Pro gamer and Fortnite star Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins has spoken out against Epic Games’ recent ban of a nine-year-old, condemning the company’s decision.
Nine-year-old Fortnite player, Zenon, was playing the game with his father’s supervision when he joined a ranked Arena Mode match. Arena Mode matches are only for players aged 13 and over, leading Epic Games to quickly ban Zenon from playing any part of Fortnite for 1,459 days (note that Fortnite is a PEGI 12-rated game). Zenon received a four-year-long ban from the whole of Fortnite, and promptly burst into tears on stream.
The clip quickly went viral, with the hashtag “#FreeZenon” taking over social media. Responding to the immense backlash, Ninja had the following to say:
“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%”
Epic Games has worked hard to try and squash the rep that Fortnite has for being a “children’s game,” working hard to stop underage players amidst concerns of microtransactions and video game addiction.
People across the world have been weighing in on Epic’s decision, with an overwhelming majority calling out the company for what’s being called a massive overreaction.
One user tweeted: “Imagine get banned from fortnite because you are too young. Like, its a f*cking cartoon game, and the kid have his father beside him. I know this is the rules but this kid doesn’t deserve this. #freezenon.”
Another chimed in writing: “Lol @EpicGames just banned a kid for playing in arena which was not a tournament either , why make a game having kids as its target audience and not let them play it #FreeZenon.”
At the time of writing, Epic Games has yet to comment. Whether or not the ban will be lifted (or even just shortened) remains to be seen.
Featured Image Credit: Epic Games