When it comes to the world of free-to-play battle royales, things can get rather cutthroat. For video game publishers, the stakes are high, and many companies opt to spend large amounts of money in order to promote their game and attract players to their take on the massively popular genre.
It seems that Electronic Arts is willing to go well above and beyond the call of duty (no pun intended) in order to attract new players to the newly-released Apex Legends.
In a report published earlier today by Reuters, Richard Tyler Blevins — more commonly known by his online name Ninja — was reportedly paid a whopping $1 million to play and promote Electronic Arts’ battle royale game, which was developed by Respawn Entertainment.
For those who are a bit befuddled by this revelation, it’s worth mentioning that Ninja is (arguably) the most popular and well-known video game streamer on the market today. As of last month, his follower count on Twitch totaled well over 13 million — rivaling many famous celebrities and models on Instagram — and he currently averages over 30,000 viewers each week.
An unnamed source told Reuters that Ninja was paid around $1 million to play and promote Apex Legends when the game launched on February 4. Spokespersons for both Electronic Arts and Ninja declined to comment on how much the streamer was paid. Ninja wasn’t the only streamer who was paid top dollar to stream the game. Electronic Arts also recruited popular streamer Shroud to promote Apex Legends. While Shroud is not nearly as popular as Ninja, his 6 million followers (on Twitch) are nothing to scoff at.
It’s hard to say if Apex Legends will surpass Fortnite in terms of popularity and revenue, but so far, EA’s take on the battle royale has been doing surprisingly well in terms of a player count. In less than 30 days of launching, Apex Legends drew in more than 50 million players. This rapid growth eclipses Fornite, which took approximately 100 days to reach 45 million players. Despite its slower rise to popularity, Fortnite currently boasts a player count of more than 200 million.
As Kotaku notes, sometimes, lines can get blurred when it comes to disclosing when a streamer or influencer is being paid to promote a product. A representative from EA referenced a disclosure policy when Kotaku asked for comment.
“EA requires full disclosure and transparency with every Game Changer, content activation, or paid sponsorship that we are involved with,” the disclosure reads. “This is mandatory for every country, language, or influencer that we work with. We do not partner with influencers, agencies, or talent who do not support proper disclosure.”