Electronic Arts Inc. said 50 million players have signed up for its Apex Legends video game in the title’s first month, further evidence that the free game is tough competition for Epic Games Inc.’s Fortnite.
EA tweeted thanks to players Monday morning for the quick ascent to 50 million. Fortnite, also free in its popular battle-royale format, took four months to reach 40 million players and now has a registered base of more than 200 million.
Fortnite remains a global phenomenon, but its revenue is slowing as the game ages and competition increases.
A report last month from industry tracker SuperData found that Fortnite’s revenue fell 48 percent month-over-month in January, giving a boost to EA’s shares.
With Apex Legends, EA has found a new way to ride the gaming industry’s accelerating transition toward digital delivery and away from physical discs.
“Expanding sales from full-game digital downloads, mobile and live services creates a steadier, more-predictable revenue stream,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matthew Kanterman said in a note.
After some early gains, EA shares were around break-even in New York trading.
Despite rising since a December low, the stock is down about 23 percent in the past year, similar to the 21 percent decline of rival Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.