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EA’s ‘Fortnite’ Rival Wins 10 Million Gamers Within Three Days of Launch

CALIFORNIA: EA owns iconic gaming franchises such as “FIFA,” “Need for Speed” and “Battlefield,” but the rapid rise last year of free-to-play online games like “Fortnite” and “PUBG” are forcing the company and its industry peers Activision-Blizzard and Take-Two to sit up and take notice.

A game developed by Electronics Arts Inc as a competitor to the wildly popular “Fortnite” has signed up 10 million players within three days of its launch, the videogame maker said, driving its shares up 16 % on Friday.

With “Apex Legends,” EA is hoping to reproduce the success of “Fortnite,” a sort of hybrid of “The Hunger Games” and “Minecraft” that drops 100 people onto an island to fight each other for survival.

The number of gamers playing “Apex Legends” had crossed 10 million and there were about 1 million gamers logged on at the same time, EA said late on Thursday. As of Friday, the game was the most viewed on gaming live-streaming network Twitch.

The figures come just days after EA lowered its yearly revenue projections following weak sales of its “Battlefield V” title, news that had sent its stock plunging 18 %.

“Fortnite” and “PUBG,” each backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, are credited with helping take gaming to new audiences and popularizing the battle royale format, where dozens of online players battle each other to the death.