Special Report

Apex Legends hits new heights on mobile

data.ai investigates how the successful battle royale shooter title changed its approach for mobile market success

Apex Legends hits new heights on mobile

This article is part of an ongoing series of data-driven articles from PocketGamer.biz and data.ai (formerly App Annie) highlighting trends in the global mobile games sector using data.ai’s Game IQ analytics.

Since it launched on May 17th 2022, the mobile version of the enormously successful EA title Apex Legends has found a dedicated global audience.

Apex Legends is a free-to-play Battle Royale/hero shooter game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. It was originally released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in February 2019, with more console launches following later.

According to data.ai metrics, consumer appetite for Battle Royale/Shooter games - which includes Apex Legends - has seen explosive growth since 2018, with heavyweight titles such as Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, and Knives Out all driving adoption.

Indeed, of the 153 unique game sub-genres that data.ai’s Game IQ tracks, Battle Royale/Shooting is at #19 (as at H1 2022). Collective downloads are at 329 million (up from 221 million in 2021) with consumer spend at nearly $1.9 billion.

Battle Royale/Shooter

From its launch in May 2022, Apex Legends ended the first half (H1) of 2022 as the top Battle Royale/Shooter game by download, active users and consumer spend.

According to data.ai, one of the reasons for Apex Legends ongoing success is consumer appetite for Battle Royale/Shooter games. According to data.ai’s metrics, the Battle Royale genre has seen extensive growth since 2018, with heavyweight titles such as Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, and Knives Out all driving adoption.

Of the 153 unique game sub-genres tracked by Game IQ, Battle Royale/Shooting takes the number 19 slot, as of H1 2022. Collectively downloads have exceeded 329 million - and increase from 221 million in 2021, with consumer spend now approaching $1.9 billion.

Mechanics and features

Data.ai asked LILA Games and Gamemakers CEO Joseph Kim, what features and gameplay mechanics were incorporated into the Apex Legends which have fueled gamer adoption?

Kim, said: “Apex Legends Mobile is exceptionally well polished, well balanced, and has excellent gunplay and feel. Many of the design choices for mobile have been excellent. For example, a simple auto-looting system, aim-assist accommodation, optimization to help support lower-end devices, a robust training mode, and a mobile-only perks system.

The perks system adds a progression vector and gives the game more of an RPG game feel. Most importantly, the game prioritizes progression for mobile players over high skill-cap and competitive gameplay, which is more relevant for PC titles. Two areas in which I believe Respawn + Lightspeed could have improved the game is the level of core loop fragmentation they introduced into the game and taking too conservative of an approach to monetisation.”

In addition, data.ai’s Game IQ Feature Tags enable a comprehensive overview of the features which are utilised by the leading games across the whole genre, enabling the identification of those features which stand out against the competition.

Download Now

DATA.AI’s Q2 2022 Mobile Market Pulse Top Apps and Games offers even greater insight into the global mobile markets and the performance of the leading apps and games in key regions around the world. The report is available for free and can be downloaded here.

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