Apex Legends was meant to kill Fortnite: Instead things got complicated

With the meteoric rise of Apex Legends, it's only natural that people are wondering if Fortnite – which has dominated the battle royale space for the past year – is feeling the heat. After all, Apex Legends was able to claim 50 million players after only a month of availability, and surely some of those must have been converts from Fortnite, right? While a few of them probably were, it seems that Apex Legends hasn't had a noticeable effect on Fortnite's player base.

That's according to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, who recently sat down with GamesBeat to talk about GDC 2019. Obviously, any conversation with Tim Sweeney is going to involve Fortnite, as it's the most popular game around at the moment.

In the interview, Sweeney tells GamesBeat's Dean Takahashi that Fortnite is quickly closing in on 250 million players – a major milestone that most battle royale titles will probably never come close to meeting. "Since Apex Legends came out, we've gained an Apex Legends worth of Fortnite players, which is amazing," Sweeney said, suggesting that Fortnite's growth has been in line with that of Apex Legends.

Sweeney goes onto point out that Fortnite has achieved a non-event peak twice since Apex Legends launched. "We haven't seen any visible cut to Fortnite," he then said, laying it all out. However, just because Apex Legends isn't disrupting Fortnite in the way a lot of people figured it would, that doesn't mean Fortnite is entirely immune to pressure from other games. Sweeney says that FIFA has been known to cut into Fortnite playtime when its popularity peaks, which probably shouldn't be surprising considering the huge global presence FIFA has.

Sweeney then had some nice things to say about Apex Legends, praising the fact that it's "re-energized a lot of shooter players, people who come in and out of shooters depending on what's popular." In the end, Sweeney said that it's "awesome" to see other games attempting to put their own spin on battle royale, just as Apex Legends has done with its ping system and its heavy focus on squad-based gameplay.

So, for now at least, Apex Legends isn't the Fortnite killer its successful launched suggested it would become. That may not hold true forever, as Apex seems to be getting more and more popular, but at the moment it seems that Fortnite's status as the biggest battle royale game on the block is secure.