Last week former FaZe Clan President Greg Selkoe along with two other former FaZe Clan colleagues and the founder of Framerate announced the start of their new gaming organization, XSET. The multi-faceted gaming and esports organization was started with a mission of promoting “inclusivity and the social good.” The Esports Observer spoke with Selkoe and the XSET COO Marco Mereu to discuss company goals and address some critics’ concerns surrounding the timing of bringing XSET to the esports space.
The New York Times was one of the first publications to reveal the new company in an article titled “FaZe Clan President Departs: ‘It’s Time for Gaming to Clean Up Its Act.’” Selkoe brought both Wil Eddins and Clinton Sparks over from FaZe Clan and Marco Mereu of Framerate. This caught more than a few fans and pundits off guard as the president of one of the most successful gaming organizations in the world had jumped ship. However, it was one of the quotes from Selkoe in the New York Times story that drew the most attention.
“We realized there was a huge void that needed to be filled in the gaming marketplace,” Selkoe told The New York Times. “Gamers are from all walks of life and all backgrounds. But if you look at the current organizations, they sort of resemble a frat house. They’re not reflective of the racial and gender diversity in the gaming world.”
Some took this as a shot across the proverbial bow of Selkoe’s former organization. After all, FaZe Clan has had a reputation creating shock content and seen itself embroiled in a number of controversies including the H1ghSky1 incident and the Turner “Tfue” Tenney lawsuit. Additionally, sources close to FaZe Clan came forward stating that Selkoe was asked to leave the organization. With all of these things out in the public eye, Selkoe wanted to put those thoughts to rest.
“People are going to say a lot of things. The answer is I actually left in March because I wanted to go do something else,” Selkoe told The Esports Observer. “I have nothing negative to say about FaZe Clan at all. Obviously, when someone leaves or some news happens, people want to start drama, which is part of the gaming world. I get it and that’s fun. I was not calling them [FaZe Clan] out individually. I was calling out the culture at large and I think they agree with us.”
Selkoe is adamant about moving on from any of the perceived drama associated with a move such as this and is now fully focused on moving XSET forward.
“This is something all of us have believed in for a long time,” Selkoe said. “It was something that Mark and I’ve been talking about long before–the current social unrest or discussion. I really want people to know that this comes from an authentic place. It’s important for me. This is not our first time speaking about these issues.”
XSET has announced a creative content roster and gaming cadre that is very diversified featuring women and men from all walks of life.
In particular, multi-media personality, host, producer, and consultant Erin Ashley Simon has joined XSET, albeit not exclusively, to help develop and guide the company to its goal of promoting inclusivity.
“Erin. You know what she’s about and she’s about what we’re about. We want her to lead that voice for us,” Selkoe said.
Having women and people of color in positions that can affect change and help be decision-makers in that change is one of XSET’s missions.
“I think it is important to note that a number of our investors are African American,” Selkoe said. “Paul Judge, one of my former business partners is coming in to advise us and be involved. As one of the most successful African American entrepreneurs ever, his voice is invaluable.”
Judge, an entrepreneur and scholar, has founded and created successful companies such as Barracuda Networks, a web security-as-a-service company.
To the people at XSET and especially Selkoe and Mereu, simply saying what you are going to do something and bringing in the right people isn’t enough. It’s about actions and getting things done. Selkoe wants those out there with observant eyes to know, they are just about ready to start that action plan.
“A lot of things are happening behind the scenes… being readied,” Selkoe said. “We’ve been talking with HBO about a mental health initiative. We’re going to be working on mentoring and helping young people so that it’s not just about gaming, [it is about] being good people off the field. We have a lot in store.”
Part of Mereu’s vision for XSET is to help community groups that are vital to their areas and help financially through fundraisers and other means. He wants to grow awareness for those organizations that are helping others.
“I was talking to one of my players the other day about a partnership,” Mereu said. “And he was like, ‘What is that?’ He didn’t have any idea what it was. The organization was decimated this year by not being able to have fundraisers because of COVID-19. As an organization, they need a lot of help. We want to help.”
Lastly, Selkoe wants fans to know that esports is and always has been a part of that plan.
“We want people to know [that] we are going to compete,” Selkoe said. “We like Rainbow Six. We like Halo. We are going to compete and we do intend to be right up there with all the teams that are competing in these titles. We’re not going to be in Overwatch League. We’re not going to be in CDL [Call of Duty League]. Know that we definitely have a competitive side.”
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