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Often times, videogame developers will try to generate hype for the release of a new game by paying Twitch broadcasters to play their title as a way to increase a title’s reach and reel in new players, but this week, EA took a particularly unique approach to having streamers advertise.
Instead of advertising for a new game, EA had a hodgepodge of influencers streaming a new season of its battle royale game Apex Legends on Tuesday. With a new map, new playable character, a new weapon, and a fresh season of ranked play, EA attempted to monopolize Twitch on Wednesday by getting streamers from all walks of the platform to play its game.
The Esports Observer has reached out to EA to confirm the exact number of broadcasters who agreed to play Apex Legends as a paid promotional service. This story will be updated as more information is released by EA.
A quick glance at the Apex Legends directory on Wednesday made it clear that EA wasn’t just trying to get the typical slew of top influencers to play their new battle royale content, they wanted everyone. While the usual suspects like Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek and Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar were playing Apex Legends with “#ad” in their title, EA had a broader spectrum of influencers it attempted to reel in.
As one might expect, many top Fortnite players like Nick “NickMercs” Kolcheff, Tim “TimTheTatman” Betar, and Dennis “Cloakzy” Lepore were doing Apex Legends promotional streams. Additionally, some former Overwatch personalities like Félix “xQc” Lengyel and Brandon “Seagull” Larned were playing as an advertisement.
However, EA went even further than to just grab influencers who were known for playing first-person shooters and battle royale games. Chance “Sodapoppin” Morris had one of the most-watched streaming sessions for Apex Legends on Tuesday night with “#ad” in his title, but his background in gaming is as a World of Warcraft player. Morris is known more for playing a variety of games in an attempt to interact directly with his community than he is for playing shooting games.
The reach for influencers by EA didn’t stop there either. Following the boom of Grand Theft Auto V role play streams that was brought along by Lazar and other top streamers, influencers like “Vader” (real name unknown) began to see their audience grow. As an attempt to pull even more attention to Apex Legends on Twitch, EA enlisted “Vader,” among others, to play as a promotion on Tuesday night.
In all, more than 20 streamers on Twitch from a variety of backgrounds were playing Apex Legends on Tuesday night with “#ad” in their stream’s title signifying that they were being paid to play the game that they were broadcasting.
As a result, Apex Legends, which has struggled to maintain viewership on Twitch, had more hours watched Tuesday than games like Fortnite, World of Warcraft, and Grand Theft Auto V.
Changing the Game
This approach to promoting Apex Legends by EA comes after the battle royale game burst onto the scene in February with a record-setting Twitch viewership surrounding its release. While numerous influencers were paid to play sessions of Apex Legends around the time the game launched, there was much more than just paid promotion that helped the game’s reach.
With more than 30M hours watched multiple weeks in a row, Apex Legends was poised to potentially compete with Fortnite as the top battle royale game on Twitch. However, the game’s early success didn’t have a lasting impact.
Once a new batch of Fortnite content was released by Epic Games, viewership for Apex Legends dipped below the more cartoonish battle royale game and never managed to recover.
While EA was able to create a game that could grab the attention of the masses for a short period of time, it wasn’t able to compete with Epic Games’ ability to consistently generate new content in an already established game that can keep influencers and fans coming back.
By starting a new “season” of its own with a plethora of new content, this promotional push for Apex Legends represents an attempt at keeping up with the precedent Fortnite has set for releasing new content in a game that could otherwise get repetitive.
Though EA is producing batches of new content for Apex Legends, in order to help sell the product to an audience of gamers, it’s important that the developer attracts influencers across different backgrounds to maximize the reach that it has in promoting its game.
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