Warzone is gunning for the #1 spot
The newest Battle Royale, Call of Duty: Warzone, was released by Activision on March 10th and appeared to be an immediate success. Only three days after its release, it managed to amass a whopping 15 million players, surpassing its counterparts by a mile, with the closest being Apex Legends which gained 10 million players in the three days following its launch.
1 day - 6m
3 days - 15m
Number of Apex Legends players after:
1 day - 2.5m
3 days - 10m
1 week - 25m
4 weeks - 50m
Number of Fortnite BR players after:
2 weeks - 10m
6 weeks - 20m
11 weeks - 30m
16 weeks - 45m
Acquiring players in the video game market as a free-to-play game has never been easier; however, having these many players in a limited time is worth applause. This could be due to the immense COD fanbase, or streamers and other players looking for a change from the usual, tedious gameplay. Warzone's player population continues to grow exponentially each week, with the game being a top choice for streamers, fans of the genre, and even Call of Duty enthusiasts who weren’t generally keen on the Battle Royale format before.
Immediately after its release, a plethora of content creators rushed to cover its release; and in the process of doing so influenced a majority of the gaming community. Since the day of its release, there has been a slight decline in the statistics of other games, especially games falling in the same category.
The phase that Apex Legends experienced following its release is what Warzone is currently going through, but its success seems a bit more long-lasting.
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Now as one would imagine the most affected games of Warzone's success were of the shooting genre, specifically Battle Royale. Amongst these games were Apex Legends and Fortnite, and the decline their statistics had to encounter.
Apex Legends has lacked the capacity for private matches, a baffling oversight for a battle royale game competing with the likes of Fortnite and Call of Duty. Pros and prospects alike were forced to improvise every time they wanted to practice, looking for empty lobbies on dead servers. Various bugs and server issues deteriorated the experience, and the introduction of Skill Based Matchmaking (SBMM) only made things worse.
The game severely lacked updates and it seemed like only once in a season would the players get an update and the fan-base would spark up. The in-game events are a forced push to the game but those attempts usually would be futile given the server issues. Nonetheless, Ranked Apex was the only aspect that was thriving to a certain extent. A number of tournaments had happened leading up to the Major. The entire community was hyped for this event but COVID-19 struck and the event ended up being called off.
Apex Legends and Warzone are extremely similar games, with almost the same functionality and all Warzone did was change up things a little, capitalized on some of Apex’s drawbacks and they had a huge portion of Apex fanbase queuing up for matches. To give a little insight into how COD affected Apex here’s a look at the statistics from sullygnome, a third-party Twitch analytics database.
An overall decline in all factors, suggesting that people’s interest had incurred a decline. If we probe a bit deeper into the infographics, we tend to notice that this change was focused after the 10th of March, the release of Warzone.
Another game that had to tolerate the effects after Warzone’s release was Fortnite. The brutality of the effect, however, wasn’t as severe compared to Apex Legends.
Fortnite amassed popularity in the years after its release unlike any other game in the past. This Battle Royale game helped the Epic Games earn a reported $1.8 billion in 2019, and a majority of it is credited to a mix of gameplay, unique building mechanics and tons of big-budget crossovers to get players from every age group. Many Battle Royale games emerged but none of them could even come close to dethroning the King of this genre – Fortnite.
Fortnite was able to dispatch early incumbents such as DayZ, H1Z1, Rust, and PUBG, but other reputed publishers have joined this race since then. The only game which stumbled Fortnite’s position was Apex Legends. A First-Person Battle Royale game developed by Respawn Entertainment, backed by its owner Electronic Arts (EA).
The effects were crucial at the start; however, in only a matter of months, Fortnite was able to reconcile all of its followers back. Developer Infinity Ward created a game that might be able to topple Fortnite. The Warzone team seemingly learned from the mistakes made with 2018's attempt at a Call of Duty battle royale game – Blackout.
Let’s take a look at statistics once again:
There are three main takeaways from this image. Although, the number of hours Fortnite was watched in the last 14 days increased, a closer look reveals that the percentage increase is lower than Fortnite usually faces. The Average Viewers rank decreased, COD rushed to the throne, and the Viewer Ratio faced a slight decline. All of these numbers aren’t staggering but enough to give a perspective that if things continue the way they are, Fortnite might finally have a worthy competitor.
It can be seen that immediately after Warzone’s release, the numbers plummeted but managed to rise again.
To sum it all up here’s a snippet from Google Trends:
The trend of Fortnite stumbled on the 10th of March but was soon back on its feet again. Warzone managed a steady pace and Apex Legends is still lagging behind.
Other games were affected too, but Fortnite and Apex Legends are the major obstacles a game has to face if it aims to be the #1 Battle Royale. The passing of time will decide whether Call of Duty will face the same fate as Apex Legends or it will rise to a similar level of popularity Fortnite has today.
Image via Activision