You might not know this but the most awesome piece of gaming journalism in 2016 was actually from an Indian IT guy whose YouTube channel just hit 70,000 subscribers. He had 1500 subscribers when he started on his mission to expose scammers.
It’s safe to say that his channel, HonorTheCall, is a relatively unknown one when compared to the likes of h3h3 Productions and co.
We’re going to tell you straight up that the guy behind HonorTheCall is more or less obsessed with news. More specifically YouTube news.
The other things you should know about him is that he is a full-time software developer and largely handles Call of Duty news on his YouTube channel.
That was until he started to dig deeper into a specific CS GO betting scandal.
It was around June when HonorTheCall finally picked up the pace on the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling racket and blew the whole scene wide open. And in the same process, he implicated several popular YouTube personalities.
HonorTheCall’s efforts to expose the people behind Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling practices, turned the $2.3 billion dollar gambling industry upside down.
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling industry that we’re talking about went about its business by “selling” online video game skins.
HonorTheCall revealed that the people behind Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s biggest gambling site were also the ones that were the site’s biggest promoters on YouTube.
And worse, these people did not disclose their true association with the gambling site.
HonorTheCall’s revelations came out of nowhere. But since his work attracted its due media attention, other sites like Forbes, PC Gamer, IBTimes, and the Daily Dot have all gotten into the act and have pursued the investigation leads that HonorTheCall revealed on his COD (Call Of Duty) YouTube channel.
Moreover, HonorTheCall has now transformed his Call of Duty Channel into a full-fledged investigation project that is specifically geared towards the YouTube gaming community.
And what was the result of all his efforts?
His channel was, temporarily, brought down from the Internet.
HonorTheCall, while talking to Kotaku, said that he wanted to help fellow YouTubers (who, with all due respect, are sometimes one of the most unsuspecting people on the internet) and if there was any under-the-table stuff going on YouTube, he wanted to warn people of potential scams and misleading information.
It’s common knowledge now that alongside YouTube’s aggrandized celebrities and their cult following, that make these personalities a lot of money in the process, there is an increasing number of novice YouTube journalists that focus their entire efforts within the bounds of the YouTube industry.
And just like your regular reporters, but of course, without any awareness of reporting methods, these YouTube reporters upload regular videos that touch subjects from YouTube random news to the latest happening with some of the YouTube gaming notable personalities.
Some of these Youtube reporters get millions of hits but don’t expect your “new” investigative YouTube channel to get anywhere near the number of hits that some of the bigwigs, like Scarce and Keemstar, get for each one of their videos.
As a result, if one of these famous YouTubers say or do anything that can be remotely considered to be lacking flavor or out of the norm, they get pummeled on these inquisitive new-media YouTube channels.
These same Youtube reporters have unearthed the culprits behind some of the biggest pyramid schemes and it can be safely said that these pyramid schemes (and the like) are exactly the kind of content, these YouTube reporters crave for.
In short, “Drama” has now become a big business as far as some of the most followed YouTubers are concerned.
But the guy behind HonorTheCall seems to be a bit different from the now run-of-the-mill YouTube reporters.
The amount of YouTube newsworthy events have reached cosmetic levels now and basically, most YouTube reporters try to go for the perfect blend between investigative reports and packaging to attract the highest amount of views.
Almost nobody bothers to call sources for their comments. Curse words are the order of the day on most YouTube reporter channels and judgments are given without unabashedly.
But most of all, it seems that these reporters give a lot of weight to Google search results while searching for the “truth” behind some of YouTube personalities and their online businesses.
Moreover, the process of fact checking is almost alien to the world of YouTube journalism.
And this is where HonorTheCall separates himself from the crowd. HonorTheCall videos come closest to resembling anything that could be considered as traditional journalism.
It just seems like the guy is doing this for public interest rather than the number of views or advertising deals.
Of course, since he isn’t really a trained journalist, his methods do not stray from the “normal” YouTube reporter’s path.
HonorTheCall told Kotaku that his work does not mean that he hates anyone and that he doesn’t have any personal grudges against anyone.
He further said that the thing that ticked him off was that some popular YouTube guys had a huge responsibility running their channels and sometimes, they brazenly rip off their viewers either with outright lies or through a program of selling them something that isn’t actually there, false hopes and promises.
HonorTheCall rather acknowledged in one of his videos that he was born in North India and was obsessed with all things related to news as a child.
He told Kotaku that he routinely subscribed to top newspapers and weekly magazines when he was growing up in India.
He also confessed to treating journalism as a hobby and as entertainment even though he had exceptional abilities in the field of technology as well.
He also revealed to Kotaku that when he moved to Canada for his education, one of his cousins introduced him to the Sony Playstation gaming console.
Consequently, he developed a fetish for games such as the Prince of Persia (an action-adventure video game).
He then divulged upon the whole story of how he considered to grow his hair exactly like the game’s protagonist and went to Youtube for the first time in order to search for tips and hints to beat an unbeatable boss in the same Prince of Persia video game.
He also told Kotaku that from that point onwards, YouTube became his go-to source for checking out gaming guides, news and other tips related to gaming.
By the time 2012 came around, HonorTheCall had found a new obsession. That obsession was to sink countless hours into another video game that, still, goes by the name of Call of Duty.
Some of you might already know that YouTube has, especially now, an infinite number of channels are dedicated to Call of Duty.
HonorTheCall, undeterred, invested most of his evenings into the game after his day job, where he developed software, was over.
And like other Youtube gamers, HonorTheCall examined, analyzed and criticized the technical aspects of some of his favorite video games. One day, it dawned upon him that he knew enough about Call of Duty to start his own YouTube channel.
What Did HonorTheCall Do Next?
Well, he simply went to a nearby electronics shop and bought a microphone for $50. And since his work laptop was powerful enough to manage a reasonably good video editor, all that was left for him was to buy a green screen for $400.
As it turns out, now that HonorTheCall is in the incognito accountability business, he told Kotaku that he wouldn’t use that green screen ever.
HonorTheCall forced himself to start uploading new videos relating to Call of Duty even though he had doubts about his spoken English ability since English was his third language.
One lazy Sunday afternoon, HonorTheCall was surfing on Twitter (this is sometime in June by the way) when he ran into some gossip about Counter-Strike.
A popular Esports team by the name of FaZe Clan (that also had millions of fans) was subject to the accusation of gambling with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive online video game skins on a website by the name of CS:Go Wild.
It was also alleged that the people behind CS:GO Wild were also related to the FaZe clan.
And as with many other cases since then, a member of the FaZe Clan, FaZe Rain bragged about his increased income in one of his YouTube videos without revealing his true association with the aforementioned online video game skin gambling website CS:GO Wild.
As mentioned before, since then, it has been revealed that the underground online video game skin gambling industry was as big as $2.3 billion. But even back then, HonorTheCall was able to conclude that there was a definite conflict of interest.
Of course, the major problem was that all the accusations that were made against FaZe Clan, were just that, accusations.
With little evidence, it was difficult to prove that FaZe Clan engaged in activities that were a little less than ethical. And let’s not even talk about the fact that HonorTheCall was a software developer and not a journalist.
Needless to say it was unusual for HonorTheCAll to go after a news story that wasn’t even remotely related to Call of Duty except for the fact that it was a video game.
Nevertheless, HonorTheCall was captivated by the accusations that were made against FaZe Clan. Not to mention that HonorTheCall was also attracted (deeply) to the first-person shooter genre of video games that had garnered so much on the industry’s attention.
Naturally, HonorTheCall speculated if any of the gazillion first-person shooter personalities on YouTube were also in on the scheme/scam.
He told Kotaku that, in retrospect, he was able to bring to mind another YouTube famous Call of DUty celebrity’s YouTube videos that advertised Counter Strike: Global Offensive gambling deals.
The guy went by the name of TMarTN. You might know him now that he has been implicated in a Florida class action lawsuit for building and organizing an “illegal gambling enterprise.”
Most of that, if not all, was made possible because of HonorTheCall’s valiant efforts.
The only difference this time was that, there was a lot of evidence to by in order to determine and implicate the real culprits.
It wouldn’t be too farfetched to say that TMarTN’s YouTube videos were the primary reason why HonorTHeCall went out of his comfort zone (only Call of Duty videos) to investigative YouTube journalism.
He spent hours analyzing TMarTN’s YouTube videos and was able to notice a clear pattern.
That pattern was that TMarTN and one his buddies Pro Syndicate almost always talked about and went to the same gambling site. That site was CS:GO Lotto.
In their YouTube videos they claimed to have won thousands of dollars at a single session on the website.
TMarTN’s and Pro Syndicate’s reactions to “thousands of dollars within minutes” were, predictably, maniacal.
Of course it wasn’t so obvious to tell because, on camera, TMarTN and Pro Syndicate went through the same routine of “gambling” on CS:GO Lotto quite professionally.
They showed videos of winning that exceeded a thousand dollars multiple times within a matter of hours.
In fact, in one of his uploaded Videos, TMarTN let go a shriek when he “won” $13000 at a single sitting on CS: GO Lotto.
TMarTN was also nice enough to “teach” his audience (gullible YouTube viewers) how to “win” a similar amount of money on CS:GO Lotto.
Did TMarTN commit the same crime as FaZe Rain?
HonorTheCall told Kotaku that he Googled TMarTN’s full name, which everyone in the Call of Duty community already knew, along with CS:GO Lotto and Orlando Florida.
He further added that in just a few short minutes he was able to find out CS:GO Lotto was registered in Florida and that TMarTN was involved heavily with the backend stuff of the site.
HonorTheCall told Kotaku that he found 10 pieces of evidence in front of him that told him that TMarTN was not just a regular visitor of the site.
“He was actually the president of it”, HonorTheCall said.
Long story short, a bit like FaZe Club, TMarTN along with Pro Syndicate tried to push underage viewers into gambling on their site without ever making it clear that both of them held senior positions (actually owned the site) with regards to the site, CS: GO Lotto.
We don’t discuss the pathetic apology video from TMarTN when he found out that he was caught out. He also had the wherewithal to delete the apology video afterward.
HonorTheCall has since broken two other major scams and has uploaded almost 20 follow-up investigative reports on corrupt CS:GO gambling sites.
And though he has had a lot of YouTube viewers go after him, questioning his true motives for targeting YouTube stars, HonorTheCall maintains that he does not do this to make money.
He did donate $60, which was more than what he made form his first video, to Red Cross in a response to FaZe Clan call-out.