Is it Fair That Apex Legends Global Series is PC-only?

Competitive Apex Legends is Here

Last week, developer Respawn Entertainment announced the Apex Legends Global Series:

A collection of official, highly-competitive events that will bring together contenders at all levels from around the globe on PC.

Their announcement highlights the key features of the upcoming series:

  • Initially features 12 global live events throughout the year
  • The first Online Tournament takes place on January 25, 2020 (event registration starts January 11)
  • The first live Major takes place on March 13-15, 2020
  • A total prize pool of more than $3 million
  • PC Players from more than 60 countries are eligible to compete

You’ll notice how their description doesn’t include anything about console players. That’s because these events are only available to legends who play on a computer!

As you can imagine, console players all over the world are pretty angry. This got the Two Average Gamers thinking, is this fair?

Following our last debate on limited-time modes, we wanted continue that format to explore whether it’s fair that the Apex Legends Global Series is a PC-only phenom.We’ll each give an initial statement then respond to the opposing side.

After you get through our thoughts, let us know if we missed anything. Most importantly, tell us which side you’re on!

If you’re on PC, you can sign up for the series here and learn more about the official rules.


Register for Global Series

Opening Statements

Both of us wrote our initial arguments without looking at what the other wrote. Let the debate begin!https://youtu.be/rqQZqAH0lv0

Ya, it’s fair – Opening Statements by Yoshyaes

I’ve got a gaming PC, but I’m clearly in the “console gamer” camp. I’ve got about a dozen consoles across the Big 3 in the industry and spend most of my video game time on console games.

That said, it is absolutely fair that Respawn has decided to make the Global Series a PC-only event.

For starters, Respawn offers its hit title as a free-to-play game. Unlike pay-to-win games like Battlefront 2, you can have a great time playing Apex without spending a dime. If you do decide to drop some bucks on skins, it won’t give you any tactical advantage in the game.

Respawn gave the gaming community a valuable gift and doesn’t owe us anything.

Next, there’s nothing to stop console players from connecting a PS4/Xbox One controller to their PC, downloading the game for free and entering the series. You’ll have access to aim assist using your controller, but can turn it off if you want full control of your crosshairs.

Given the time to kill in Apex is slightly longer than most shooters – outside of using a peace keeps from close range or landing a kraber headshot – most of the wins in this competition should come down to solid decision making and excellent map rotations. The mouse has a higher potential for precise movements, but accuracy is only one part of the equation if you want to be champions of the arena.

Lastly, at the end of the day, Respawn Entertainment is a business; one that needs to make a profit. Most of the top Apex Legends Twitch streamers are playing PC. This suggests that the majority of players are:

  1. Also playing on PC
  2. Looking to watch PC streams
  3. Both of the above

Respawn needs to start somewhere and it makes sense for them to start where the money is. It just makes sense.

This is messed up – Opening Statements by Flash

In this unfair world we live in, let’s add the fact that Apex Legends Global Series being PC-only as another notch in that belt. In the most elementary perspective of the fact, “only” implies exclusivity. Not to blow this up to a bigger issue than what it is, American joined by many other developed countries around the world, strive to provide equal opportunities. So, when Respawn says something is only for one population and not for others, it inherently is going against the foundations of our entire society!

chuck norris america

In all seriousness though, there are a few main reasons why I think this is not just unfair, it is also a bad business move. For the better part of the last decade, the industry of e-sports has seen exponential growth in popularity, revenue, and exposure. A lion’s share of that has been on the backbone of PC gaming. Essential games like Starcraft and Counter Strike have opened up venues for games like Dota and League of Legends. We are now even several seasons into rocket-powered car soccer game, Rocket League’s Championship Series. The one thing all of these games have in common? Their e-sport presence existed on PC.

It’s time to expand. 

According to a graphic found on WePC.com from Newzoo, the market share of the revenue from PC gaming does not warrant this type of exclusivity. In fact, the numbers suggest we should be branching into mobile e-sports rather than my suggestion of console. 

Gaming Distribution Chart
Graphic found from WePC.com

In this scenario regarding Respawn’s Apex Legends, I think they should open up divisions for PS4 and Xbox One. As a developer and designer, I understand that this would require more grunt work on their end to make this happen. But the juice would definitely be worth the squeeze. And while they are in the code making adjustments, please continue to fix your statistics screen!

Rebuttal

Next, we exchanged arguments and poked holes in the defense to invalidate the opposing view. Here’s what we came up with…

Unfair Rebuttal by Yoshyaes

I’ll start with the obvious point: participation does not equal sales!

In the US, there are about as many people who play basketball as there are playing soccer (mid-20 million). People also reported spending about the same amount of time playing either sport each week.

Average hours that people who engaged in sports and exercise activities on a given day spent engaged in the activity

However, a quick look at the salaries for professional athletes in either sport paints a very clear picture of where the revenue is. The Huffington Post showed the average salary a couple of years ago for a few sports:

The figures are staggering, with NBA’s average player salary clocking in at $5.15 million, $1.85 million more than players in Major League Baseball who average close to $3.2 million a year. Major League Soccer rounds out the bottom of the list, with players making a relatively meager average salary of $0.16 million.

This is of course skewed by max contracts for superstars – Kemba Walker had the potential for a 5-year/$221 million supermax contract with the Hornets – but this speaks volumes to the amount of money the elite players bring into the NBA. The numbers are smaller when it comes to streaming, but they tell a similar story.

The top 10 earners all game on PC and make millions of dollars a year. Meanwhile, I couldn’t even find data on console players becoming millionaires while streaming.

Secondly, going wide across all platforms is bound to set Respawn up for failure. We saw last year the issues Fortnite had trying to run a PC-only tournament and their first event was a bust. This type of undertaking requires careful planning, precise execution and learning from their mistakes.

And there will definitely be mistakes made.

Respawn should test things with the PC market, refine their process, then expand to consoles later when they have a better idea of what to expect from the community and how to run a global tournament. 

Fair Rebuttal by Flash

While I realize that money ultimately is the bottom line in near every scenario and situation on Earth, that does not mean it is morally correct. Being a free-to-play game shouldn’t be a reason to not take advantage of a huge portion of your gaming players and audience. If the system is skewed to always favor PC players that is not reason enough to try to buck the trend. In my opinion, telling console players to just plug their controllers in and compete against keyboard and mouse opponents is simply not enough! In fact, one could call it lazy. 

And speaking of those differences, there is no denying that in FPS games, keyboard and mouse players have a higher skill ceiling than those who don controllers. A thumb cannot keep up with what an entire hand can do on an oversized mousepad. 

You probably won’t see plays on Xbox or PlayStation that are at the upper-echelon level of Dizzy or TSM Diegosaurs. However, don’t tell the audience of Soar Kobi, BacKoFFmyJanKz, Staycation, or iTemp Plays that these games are not incredibly impressive and entertaining. 

Having the likes of them competing in tournaments would surely bring the same amount of recognition if game developers opened up these avenues. 

Respawn Entertainment, break the trend and stop playing it safe with Apex. Be Legendary.

Which Side Are You On?

In a perfect world, you could enter the Global Series regardless of if you’re on PC or console. However, Respawn made their decision and the prize money will be up for grabs only for PC players, at least to start. Any console players switching over to PC to try go get a piece of the prize pool? Tell us why in the comments or hit us up on social media!

Ready to start your journey?

It's dangerous to go alone! Join us!