A young professional Fortnite player received an outrageous ban for violating terms of service.
Fortnite fans around the world might be wondering why #FreeZenon is trending on Twitter with over 200K mentions. A nine-year-old professional Fortnite player by the name of Zenon received a four-year ban for playing Arena matches. The clip of Zenon reacting to his ban went viral on Twitter, which prompted an outcry from gamers all over social media.
The Viral Video
Brazilian news source Metropoles posted the video on their Twitter with some context to the situation. Zenon participated in the Brazil FNCS Invitational Open Qualifier at his current age of nine-years-old. He did quite well in the tournament but soon met a startling notification. Zenon loaded into Fortnite and learned that he received a four-year ban from the game.
Unfortunately for Zenon, Fortnite’s ruleset forbids any player under the age of thirteen from playing in competitive tournaments. Epic Games must have reviewed the transgression and reacted with a four-year ban from Fortnite. If you do the math, the four-year ban lasts until Zenon turns the competitive age of thirteen under Fortnite rules.
Forbidden from Arena Play
For most Fortnite competitive players, the best practice comes from Arena mode. It attempts to mimic what competitive matches look like with materials capped at 500 and similarly skilled players in the same lobby. According to the ban notification, Zenon can no longer queue into Arena mode for the next four years.
It’s a massive hit to any hopeful professional player who is grinding until they can eventually compete. Fortnite dealt a crushing blow to a Brazilian player who was trending to the top of his scene. Fortnite players and many other personalities across the globe came out with #FreeZenon in the young player’s defense.
At the time of this story, the #FreeZenon hashtag received well over 200K impressions on Twitter. Many notable names flooded the #FreeZenon hashtag on Twitter, including Mixer superstar Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. Ninja’s take on the situation mirrors how most feel about it. He stated:
“Unless Arenas start offering money for placements there is no reason for #FreeZenon to be banned from them until he turns 13. That being said the age requirement to compete in Fortnite is 13 and he is 9. He shouldn’t be banned from any other aspect of Fortnite 100% @FortniteGame”
The conscious take is that Zenon probably should not be able to queue into tournaments. It’s explicitly against the rules. Most people likely will not argue with that stance on Zenon’s banning. Ninja feels the ban is too harsh. Zenon should be able to at least play in Arena mode, but not tournaments. Epic Games is essentially robbing a kid of his future esports dreams for a small mistake in a no-money competition.
History of Bans
One of Fortnite’s most infamous bans involves FaZe Clan’s Jarvis “Jarvis” Khattri. The young FaZe member installed an aimbot into his Fortnite game and released a YouTube video using it in-game. Epic Games reacted with a lifetime ban from Fortnite. The Jarvis incident split the community in terms of its collective response. Some felt Epic Games should grant Jarvis a second chance, and others sided with the Fortnite developers.
Another similar situation deals with another FaZe Clan player named H1ghsky signed with the organization before he turned thirteen. At the age of twelve, Twitch banned H1ghsky for violating their terms of service. The young professional Fortnite player participated in multiple tournaments in the past but received no punishment. Epic Games’ lack of consistency is always in question when discussing their disciplinary actions.
Hope for Zenon
Zenon’s case is one of the first of its kind from a punishment standpoint. He inflicted no harm to anyone outside of violating Fortnite’s competitive age rule. Epic Games should use this as an opportunity to offer a second chance to a young perspective professional who truly deserves it. Most of the Fortnite bans in history deal primarily with hackers or cheaters.
Zenon made a mistake, yes, but a four-year ban goes far beyond an adequate punishment. I speak for most by saying that a nine-year-old kid who wants to compete in future Fortnite tournaments does not deserve a four-year ban. For all we know, Zenon could be the next Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf. Let’s hope that Epic Games takes a step back and lightens up on the punishment.
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Featured Image: @DraksEdits