is to ensure that the core of the game continues to be fun, exciting and fair for all players and that the players “insatiable appetite for new content and new programming” is fulfilled, Wilson said.
EA hasn’t released updated numbers since the game — which released in February — reached 50 million players in its first month, but viewership of the game in action has seen a massive drop. Last month, StreamElements reported the number of hours people spent watching “Apex Legends” fell from over 40 million in February to just over 10 million in March. Twitch viewership and Google searches are down substantially as well, according to Seeking Alpha. Streamers like Ninja and Dr. Disrespect have returned to other titles like “Fortnite,” with the latter comparing “Apex Legends” to Daybreak’s failing battle royale game “H1Z1.”
The company declined to offer any updated insight into the games current performance in this week’s earnings call.
“We’re not in a place where we’re going to give out a lot of metrics,” Jorgensen said, responding to an analysts question about the game’s performance over the past 45 days. “The first 30 days was off the chart because so many people were playing. Our average daily user basis has come down slightly, but there’s still a lot of people playing. And obviously, the biggest challenge on spend is having enough things that people could spend money on. You got to create content for people to spend money on. So you probably should assume that our spend levels have come down.”
Jorgensen went on to say that the company is still learning what the game’s spending patterns look like.
“I would say that we’re still very happy with where it is and that it has a very consistent user base,” he said. “And we’re trying to keep people with new content and new ways to play and that’s where the biggest focus is going to be as well as continue to make sure that the player’s experience gets better and better in terms of how they play.”
Part of the challenge is that prior to the release of “Apex Legends,” the biggest concurrent user day the company had was with a “FIFA” game when it hit 1.5 million users. “Legends” has concurrents that are five to ten times that number, he said.
“Everything has worked much better than we thought,” Jorgensen said. “So it’s just a question of more content.”