Fortnite World Cup Qualifier ItemmFN has left the game’s competitive scene, describing the community as “immature” and “toxic.” This puts ItemmFN on an ever-increasing list of professional players and big community figures to step away from the game, some of whom include World Cup runner-up Psalm, Liquid Poach, Liquid 72hrs, CourageJD, DrLupo, Myth, and even TFue. To someone outside of the Fortnite community, ItemmFN’s claims may seem harsh, but I can say from first-hand experience that his words are spot-on. The Fortnite competitive scene is mostly run by teenagers, so the immaturity experienced is not a surprise; top player Clix is only fifteen years old, while World Cup winner Bugha is only seventeen. However, some of the actions and behaviors displayed by these pros are actions even a teenager should know are wrong.
A major example of the toxicity and immaturity that ItemmFN is talking about is the normalized cheating going on in both online and LAN events. It seems like there is someone being banned for cheating after almost every event, and other pros don’t seem to mind. For example, Bucke, Kreo, Slackes, and Keys are four pros who were banned for teaming in the duo FNCS event. The very next day, Bugha was playing with Keys on his stream. One would think that such a big figure in the community wouldn’t play with someone just banned for cheating, but that was not the case. Bugha not only failed to condemn the cheating, he joked about it with the four players. This only feeds into ItemmFN’s claims that these pros conduct themselves very poorly, shirking their responsibilities as community role models.
These players are young, but some of the things that they say are just baffling. TSM ZexRow, a pro who recently won the Ninja Battles event, told other players to “suck his ____” in his post-win interview. Clix, who is fifteen, tweeted promiscuously at twenty-eight-year-old adult film maker Mia Malkova. Finally, FaZe Dubs, also banned for cheating, dropped the N-word live on stream and received only a slap on the wrist. Though these players are young, at a certain point, that excuse simply doesn’t hold up.
Teams and organizations need to start holding these young players accountable for their actions. These players are the future of the gaming industry, and they are not fit to hold that mantle. This “toxic” and “immature” behavior is turning more and more away from the Fortnite scene, but could soon spiral into a bigger problem for all of the gaming industry down the line. Hopefully these young players and the teams they represent start taking their actions more seriously and start contributing to a more professional future. If not, the Fortnite community can only look forward to more departures.