When Apex Legends released on 4th of February as a free to play, Battle Royale take on Titanfall, the hype it generated caused nearly 10 million users to play the game within 72 hours of its launch, and force popular streamers to cash in on its meteoric rise. Or so we thought.
A report from reuters has revealed that popular Twitch streamers Ninja and Shroud, who have 11 million and 6 million followers respectively, were paid huge sums of money to play the game when it was first launched. While the source did not reveal how much Shroud was paid, he did reveal that Ninja was paid a million dollars by EA to play it instead of Fortnite.
There was an indication that the streamers were hired as influencers for the game, after they began tweeting with the hashtag “ApexPartner” and #Ad leading up to its release.
They did a fairly comprehensive job at pulling together all of the relevant game influencers in this genreKevin Knocke, a vice president at esports infrastructure firm ReKTGlobal.
This was a really well coordinated poaching of the top influencers the likes of which has not been seen so far in esports.
The deal raises a question of ethics in this practice, as there was little to no indication of the streamers being paid to play the game and instead creating a facade that they actually enjoyed the game which is why they were streaming it.
EA has really benefited from the launch of Apex Legends, with its market value increasing by 16% or $4 billion and have become a real threat to Fortnite for the most popular battle royale, with Apex Legends already having a quarter of the users of Fortnite, or 50 million, within a month.
If anything, the deal points out the lengths to which developers are going to make sure they get the largest market share in the battle Royale space. The video game industry is just getting bigger, and companies are willing to place bigger bets than the slowly declined TV market.