It’s not a universal maxim, but in many cases, there’s no surer sign a game is alive and well than when waves of players start calling it a “dead game.” The most recent example is Apex Legends, which just set an all-time player count record amid a coordinated—I use that word generously—social media campaign urging players to fall off the game for a month.
Apex Legends, a free-to-play first-person shooter some people still call Why Aren’t You Titanfall 3?, launched three years ago amid the industry’s battle royale boom. Though it initially seemed experimental, a fun if ephemeral multiplayer pitstop between developer Respawn’s blockbusters (like Titanfall and Jedi: Fallen Order), Apex quickly adopted a seasonal model. It’s been riding the live service train ever since and is now on its 14th season. This brings us to #NoApexAugust, a community effort to highlight various issues fans have with the game.
#NoApexAugust has mostly organized around a hashtag on Twitter, though the genesis can be traced back to a Reddit post from last month. Initially, one player suggested a single-day strike against Apex Legends. The post blew up. Complaints about Apex Legends poured in (the initial post has more than 1,000 reponses), and it eventually morphed into the idea that the community would take a whole month off from the game.
The idea of #NoApexAugust was to spur Respawn and publisher EA into action, addressing what players see as issues with the game: the high-ping servers…or the lack of cross-progression…or the overpriced cosmetics…or the lack or interesting cosmetics…or the slew of specific items some say are too powerful…or, look, players have a bunch of disparate issues, many of which seem minor in isolation but coalesce into a larger “please fix game” rallying cry.
Right out of the gate, #NoApexAugust sputtered. Some people pointed out that the player base actually increased (if only marginally) over the first two days of the month, immediately after the campaign kicked off. And just yesterday—again, while #NoApexAugust was supposedly in full swing—Apex Legends set its all-time record number of players on Steam: 510,286 players, according to stat-tracking database Steamcharts. (The previous record of 411,183 was set in May. These figures don’t account for players on consoles, however.)
Some dead game.
Clearly, #NoApexAugust has failed spectacularly at its intended goal of getting players to abstain from playing Apex Legends. Due to the obvious irony, you are allowed at least one (1) chuckle. Still, that a social campaign—messy execution aside—was merited here in the first place calls attention to very real issues players have with the game. Those shouldn’t be ignored, even if players are coming out in record numbers.
Representatives for EA, which publishes Apex Legends, did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.