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Report: Top Livestreamers Earn $50,000 an Hour to Play New Video Games

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Last weekend a new report was published by the Wall Street Journal that top livestreamers can earn $50,000 or more playing newly released video games.

The report points to publishers like Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Take-Two, and others continually pay large sums to the most popular livestreamers to play and promote their new games.

A livestreamer that uses the handle “DrLupo” is named as one such paid livestreamer. When Apex Legends was released,he was paid to play the game to his 3.2 million Twitch followers.

“We have the power to convince people to buy a game they’re on the fence about,” said Benjamin “DrLupo” Lupo. “They see us as more trustworthy than a name they don’t recognize that wrote a review. They can see our faces. It’s live interaction.”

Reportedly, livestreamers with at least 15,000 viewers tuning in on their live broadcasts can rake in anywhere between $25,000 to $35,000 an hour during a big game release. Bigger, more popular livestreamers can earn more.

As livestreamers are typically sole individuals that have amassed a large following doing their own method in playing games, publishers can try to implement restrictions on how a paid streamer talks about the game.

These may include non-disparagement clauses, which force the streamer to avoid outright negatively framed criticism like “this game is awful the entire studio should be shut down” over something like “the mechanics in this game need to be touched up.”

A Reuters report from March of this year claimed popular livestreamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was paid one million dollars by Electronic Arts to play and tweet about Apex Legends.

When streaming the game on launch day, they used “Apex Legends partner” graphics, but did not explain how this promotion was set up.

The Federal Trade Commission has guidelines on how livestreamers can endorse things legally, however, the live-broadcast nature of streamers would mean livestreamers would have to continually disclose the paid sponsorship, or have a visual disclaimer constantly displayed.

This is the relevant blurb from the FTC:

“Since viewers can tune in any time, they could easily miss a disclosure at the beginning of the stream or at any other single point in the stream. If there are multiple, periodic disclosures throughout the stream people are likely to see them no matter when they tune in. To be cautious, you could have a continuous, clear and conspicuous disclosure throughout the entire stream.”

How do you feel about livestreamers being paid large amounts of money by publishers to promote their games on launch day? Is it ok if they disclose it properly? Sound off in the comments below!

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Brandon Orselli

About

Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer, Nicchiban, and Pretentious Media. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer.