FaZe Clan: The story of, and where they are now
FaZe is an esports organization that has made headlines not just for gaming, but for their celebrity interactions as well. They are known as skilled professional gamers as well as entertainers thanks to their popular YouTube channel. Since 2011, FaZe has been providing content for gamers all over, expanding from Call of Duty to compete in other competitive titles.
FaZe Sniping and ILLCAMS
FaZe began as a collective of some of the best snipers in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, in the early days of the game. Their YouTube channel was created by Eric “CLipZ” Rivera, Jeff “Timid” Emann (formerly known as “House Cat”), and Ben “Resistance” Christensen on May 30, 2010.
They are credited as innovators of skill shots in the game, attracting attention online. This attention led to Ted “Fakie” joining the clan, resulting in a boost in popularity thanks to his approach to content creation, with much of their early YouTube content being video montages of some of their best kill cams.
Titled ILLCAMS, these montages differed from other Call of Duty YouTube channels in that they didn’t focus on tournaments. Rather, the group highlighted the entertaining aspect of their skills.
This model was developed further, with the clan posting vlog-style entries. This difference is what many are saying the reason why FaZe was able to gain traction in the way that they did, allowing audiences to feel like they knew the players better. The channel subscriptions hit 1 million in 2012.
Development and formalization
Soon after, the clan began participating in other tournaments, like the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships and the Call of Duty Championship. The two competitions necessitated having 2 separate teams that operated autonomously. At the time, FaZe made use of a separate content creation arm that did not participate in the competitions.
In 2014, FaZe members Thomas “Temperrr” Oliveira and Richard “Banks” Bengston moved into a shared home with plans of incorporating the clan’s lifestyle and gaming content better.
Thomas “Temperrr” would then go on to become FaZe’s first CEO, after being a member since he was 16 years old. Richard “Banks”, meanwhile, would become FaZe’s COO.
Acquisition moves and further competition
2016 would see FaZe Clan’s first big move, acquiring the international lineup of European Esports team G2 Esports. The acquired lineup, now operating under the FaZe Clan brand, won 2nd place in ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018.
It was also around this time that FaZe developed its rivalry with OpTic Gaming. Following a series of group stage failures in the CS:GO scene, the FaZe Clan’s roster underwent a few roster changes. Most notable of these changes is Finn “karrigan” Andersen, formerly of Astralis.
FaZe would then on have its fair share of wins and losses in the following years, being runners up in the ESL Pro League 2017, second runners up ESL One Cologne 2018, and winning the ELeague CS:GO Premier 2017. As champions, the clan won $500,000 of prize money.
2018 would find FaZe under new ownership. Greg Selkoe, the founder of Karmaloop, was named president of the clan while Lee Trink, after some time fulfilling its role, the full-time CEO. The new administration opened FaZe Clan’s Series A funding round later that year, collecting investments from famous musicians, athletes, and executives. This change in the direction of FaZe’s corporate moves would culminate in the co-ownership of food supplement company CTRL.
That same year, FaZe Clan partnered with Michael Sugar of Sugar23 to put up FaZe studios. The studio, meant to develop feature films and television series, has already been able to produce a film, Crimson released in 2020.
While everyone saw that FaZe Clan had potential early on, it was difficult to predict just how big the group would get. From esports to lifestyle and entertainment, FaZe Clan has cemented itself in pop culture as innovators and content creators. It would remain to see how their experience might affect their current projects, but if their past is anything to base things on, it seems we can expect great things.