Apex Legends had an undoubtedly strange rollout. Instead of using long press cycles and a handful of teaser trailers, Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment chose to release the game the same day that it was officially announced. Respawn’s strategy was unprecedented in the industry, but the strategy paid off. As of right now, the game garnered over 50 million players and dethroned Epic’s Fortnite as the most-watched game on Twitch last month.
So, if Respawn and EA avoided traditional marketing strategies, how exactly did the game become such an undeniable hit? Well, mostly because they spent millions on streaming sponsorships.
According to a new report from Reuters, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was one of the many top streamers paid to stream Apex, with his price tag clocking in at $1 million. While the lump sum certainly didn’t steer him away from Fortnite, he did end up streaming and promoting Apex Legends for around a week. That’s a pretty impressive feat, especially considering Ninja has largely become Fortnite’s very own poster child.
Another prominent player that EA sponsored was Shroud, a Polish-Canadian streamer with just under 6 million twitch followers. However, EA has yet to chime in on the reported numbers, meaning the exact figures are still up in the air.
“We had streamers from all over Europe, Latin America, North America, Korea, Japan so that we could get our message out there and people would see the game,” said Drew McCoy, executive producer of Apex Legends.
Kevin Knocke, vice president at ReKTGlobal called EA’s strategy “a really well coordinated poaching of the top influencers the likes of which has not been seen so far in esports.”
With Twitch and YouTube influencers gaining popularity in the mainstream consciousness, large scale streaming sponsorships like this are sure to grow in the coming years.