Tyler “Ninja” Blevins Was Paid $1 Million to promote Apex Legends
So we all know that Apex Legends has been a smash-hit, a game that’s quickly pushing to usurp the top spot from current king of the battle royale genre, Fortnite. And it’s easy to see why at least some of that success has been earned by the latest shooter from Respawn. The game features inventive movement and communication mechanics that set it apart from the rest of the crowd, giving it some easy recognition. It also doesn’t hurt that the game is entirely free-to-play.
But now, according to a report from Reuters, it’s been revealed that EA may have had a pretty big hand in promoting the game than some people expected.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins exists as one of the top streamers on Twitch, with more than 13 million combined followers across his accounts, and more than 11,000 Twitch subscribers, he’s made a pretty big impact in the gaming scene. And along that path to success, Ninja has managed to amass quite the fortune, a fortune that allegedly grew by an insane amount virtually overnight.
This is because, according to a source close to a deal, one between Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Electronic Arts, the popular streamer was apparently paid $1 million just to play and promote Apex Legends. It turns out that since some early tweets and streams about the game, timed right around launch, Ninja has shown relatively little interest in the explosive new FPS.
And with Apex Legends recently cresting more than 50 million players, it seems the project had some success.
Drew McCoy, lead producer at the EA studio that created Apex Legends, said the following during an interview:
“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,”
Viral success off of the back of paid promotion is nothing new, the internet is rife with it. The advertising and marketing industries are build on the concept of being able to sell products and services effectively, and it works. Consumers are spending huge amounts of time with interactive media every day. Kids are effectively being raised by gaming and online content, and it’s not always pretty what happens.
As political extremism finds an increasingly comfy home on the internet’s collective couch, things just seem to get darker, and conversations need to be had about the effect of viral marketing and advertising on our daily lives. The SPLC estimates that more than 1,000 hate groups are active in the USA, and many of them have noticeable online followings. Followings that grew out of the perfect storm of propaganda, mass media saturation and political agenda.
So what does this have to do with Ninja? It’s all about how easy it is to manipulate information online, and just how strong online advertising can be at affecting the public consciousness.
Mass media has been pervasive in our lives for the last few decades, and the effect it’s having is only now becoming measurable. The main source of information for many people is the internet. And more and more people are turning to incredibly biased and misinformed, intentionally or not, sources to get their news. The share of Americans that only get news from social media may alarm you.
Reddit, Twitter and Facebook stand out as the sites where the highest portion of users are exposed to news – 67% of Facebook’s users get news there, as do 71% of Twitter’s users and 73% of Reddit users.
The IAB estimates that in 2017, companies generated more than $88 billion in revenue off the back of digital advertising, so there’s an obvious incentive there to keep eyeballs on screens. And every aspect of the internet is increasingly gearing towards creating more and more devious information funnels that are designed to keep you paying attention to them and only them.
And as new platforms like Twitch continue to grow in popularity, this whole issue translates to a countdown clock. A clock for when online influencers start having a lot more unchecked influence than anyone ever expected. Even many content creators who find success often find disillusionment and chaos along with it. So I have to wonder if it’s all worth it.
What’s your feeling about this? How do you think the sponsorship mentality affects gaming? Let us know in the comments.
ISKMogul is a growing video game publication that got its start covering EVE Online, and has since expanded to cover a large number of topics and niches within the purview of gaming.