A Japanese pro gamer has said he is “truly ashamed” after faking his age to gain YouTube subscribers.
Known to his followers as RizArt, the gamer gained notoriety after beating a Fortnite world record in November, despite being only 12 years old.
The number of subscribers to his YouTube channel more than doubled to 187,000 after his feat made international news.
Then, this month, RizArt revealed he had been lying about his age.
“I’m very sorry to have not been telling everyone the truth,” he said in a video. “I am truly ashamed for having lied to all of you.”
RizArt revealed that he is 16 years old. Far from being at elementary school as he had claimed, he is now in his first year of high school.
He said that it began when other gamers assumed he was younger than he was because of his voice and appearance. He chose not to correct them, hoping it would help grow his viewership.
“As my subscribers grew in number, I kept worrying about how I had to come clean,” he said. “But it became a situation in which I couldn’t tell the truth.
“I was so worried about it.”
Who is RizArt?
RizArt is a pro Fortnite player from Japan, where he is registered on the e-sports team Crazy Raccoon.
He has been selected as one of two players from the team to compete at the ESL Kotwice Royale 2019, a Fortnite tournament where 100 teams are invited to compete for a $500,000 (£386,000) prize pool.
He will face competition from some of the best players in the world, including Tfue, Cloak and Nate Hill.
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Regarding the age controversy, RizArt did not break any official rules, as there are no age brackets within Fortnite competitions in Japan.
But after making his celebrity from claiming to be a child prodigy – a 12-year-old who could compete with the best – the 16-year-old said he “couldn’t continue” in secrecy.
“For this long period of time,” he said, “I haven’t been able to tell my viewers the truth, and for that I am deeply sorry.
“I don’t hope that you’ll forgive me straight away. However, as penance I shall donate three months’ earnings from my YouTube channel to charitable organisations.
“From here on I will act in a proper manner to regain your trust.”
The reaction to RizArt’s admission has been broadly positive, with many of the comments on his video praising the gamer for his honesty.
By Tom Gerken, BBC UGC & Social News, and William Leonardo, BBC World Service