In brief: It's no wonder that many kids today have aspirations of becoming a top streamer. A new report claims that industry leader Tyler Blevins, better known as Ninja, was paid $1 million by EA to play and promote Apex Legends the day after its launch.
Reuters reports that Ninja earned that massive sum for just a few hours of livestreaming the battle royale game and tweeting about it to his followers on February 5. An EA spokesperson told Kotaku that all gameplay streamed by content creators after "midday" on this date was "completely organic," as in, they were playing out of choice from that point.
Ninja, who appeared on the cover of ESPN magazine last September, made nearly $10 million last year, and told CNN he makes over $500,000 on a "good month." But $1 million for a single promotion is spectacular even by his standards.
"We really wanted to create a day where you couldn't escape Apex if you cared about games and we wanted it to feel like an event was happening everywhere around the globe on that day," said Apex Legends lead producer Drew McCoy.
There have long been questions over this sort of sponsored content, particularly when it comes to influencers not disclosing payments, but EA said it has a policy in place to address this. "EA requires full disclosure and transparency with every Game Changer, content activation, or paid sponsorship that we are involved with," it reads.
EA also paid other streamers, including Shroud (Michael Grzesiek) and Myth (Ali Kabbani), to promote the game. It's unknown how much they were given, but the amounts are unlikely to be close to Ninja's pay.
The $1 million figure illustrate how live streaming has become an important part of high-profile games' marketing campaigns. With Apex Legends surpassing 50 million players in its first month, this looks like money well spent.