“Despite Apex Mobile’s strong start, the ongoing experience was not going to meet the expectations of our players,” explained EA in a statement. “After months of working with our development partner, we have made the mutual decision to sunset the mobile game.”
EA continued, “We’ve also made the decision to stop the development of the current Battlefield mobile title. As the industry has evolved and our to create deeply connected Battlefield ecosystem has taken shape, we decided to pivot from the current direction to best on our vision for the franchise and to meet the expectations of our players.”
On today’s earnings call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson offered an additional sentence in his prepared remarks that speaks to the possible future of Apex Legends on mobile. “We have learned a great deal [from Apex Legends Mobile] and have plans to reimagine a connected Apex Mobile experience in the future.”
This seems to indicate that EA may bring Apex Legends back to mobile in some format without Apex Legends Mobile’s development partner, Tencent subsidiary and PUBG Mobile maker Lightspeed Studios.
We have made the decision to sunset Apex Legends Mobile.
We’re sure you have a lot of questions. For more information on where things are at the moment, including an FAQ, please read the blog below.https://t.co/Yjr4EOJnTq pic.twitter.com/4k3dGzOL12
— Respawn (@Respawn) January 31, 2023
Later in the call, Wilson gave a much more in-depth answer as to why it shut down Apex Legends Mobile. He cited three main reasons. The first was related to gameplay:
“There is a level of immersion and complexity to Apex gameplay in particular which is very much what Apex is about – verticality of gameplay and team-based play – that didn’t translate quite as well to mobile devices as we had hoped. I think we learned a great deal from that.”
For the second, Wilson said that while Apex Legends Mobile was engaging core players and had initially attracted new users, it “didn’t retain the more casual user at the rate that we needed it to, and in a game that relies a lot on team play and competitive play, liquidity of the overall playerbase is really, really important as you think about the future experience for players over time.”
Finally, Wilson cited an especially challenging mobile market with “changing player personalities” making it difficult to gain a foothold. However, he reiterated EA’s interest in circling back to Apex on mobile, albeit with a different approach.
“The biggest new launches that are seeing the most success are the ones that are deeply connected to the broader franchise where there’s not always cross-play but certainly cross-progression and the feeling that they’re part of a single unified community and a single unified game experience.”
Wilson then went on to indicate that EA is also thinking along the same lines for Battlefield Mobile, which may similarly make a return in the future.
“Certainly as we had those learnings from Apex Legends and we were developing into Battlefield Mobile, we anticipated that while Battlefield had also been in development for some time and was making good progress, given the construct of that game, it also was probably going to run into some of the same challenges,” Wilson said. “And rather than continue to push against that, we wanted to come back, take a breath, reset, and really think about the broader franchise strategy and allow the leadership to build a true cross-platform immersive game experience around a reimagined Battlefield in the future.”
EA said that it will also continue working on Battlefield 2042, and is in pre-production on future Battlefield games. Back in September, it was revealed that Halo veteran Marcus Lehto will be leading Ridgeline Games to develop new Battlefield narrative campaigns.
As of today, Apex Legends will be removed from existing storefronts, and all real money in-app purchases will be disabled. However, players can continue to spend their existing Syndicate Gold and continue playing until May 1. This shutdown is specific to the mobile version and will not affect any other platforms. Additionally, no refunds will be provided.
In IGN’s Apex Legends Mobile review, we said, “Apex Legends Mobile showcases Respawn’s skill in creating unique and polished FPS experiences even on a mobile platform. While the controls are a bit lacking, Apex Mobile sets the bar for mobile FPS games with its ability to keep Apex’s iconic movement mechanics and core unique battle royale experience intact.”
Update, 01/31: This story has been updated to include multiple statements from Andrew Wilson on EA’s Q3 earnings call and the news that Industrial Toys has been shut down.
George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. He’s been writing about the industry since 2019 and has worked with other publications such as Insider, Kotaku, NPR, and Variety.
When not writing about video games, George is playing video games. What a surprise! You can follow him on Twitter @Yinyangfooey
Additional reporting by Rebekah Valentine.