Esports Are a Serious Business Right Now
Sure, they may not reach the level of actual sports like soccer, hockey, or rugby, which have global followings and draw in billions of dollars in ad revenue and ticket sales, but they offer a platform to the best gamers to profit off of their hobbies. One boy who dreamed of joining the big leagues was six-year-old RowdyRogan, a Call of Duty: Warzone streamer With over 120,000 followers between YouTube and Twitch, who PCGamer reported had his account blocked by Activision mid-stream.
As some of you know, Rogan was banned from Warzone on stream tonight. The Team and us are currently trying to handle the situation and will keep you guys updated. Thank you for all the support. #FreeRogan pic.twitter.com/df1B28Fa8R
— RowdyRogan (@RowdyRogan) December 10, 2020
Except… not really. PCGamer reported several red flags, including audio cut-outs and the fact that the stream took a break before the ban, and it’s since been revealed that RowdyRogan was never banned, but was attempting to go viral as part of the annual FaZe5 contest.
FaZe is one of the biggest Esports clans in the world and has become a lifestyle brand in its own right. The annual FaZe5 contest is similar to shows like American Idol in that it gives gamers a shot at joining the clan. RowdyRogan made the top 20 and faced the latest challenge: have a video go viral. In a youtube video admitting to the scam, Rowdy’s parents claimed that drastic actions were necessary to achieve Rogan’s dream of joining the clan, claiming that the word wasn’t ready for such a young gamer to play professionally.
FaZe has previously been accused of predatory and exploitative behavior, and repeatedly sent Rogan gifts, with some members even playing along with the ban – clan member Blaze retweeted the tweet above to his 1.6 million followers, leading to a lot of vitriol being sent to Activision – who, again, did not institute a ban. Sadly, it looks like unethical business practices are rife within the esports industry.