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EA’s new game ‘Top Legends’ is taking a shot at ‘Fortnite’

(Reuters) – “Apex of Legends,” the latest hit title by gaming company Electronic Arts Inc, is the shaking of the online battle arena, but the questions are looming about how much fire power it has on the long term and whether it can dispel popular “Fortnite.”

After an exciting investors with its fast start, “Lightning Legends” fell short for the second place on Wednesday, streaming game site Twitch for the reconquest of the crown.

Although the game was outdrawn by “Counter-Strike Global Offensive,” an older military shooter game with a solid e-sports fan base, it has a strong presence on Twitch, hit 688,000 peak live viewers – meaning that many people were watching how others play the game on the streaming platform.

“Apex Legends had a huge first week on Twitch. The generated hours more saw than any other game during the launch of the week in our history,” Michael Aragon, Twitch’s senior vice president of content, said in an e-mail.

Investors are closely watching for signs of involvement with “Apex Legends” after the drive EA shares up 27 percent on reports that the game, released 10 days ago had attracted 25 million users in the first week.

That was more than two times the number of the immensely popular game “Fortnite” logged in the two weeks after its first 2017 release. As “Fortnite,” “Apex Legends” is a free-to-play so-called battle royale format, where dozens of players are dropped on an island to fight to the death.

The first sign-up numbers for the “Apex Legends” had cheered EA investors after the last earnings report showed weak sales of the “Battlefield”, a more traditional EA offer.

EA shares were flat Wednesday.

Fortnite’s popularity – it has taken high schools by storm and has an estimated 200 million players around the world – had shaken an industry built on the sale of individual game titles for $50 or more a pop. While the game is free to download and play, users pay for upgrades, such as the “skins” appear on the characters. Joost van Boom, co-founder of SuperData, a Nielsen Company, estimates that in 2018, “Fortnite” raked in $2.4 billion sales, more than any other title.

Spencer Man, an 18-year-old high school student in Montgomery, Alabama, said he spent about $200 on upgrades during the play “Fortnite.” He said that he loves the fast pace of the “Apex Legends” and that it is not plagued by bugs in the way that “Fortnite”. But until now, he said, he has spent “no money” to “Apex Legends.”

Analysts question whether “Apex Legends” can scare away “Fortnite,” which is developed by Epic Games.

“‘Fortnite’ skew much younger and much more feminine because it is cartoony and the violence is not violent. When you kill a character says that you are, it doesn’t say that you’re dead,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.

Pachter also wonders if users pay that much for upgrades like skins in a first-person shooter game where only the character of the hands and the gun is in sight.

Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee; editing by Greg Mitchell and Lisa Shumaker

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