In a Reddit AMA, one fan suggested some players feel “cheated” by having to pay 1,800 Apex Coins (which is equivalent to $18/£14.40) for legendary skins, and asked whether, “as the game grows, is there any potential movement towards more affordable content across the board”.
Responding to criticism of its microtransactions strategy in a statement that was delivered through the studio’s director of communications, Ryan Rigney, Respawn’s “monetization guy” said “pricing is tricky and something we think about constantly.”
They claimed that content creation is more costly than fans realise and said pricing decisions are motivated by a desire to maintain a healthy business that allows the free-to-play game to “be around for a loooooong time”.
“As much as people think we can turn cosmetics out easily because our competition outputs content at a high rate, our team is much smaller and spends more time on our skins,” they wrote.
“The part of the equation people miss is the expense side of the people we have working on these things and the fact that we can’t work 24/7. It’s more expensive than people think in terms of number of people and hours because people don’t factor in tons of back and forth on concept, QA, ideation, creation, etc.”
They added: “Us being able to continue to make the game depends on operating a healthy business. We’re hoping players understand this is something we’re working hard to balance, but when you consider the full picture, it’s a tough challenge.
“There’s a lot players want from the Apex Universe, there’s a lot we want to give, but we can’t do that unless we’re a healthy business at the end of the day. New Game Modes, Maps, Features all come at a cost we’re trying to support.”
Respawn claimed on April 14 that Apex Legends had reached the 100 million player milestone some two years after its February 2019 release.
And Apex Legends publisher and Respawn owner Electronic Arts hailed the game’s “extraordinary performance” during its quarterly earnings call earlier this month.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson called it “one of the most successful games in the market today”. He said player engagement has been “growing globally at incredible levels throughout the last year” with Season 8 attracting over 12 million weekly active users – the highest levels seen since Season 1.
“As a result of this engagement, Apex delivered its largest net bookings quarter on record,” said chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen. “It also delivered the best day, the best 24-hour period, the best week, the best month and best in-game event.
“We suggested it would deliver over $1 billion in life-to-date net bookings by the end of the quarter. It actually passed that milestone with half of the quarter to go. Apex Legends delivered over $600 million for the year, well above our original expectations of $300 million to $400 million.
“Importantly, Apex Legends steadily grew through the year,” Jorgensen continued. “While Apex surely benefited from a stay-at-home tailwind, the upwards trajectory is driven by the game teams and the content they are delivering. That is the strength — that is, this strength is structural, to the point Season 8 was the first season built by a new content team we put together in Vancouver, proving our ability to scale resources on our fastest-growing franchise.”
Respawn and EA are also planning to launch Apex Legends Mobile during the six months ending on March 31, 2022.
According to series game director Chad Grenier, the mobile title is “a new version of Apex Legends, but it’s true to the original”.
The game has been “specially designed for touchscreens, with streamlined controls and thoughtful optimizations that result in the most advanced battle royale combat available on a phone”.
Closed beta tests will begin on Android devices for a few thousand players in India and the Philippines this spring, before the game is rolled out to more regions and players over the course of the year.