Respawn Entertainment developed one of the hottest games of recent memory, that being Apex Legends, a free-to-play battle royale shooter that is presumably proving to be a lucrative franchise for publisher Electronic Arts. Popular streamers such as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins deserve a tip of the hat for hopping on board, and it appears they were paid handsomely for their time.
How handsomely? According to Reuters, EA shelled out a cool million bucks (or thereabouts) for Ninja to stream Apex Legends on launch day. While that is an obscene amount of money for a day’s ‘work’ (play), it underscores how much cash these types of games can generate through in-game purchases, and why publishers would be willing to invest so heavily in promoting them.
Ninja built a huge following playing Fortnite, that other little free-to-play battle shooter that you might have heard of. He has more than 13 million followers on Twitch. Is he really worth $1 million to promote a game, though? Apparently so—Apex Legends notched 1 million players in the first 8 hours after launch, and exploded to 50 million players in its first month.
I touched on this during a recent Two And A Half Geeks podcast (check us out every Wednesday at 7:00 pm ET), mentioning that Apex Legends owes part of its early success to paid promoters, or Apex Legends “Partners,” as they were labeled on social media. At the time, though, I was not aware of exactly how much EA was paying streamers like Ninja and Dr. Disrespect.
In an earlier report, Barron’s said it confirmed with EA that the company sponsored Twitch streamers for two days after the game’s launch. Beyond the initial paid streams, though, appearances were of their own volition.
“We had a multipart marketing program running for Apex Legends that tapped into some of the most popular and wide-reaching content creators in the space,” EA spokesman said. “After midday Tuesday, Feb. 5, all Apex Legends streaming content has been organic.”
As for Ninja, he has since gone back to playing Fortnite on a regular basis, but Apex Legends is no worse off—it’s still an immensely popular game, and with future updates planned, it is likely to stay that way for a long time to come.
Thumbnail/Top Image Source: Instagram and Twitter via Tyler “Ninja” Blevins