Apex Legends hits lowest player count in years as cheaters & server issues run rampant

Declan Mclaughlin
apex legends dive trail header

Apex Legends has seen a massive drop in its active player base in 2024, with players citing the game’s anti-cheat and server issues as reasons to quit and move on to other games.

According to Steam Charts, the Respawn and EA title has had 244,779 players log into the game in the past 24 hours at the time of writing. The last time Apex Legends had less than 300,000 active players was in December 2021.

The Battle Royale has had a steady number of players since its launch in 2019, reaching an all-time peak of over 620,000 in January 2023. However, the chart indicates an exodus of active users after May 2024, around the release of Season 21.

Pros and content creators alike have felt the lack of interest in the title, and they took to social media to put forth theories on why the game is hemorrhaging players.

SoaR Dray, an Apex Legends creator, asked on July 4 what the developers need to do to bring players back in for Season 22, which is set to come out in August.

The overwhelming response across X and Reddit was the game needs an improved anti-cheat and better servers, among other additions like better game balance and modes.

Apex Legends Pathfinder with sad face on screen

“Invest in a new anti-cheat, balance certain guns/legends, Gibby swimsuit skin,” one player said in response to Dray on X.

Others want a better progression system, one that rewards players outside of the premium battle pass and paid cosmetics. “Give non ranked players something to grind for,” said one player in a sentiment mirrored by many.

“Anti-cheat, better servers, fix audio. Those 3 things would make this the best BR,” a Reddit user said in a thread about the X post.

Other Reddit users agreed, saying they have grown tired of seeing server error messages after suddenly leaving mid-match.

“We’re five years in and I’m still getting kicked out of matches from servers going wrong. My friends and I keep trying to queue up together but keep getting errors,” one said.

Apex Legends has always been dealing with cheaters, and the game even went through a public scandal over its security when a pro tournament was derailed due to a hacker in March 2024.

Phillip ‘ImperialHal’ Dosen gave his opinion on the matter on social media, saying the competitive scene and third-party matchmaking services like Realm have helped keep Apex Legends growing.

“For me personally it feels terrible to play Apex outside competitive right now with how sh***y the meta is in Ranked plus the cheaters/stream snipers constantly. I know that right now it’s not the end but I feel like we are just passing on time with so many great opportunities to showcase Apex,” he said.

Respawn does have a third-party anti-cheat company retained for Apex and has been vocal about improving its internal security following the public hack early this year.

Whether this dip in active players is just part of the ebb and flow of a live service title, or a symptom of larger issues, remains to be seen. Also, the numbers from Steam Charts only reflect players on the Steam platform and are missing statistics from console players.

The game is expected to see an uptick in activity when Season 22 releases sometime in August as players will want to try out the new modes and get whatever new content comes to the game. However, if this lack of active players persists even with a new season, that would cause some concern.

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