Fortnite

Ninja, Dakotaz & more slam Fortnite ban of 9-year-old player Zenon

by Calum Patterson
YouTube: Zenon

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A young Brazilian Fortnite player, Zenon, burst into tears during a stream after his account was banned by Epic Games, supposedly because he is only nine years old, and therefore not allowed to compete in the in-game tournaments.

The young competitive player is part of Brazilian organization DETONA Gaming, but has been handed a 1500-day ban from Fortnite. He had been playing "Arena mode," the competitive playlist in the game, which requires players to be at least 13 years old.

Zenon was handed the suspension due to his age, but it has caused uproar, especially in the Brazilian competitive scene, with the hashtag #FreeZenon trending on Twitter.

Fortnite player zenon
Fortnite player zenon
The young player had already started a blossoming esports career.

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The clip of Zenon's ban went viral on social media, as he burst into tears with his father watching on.

Even Tyler "Ninja" Blevins stepped in to defend the player, arguing that although rules are rules, the punishment is too harsh, and that Zenon shouldn't be banned from playing regular modes in Fortnite.

Top esport players from Zenon's home country also spoke out in his defense, including professional CS:GO players Fernando "fer" Alvarenga and Vito 'kNgV' Guiseppe.

kNgV wrote "no one should have the right to ban someone because of age, this is the esports revolution, there are more children with these dreams."

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Professional League of Legends player Leonardo 'Robo' Souza said, "It is totally wrong to prevent the development of a talent within esports. The boy is 100% accompanied and supported by his father. You can't do that to a child! He just wants to have fun!"

Fortnite streamer Dakotaz spoke about the issue on Twitch, arguing "[Epic] shouldn't have banned you like that! If you're going to hand out a four-year ban, and they're nine years old, they should have handled that a little differently in my opinion."

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Epic Games has not commented publicly on the player's ban, but Zenon himself is determined to see it overturned.

Fortnite is one of the most lucrative esports if a player can make it to the professional level, with Fortnite World Cup 2019 winner Kyle 'Bugha' Giersdorf winning the biggest individual prize ever of $3 million.

Even just at the semi-professional level, players can earn money playing in-game, online tournaments, such as the Cash Cup. However, to compete, Epic enforces a strict 13+ minimum age, which they clearly take very seriously, given the severity of Zenon's punishment.

Playing alongside his father, Zenon has a popular YouTube channel with over 130,000 subscribers.