Practically as soon as Fortnite came close to peak popularity, fans started asking for esports events and competitions – initially without much success. What happened instead was that Fortnite pro streamers like Turner "Tfue" Tenney got bigger and bigger – without major events, people watched them instead.
What You Missed in Part 1
Tfue had an unusual start to esports – homeschooled as he and his siblings were, he did not find his way to video games until his mid-teens. When he finally did, he experimented a little with games like PUBG, Destiny, and Call of Duty before joining the Fortnite scene as a full-time streamer. Here is the start of his story.
Tfue Teaming Up
Around the time that Fortnite really conquered the world, esports teams started snatching up the best of the best streamers for the emerging esports Fortnite scene. One brand in particular immediately set its sight on Tfue – FaZe clan, known for their casual attitudes. Tfue’s appeal fit right in – and the association blew up the already large appeal that he had.
He went from averaging about 10k viewers to averaging about 42k viewers per stream.
However, it was around that time that the perfect façade of success started to crack and the controversies began.
A Question of Taste
Sure, Tfue has always had his critics that didn’t like the profanity he used, but in 2018, things got a little more serious. In May of that year, he was banned by Twitch for a racial slur – a ban that was taken back soon after. The ban still made waves but it did not really hurt his popularity much.
Maybe a month later, he was banned again – this time by Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite themselves. Tfue was found to have been buying and selling Epic accounts, which was a violation of their T&Cs.
As if that wasn’t enough, he was banned from Twitch for 14 days that same month – no reason was given. He also had both his Twitch and YouTube accounts hacked around that time and lost access – in other words, things weren’t all smooth sailing anymore.
The Fallout with FaZe
In the middle of all this – and after – Tfue still managed to ascend even higher. He paired up with Dennis “Cloakzy” Lepore to form one of the most prolific Fortnite duos on the planet, and established himself as one of the leading Fortnite players on the planet, becoming as much an entertainer as he was "just" a player.
This too did not last uninterrupted. While the duo won just about every tournament they took place in, winning 4 out of the first 5 Fortnite Friday events, trouble wasn’t far off – with Tfue's organization. After winning tens and tens of thousands of dollars in prize money, accusations starting flying.
In May 2019, Tfue filed a lawsuit against FaZe for several reasons. While allegations of encouraging underage drinking and gambling were removed, Tfue alleged that the contract he had signed was downright predatory. And it wasn't just him: Similar sentiment could be heard from Cloakzy.
In addition, he also alleged that they kept unfair amounts of the money he’d won. FaZe countered by saying they had offered him more favorable contracts that he had refused to sign – things got messy.
In August, they got messier. FaZe filed a countersuit, alleging that Tfue broke his contract and violated their terms by releasing sections of said contract to the public. Meanwhile, Tfue was using his social media presence to try and draw attention to the often unfair and exploitative conditions many esports stars and streamers had to live with.
He succeeded – the well-being of players and their conditions moved into the public eye more than ever.
Back to His Roots
After winning back-to-back events in just about everything he ever tried, Tfue made a move that surprised many of his fans – he announced that he was leaving competitive Fortnite. The 2019 World Cup was to be his last competitive event.
He didn’t stop streaming, though – instead, he went back to his roots and started creating the sort of videos he and his brother started out doing. Streaming – yes. Esports – no.
The transition worked – his fans had as much fun watching him tour his family home as they did wiping the competition off the Fortnite leaderboards. Time will tell if Tfue will return to more competitive Fortnite once again – chances are, it won't be soon as he seems to have found his place.
Do you like reading about the best and brightest in esports? Check out our other pieces of our Life and Times series: