It looks like Apex Legends won’t be matching the overwhelming popularity of the older Fortnite game, but has carved out a very invested segment of the Battle Royale market for itself at launch.
Apex Legends is the first game to really compete with Fortnite on the PC/console market since the first batch of Battle Royale games (PUBG, Fortnite, etc.) competed for dominance last year.
According user metrics tracked at NPD, Apex Legends is currently sitting at 12 percent engagement with NPD's panel, while Fortnite sits at 34 percent engagement. That sounds like a significant difference, but keep in mind that Apex Legends is only two months into its lifecycle. When Apex Legends launched, NPD tracked it at 9 percent engagement. By comparison, when NPD first tracked Fortnite after the launch of its Battle Royale mode, only 2 percent of NPD's panel had ever played it.
"This matches up to what Respawn has announced themselves. A month into launch, Apex Legends reached a player count of 50 million, a feat which took Fortnite over three months to achieve," said Leandro Foruria, a at the NPD Group.
"There’s definitely a player base interested in Battle Royale experiences that simply didn’t exist before Fortnite, and Apex Legends has been able to capitalize on this to get off to a faster start than Fortnite did," Foruria added.
NPD also says that Apex Legends has a more core audience than Fortnite, which has managed to attract a broader audience. It looks like Apex Legends gamers are more likely than Fortnite gamers to invest both time and money in the PC/console space.
According to NPD's data, 51 percent of Apex Legends players spend 11 hours or more on PC/console gaming than Fortnite players (38 percent), and 29 percent of them spend over $250 or more on gaming each year, compared to the 21 percent of Fortnite players. This difference is also reflected in the demographics of both games, including gender and age, with the majority of Apex Legends players being male, while Fortnite is more diverse in its gender split; and the largest age group for Apex Legends gamers is 18-24, while Fortnite’s largest age group is 13-17. This matches up to the market for each title. Apex Legends is a PC/Console-focused shooter; there’s no entry point on mobile for the game like there is for Fortnite and PUBG (though EA recently mentioned “advanced negotiations to bring Apex Legends to China and mobile).
Fortnite also has a more cartoony, colorful art style, while Apex Legends opts for a more realistic, militaristic look similar to Respawn’s previous game, Titanfall.