Apex Legends relives past glory during the coronavirus pandemic

Apex Legends season 5 has hit a new high the game hasn’t reached since last year.

Between its launch on May 12 and EA’s fiscal quarter end on June 30, Apex Legends season 5 tallied the highest player engagement since Apex Legends season 1 launched last year, EA said in an earnings release on Thursday. EA didn’t define engagement in the statement, but the term is generally used to describe players actually playing a game regularly.

The Apex Legends Lost Treasures event, which launched on June 23 and spanned two weeks, attracted 96 million collective play hours during its run, EA added during an earnings call with investors and analysts.

EA’s announcements came alongside a strong quarter for the company, driven primarily by quarantined players turning to video games to get through their pandemic-riddled days. EA said its total revenue soared to $1.5 billion last quarter, up from $1.2 billion during the same period last year. And while profits slid from $1.4 billion to $365 million, EA noted that last year’s higher figure was driven by a one-time tax savings.

Regardless, EA said on its earnings call that game-playing has soared. The Sims watched its user growth jump by 110% year over year and reach new record daily, weekly, and monthly player tallies. The Sims 4 now has 30 million players.

Despite sports shutting down during the last quarter, EA’s games didn’t take a hit. FIFA and Madden NFL online play jumped by 100% and 140% year over year, the company reported. Any possible embargo on football games this season shouldn’t impact Madden NFL 21 sales when it launches next month, EA chief Andrew Wilson added.

Analysts pressed EA’s leadership during the earnings call on whether the company planned to sell next-generation titles for the same $60 it’s offering current-generation games for now. Wilson sidestepped the question but said that EA currently believes players will initially buy titles for existing hardware and want free upgrades on new consoles when they make the transition.

Looking ahead, EA’s executives said they’re taking a “conservative” approach to their business through the rest of the year because they don’t know how the economy will shift in the coming months. They do, however, expect gameplay to remain strong for the foreseeable future.

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