According to a Wall Street Journal report, Activision Blizzard, Take-Two, Ubisoft, and Electronic Arts are regularly paying big-name Twitch streamers obscenely vast sums of money to publicise their games. You mean they’re not just playing these things for fun and lols?
Popular streamers have huge numbers of followers. For instance, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins currently has over 14 million, so it makes sense that games publishers would want to cash in on all those eyeballs in a world where traditional advertising is frequently blocked or ignored. According to Kotaku’s investigation into the report, “$50,000 per hour wasn’t even the highest figure they’d seen”.
EA reportedly paid Ninja $1 million just to play and tweet about Apex Legends. His efforts on launch day, along with fellow streamer, Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, almost certainly helped it get to the top of the Twitch boards, and also gave EA a tasty stock bump. It’s a good game either way, but you cannot deny the streamers’ influence on its rapid gains in popularity.
I’m sorry if you thought these microcelebrities were playing a game because they thought it looked cool and that their opinions about it were honest, instead of the product of careful corporate consideration and non-disparagement clauses. Maybe you need to take a critical thinking class, but I’m sorry.
While you consider just how ridiculous these peoples’ incomes must be, maybe spare a thought for the 800 employees recently laid off by Activision Blizzard, who said they simply couldn’t afford to keep them anymore. Even if the cull was due to exceptionally poor business planning, it doesn’t look great.