London – Jarvis Kaye was living the teenage dream – having amassed a £1.7-million fortune by playing a video game.
In the last month alone, the 17-year-old – known online as FaZe Jarvis – earned £27 500 (about R524 000) in advertising revenues, having built up a YouTube following of two million fans.
But on Tuesday his mother claimed Jarvis was "broken" after being banned for life from ‘Fortnite’, the internet phenomenon that has earned him such unlikely riches.
Barbara Khattri, 60, said her son deserved the chance to make amends after the game’s makers banned him for cheating.
She said outside their family home: "Jarvis made an error and he admits that. He’s broken.
"He loves that game. He doesn’t have a devious bone in his body.
"What I really know is that for any mistake that doesn’t physically harm a person, there should be the chance to make amends."
Earlier this week, a tearful Jarvis revealed on YouTube that the company behind ‘Fortnite’, Epic Games, had locked his account after finding he had used banned software.
On ‘Fortnite’, gamers fight to "stay alive’ during a 20-minute battle royal. The game has proved hugely lucrative for top players, with money available not just from advertising but tournaments with huge cash prizes.
However, with such high stakes, ‘Fortnite’’s creators have laid down strict rules. This includes not using "aimbots", which helps players shoot.
Those caught doing so have their accounts locked and deleted. Jarvis, who is a member of the FaZe Clan, a professional e-sports team, admitted he had used the software cheat – but claimed he only did so to make footage of his games more ‘entertaining and interesting’ for his YouTube fans.
Sobbing to the camera, Jarvis said: "It didn’t even cross my mind that I could be banned for life from ‘Fortnite’.
"I just want to be clear that this is the first time that I have ever done anything like this and, of course, I have never done this in a competitive game mode at all. Epic Games you know I know how big of a mistake I’ve made and I’m truly, like, so sorry. Epic, I know I have to take accountability for my actions and I’m going to do my best to accept any punishment that comes my way."
In a previous Facebook post, Khattri, an entrepreneur and mother of three, said the ban on her son from the game had left her in "despair".
Epic has a "zero tolerance policy for the usage of cheat software". It says those who do use it "ruin games for people who are playing fairly".