The Arms Race for Battle Royale Heats up With New Competitor

By Nick Licouris

The arms race for the video game genre, Battle Royale, is heating up with a new contender in the mix, Apex Legends by Respawn and EA. In the past few years we have seen some games reach to top levels and be taken over by the next big hit, starting with ARMA 2/DayZ and continuing into H1Z1: King of the Kill to the first massively successful standalone Battle Royale game, PlayersUnknown Battlegrounds, in 2017. PlayersUnknown Battlegrounds was the king of the hill when it came to Battle Royale in 2017 selling over twenty million copies by the end of the year.

With the success of PUBG, we saw many new faces try to knock off the king starting with the release of Fortnite Battle Royale by Epic Games in September of 2017. Over the next year, Fortnite, has blossomed into the top dog in the genre amassing over 200 million unique players with a concurrent player count in the millions at one time. Fortnite was able to capture new players by the ever-changing world map, new in-game items and the invention of the battle pass. Epic does a phenomenal job to keep the game fresh and up to date. They were even able to stage an in-game live concert event with one of today’s top DJ’s today, Marshmello, that had over ten million people log into the game to watch. Although we have seen massive success in Fortnite, it hasn't been all roses for new competitors into space. Last year in 2018, we experienced many new faces such as Islands of Nyne, Ring of Elysium and of course Blackout.

As Fortnite came off one of its most successful seasons, season 7, at the end of 2018 and right before their new season 8 launched on February 28th, we had an out of nowhere new surprise contender join the mix. Apex Legends by Respawn and EA was released in early February 2019 and created an immediate buzz in the industry. In the first 72 hours, they had amassed over twenty-five million users with a few million concurrent players. This feat is very impressive for a market dominated by one competitor. Apex Legends has had an impressively smooth launch and will be rolling out their first season in March to go head to head with Fortnite. All the pieces are in place for Apex Legends to knock off Fortnite but it will come down to excellent execution by Respawn and EA. Who will rain top of the mountain in 2019?

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