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Popular Fortnite streamer Tfue takes Twitch hiatus, citing exhausting grind

‘I used gaming to kind of escape from reality [...] now I use reality to escape from fucking work.’

Turner “Tfue” Tenney sitting on a chair, facing the camera. Image: Tfue via YouTube
Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

Turner “Tfue” Tenney, popular Fornite streamer with more than 11 million Twitch subscribers and ex-Faze Clan member, announced that he was going to take a serious break from “gaming and streaming.” On a tearful YouTube video, the controversial streamer shared his exhaustion over the grind of content creation.

In the 40-minute video, Tenney shares footage from his first Twitch livestreams and YouTube videos, and digs into his first impressions of Fortnite — a game that he thought was for kids. He also explains his reason for the hiatus, namely that he hasn’t had time for much of his life outside of gaming as a result of working six to eight hour days, and notes that he’s 25-years-old. “I used gaming to kind of escape from reality,” he said, in the YouTube video. “Now I use reality to escape from fucking work. I just feel fucking kinda trapped sometimes, you know.”

Tenney also mentions that he’s been a Twitch partner for eight years and thanks his fans, before acknowledging he needs to take a break. “I just need to take time off, you know,” he said. He thanks his family for supporting him through his “early career,” along with a number of livestreamers who he feels helped his career. At the end of the video he notes, “I’ll be back someday.”

Tenney has been a content creator since at least 2014, and rose to fame by livestreaming Fortnite — making a name as one of the top streamers of the battle royale game. He joined the Faze Clan content collective in 2018, before filing a lawsuit in 2019, claiming the organization withheld of share of brand deal revenue. In 2019, Tenney also made headlines because he used the n-word on a livestream while he was playing Minecraft. At the time, Twitch didn’t respond to The Verge’s request for comment, nor did it appear to comment on the situation. This wasn’t the first time Tenney used a racial slur — he used another slur on a livestream in 2018.

It is extremely difficult to make a living wage as a Twitch streamer, and incredibly difficult to become an affiliate creator. Even the streamers with the most followers are beholden to an intense schedule, streaming a full time schedule (and often more) to stay relevant, and reap the benefit of ad revenue. Tenney is also leaving at a time when high profile content creators are taking expensive deals to stream on other platforms, notably Kick — making it clear just how demanding livestreaming on Twitch can be.

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