Fortnite Is Doing Just Fine As Apex Legends Rises

Suffice it to say, Fortnite still has some people playing.

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The popularity of Fortnite is something truly remarkable. It has long since eclipsed that of its inspiration, PUBG, growing into a cultural sensation that transcends the typical confines of what's possible for a video game. Its massive success (and that of PUBG) has prompted numerous other companies to try their hand at the battle royale genre. 2019 has brought notable new competition in the form of Apex Legends, an excellent take on the genre from Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment. Epic Games wants you to know Fortnite is doing just fine, though.

With much being made about the player figures Apex has amassed since its release--more than 25 million players and a peak concurrent count of 2 million in its first week--there has been speculation that this success will surely cut into that of Fortnite. Seemingly in response to this, Epic has released some updated figures of its own, revealing Fortnite had its best day ever in terms of peak concurrent players (meaning the number of players online simultaneously) earlier this month.

During the DJ Marshmello concert on February 2, Fortnite had 10.7 million players, the game's biggest day ever. It followed that up more recently with 7.6 million players on February 16, which Epic says was the game's best non-event day ever.

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This would all suggest that Fortnite is not struggling due to Apex. Certainly, numerous other game companies have--in the interest of alleviating investors' fears--stated that Fortnite is growing the market, rather than simply stealing players from other games. They'd likely claim the same is true of Apex, which will continue to grow with its first-ever Battle Pass in March and the recently added Havoc gun.

That said, there is a caveat to keep in mind. Epic recently announced that you can earn the upcoming Season 8 Battle Pass for free by completing new Overtime challenges right now. Some saw this move as an attempt to stop bleeding players drawn to Apex by giving them the opportunity to avoid having to drop about $10 (or spending previously earned V-Bucks) to gain access to exclusive challenges and rewards during Season 8. That record day on February 16 was the first Saturday during which the Overtime challenges were available, and it seems fair to assume the Battle Pass freebie played a major role in that big day.

Whatever the rationale behind giving away the Battle Pass for free, it seems clear that it's having the intended effect. And however big Apex may grow, don't expect Fortnite to go anywhere in the near future.

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