Could EA’s strict rules prevent Apex from being a popular esport?

It’s a debated topic as to what makes gaming title’s a popular esports contender, and Battle Royale titles have always had an especially difficult time making the cut. With large number of competing teams, high RNG and difficult spectator experience yet to be solved, there are a fair number of reasons why they haven’t.

Another issue is the current lack of spectator and custom lobbies also throws quite a few spanners in the works.

But one thing that has always been a vital building block in solidifying a title in the esports hall of fame is the grassroots scene. Even with large investments in a pro scene, we’re looking at you Fortnite, without an underlying grassroots scene there is a struggle to solidify a player base and consistent viewership.

Since it’s ‘under-the-radar’ release in February 2019, Respawn has done an amazing job at capturing a large number of players through popular streamer and influencer campaigns. However, we are still yet to see any substantial leagues or tournaments to bring the recently announced pro rosters together, leaving only third parties to organize their own events and tournaments.

If it wasn’t hard enough already to build an esports scene, EA have shot themselves in the foot by setting some seriously heavy requirements and guidelines for anyone wanting to organize an event.

Apex Legends Competitive Scene

One of the larger snags from the guidelines is that each organizer is only allowed to offer up to $10,000 in prize pools per year, whilst only allowing the broadcaster to make a total of $10,000 income. This essentially negates the benefits of hosting an event.

EA’s guidelines also set restrictions as to what type of sponsors a partner can promote alongside their event. This list states that all adult products/services, online dating, alcohol, tobacco, tattoo services and any form of gambling (including fantasy sports) are prohibited from being involved. Although this makes sense to appeal to a wider audience, it also greatly reduces the potential revenue and interest, limiting the scale substantially.

A number of players from professional rosters have already begun voicing concerns on social media about the guidelines, questioning the why the decision was made in the first place.

Manager of the pro Apex esports team UYU, Chris “BixLe_” Dunbar said:

With some of these restrictions, I feel like they should at least throw the community organizers a bone and let them use custom matches, limiting prize pools and revenue is a big yikes man.

With such push back from the pro community, will we see EA revert these guidelines, or at least modify them to better incentivize third-party organizers? If not, we could see Apex fall off the esports scene before it event found it’s footing.

You can find a full list of EA’s new Apex Legends guidelines can be found over on their official site.