Just in time to celebrate its fourth anniversary, Respawn Entertainment’s popular free-to-play hero shooter Apex Legends has hit a new peak concurrent player count on Steam.
As of today, Apex Legends’ new peak for the number of people playing simultaneously is a whopping 610,433 players, according to SteamDB. That marks a significant increase over its previous high water mark of 510,000 players, which it hit in August last year. This boost in concurrent players comes shortly after the launch of the battle royale’s 16th season, which brought a bunch of changes and new gameplay modes players have been fiending for.
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Chief among the new changes to Apex Legends is the replacement of its contentious 3v3 arena mode with the highly anticipated Team Deathmatch option. During the preview event for season 16, Apex Legends’ design director Evan Nikolich said the removal of 3v3 arenas was in part because it wasn’t “hitting our goal of being a good place to practice the core combat loop of Apex.”
“Arenas was supposed to be our smaller slice of BR mode,” game mode designer Marty Wong said. “What ended up being was, it was kind of a sweatier, more high-stakes mode. A lot of players would go into it feeling like they couldn’t make mistakes or couldn’t really experiment, they always had to play really hard. We’re hoping that TDM comes in and provides a place for players to die fast and feel comfortable making mistakes, hoping that gives Apex a lot more accessibility for new players.”
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Apex Legends’ boost couldn’t have come at a better time considering the battle royale saw a steep drop in players after the launch of Season 15 back in November of last year. For my nerds out there, Apex Legends’ concurrent player count went from 412,961 players on November 24 to 349,798 players on December 22.
Apex Legends’ TDM is a 6v6 game mode where the first team to score 30 kills wins a round, and the first team to take two rounds wins the match. Unlike Apex Legends proper, there are no downs, just the brisk unaliving of enemies and quick respawns.