Ninja's sponsored Apex Legends launch stream cost EA $1 million, Reuters report says

Apex Legends is a really good game that seemed to come out of nowhere: One minute we're speculating about a Titanfall battle royale, and the next it draws 2.5 million players in its very first day. There was a quiet but concerted marketing effort in place to make that happen, which included sponsorships of streamers like Ninja, who spent hours playing the game on its launch day. According to Reuters, he was paid $1 million for his time.

The promotional relationship wasn't a secret—his stream was labeled as an "Apex Legends partner"—but the amount involved is staggering, particularly given that the report suggests that it was solely for launch day. An Electronic Arts rep seemed to confirm that, telling Kotaku that its marketing campaign included "paid engagements with some content creators at the launch of the game," and that after February 5, "all Apex Legends streaming from content creators was completely organic." 

That's a hell of a payday, representing roughly two months of work at his normal income level as it was reported a year ago (direct Twitch income can vary dramatically with number of subscribers). It's apparently not out of line: Another source told Kotaku that Ninja was paid $600,000 to take part in a single event last year.   

But it's money well spent for EA, which saw a huge bump in its share price following the release of Apex Legends. Apex surpassed 25 million players in a week—Fortnite hit 30 million in three months—and as reported by Business Insider, analyst Todd Juenger said its success should "greatly reduce the frustration with management sometimes expressed by investors." 

In recent weeks, Ninja has switched back to Fortnite, his bread-and-butter game, but Apex Legends remains well-embedded in Twitch's top ten by category. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.