We’re used to the British tabloids attacking Fortnite for turning the nation’s children into monsters, but now they’re attacking Fortnite players for making money from the game.
This week, Epic gave 17-year-old Brit Jarvis Kaye, aka Fortnite pro FaZe Jarvis, a lifetime ban from the game for using an aimbot.
Kaye took to YouTube, where he has 2.1m subscribers, to publish a tearful apology. In the video, which has seen nearly 9.5m views, Kaye insists he used the aimbot in a non-competitive game mode with an alternative account in order to create entertainment for his fans, and claims to have been unaware of the consequences of his actions.
Interestingly, the British tabloids have pounced on this story, with The Sun and the Daily Mail in particular going hard on the teen. In an article published this week, the Mail ran a piece focusing on the amount of money Kaye may have made from his apology video, including quotes from his mother, and estimated the value of their family home.
The headline reads: “British Fortnite gamer FaZe Jarvis, 17, given life ban for cheating ‘made another 20,000’ from his tearful YouTube apology video.”
The Mail does not seem to like the fact Kaye has made quite a lot of money from playing Fortnite and making YouTube videos – irrespective of whether the paper agrees with the severity of Epic’s punishment.
“As a YouTuber Jarvis could have chosen not to be paid for his tearful post – but paid adverts were still appearing on his page,” the Mail says.
The Mail also includes quotes from Kaye’s mother, presumably obtained after sending a reporter to doorstep the family home.
Kaye’s mum, who as you’d expect defends her son and calls for a rethink from the gaming community, is given the full Mail treatment, with detail on her home, its estimated value and a description of the town it’s in popped in the piece.
“Mrs Khattri’s pro-gamer son, known as FaZe Jarvis, lives with her and his two brothers in a detached home worth 1.3m in the picturesque commuter belt town of Oxted in Surrey,” the Mail says.
We’re then told Kaye is from a middle-class family, his mum runs a successful business, and he earns lots of money from his very popular YouTube channel.
“Brought up in a middle-class family by his mother, who runs a successful consultancy business, the teenager is said to have amassed an estimated 2m fortune and earned 27,500 in advertising over the last month alone through his YouTube channel with two million fans,” the Mail says.
“Javis and his brother Frazier, known as FaZe Kay, are said to have helped make ‘The FaZe Clan’, the esports team the brothers represent 6.2m in the past year – including 2.4m in prize money plus a further 3.8m from sponsorship deals.”
We’re also told Kaye attended a local comprehensive Oxted School and issued a “grovelling apology” to fans.
The story doesn’t seem to have sparked much of a debate among the Mail’s readers, but one of the four comments, from Luton’s “GreatBrtn”, knows what’s up: “Now now DM, it’s Liebour who hate the wealthy.”
The Mail then published a follow-up story about the massive Los Angeles house Kaye lives in with his teammates. The article, which carries the headline “Revealed: British Fortnite star FaZe Jarvis who was banned for ‘cheating’ lives in 11.6m Hollywood mansion with his teammates”, includes pictures of the house.
While the Mail remains upset about a wealthy YouTuber, recent events have sparked a debate about Kaye’s lifetime ban. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, the world’s most popular Fortnite streamer, said recently content creators who cheat should be handled “a little bit differently” to regular players.
“There’s a difference between a content creator who has millions of subscribers, hundreds of thousands of followers, who gets banned from literally what makes him money and some kid who is a piece of s*** who has absolutely zero following, has zero money that comes from gaming, and hacks,” Ninja said in a stream on Mixer. “You ban that kid, nothing happens to him. Nothing happens. ‘Oh no, he can’t cheat anymore.’ You ban Jarvis… It’s different. The stakes are different, it should be handled a little bit differently.
“Just look at the situation. It needs to be handled different because it’s different. A content creator cheating who’s entire life is about the game he’s playing and some random who has no YouTube channel, no Twitter account – he doesn’t even care, he just cheats. He hacks to hack. You ban one, you ruin his life. You ban the other, he makes another account and keeps cheating. It’s different. It has to be handled differently.”
Ninja later qualified his comments, which were widely criticised, saying the ban should “100 per cent be there”, but said the punishment for young people who cheat should be different than the punishment for adults.