Kenneth Dedo, formerly of FaZe, will don the Evil Geniuses’ blue and white while Barlow will play for FaZe for the remainder of the season.
A public falling out between Barlow and the team regarding team obligations and the birth of Barlow’s child had the team imploring him to return to the lineup. When that didn’t seem possible, a frantic search for a new fourth ensued, but Major League Gaming’s restrictive roster rules and his contract with Evil Geniuses, which the team paid a hefty chunk of cash to acquire from Complexity in May, complicated things.
The solution is a complicated deal itself. Barlow will remain under his Evil Geniuses contract, but the team is loaning him to FaZe “at no cost” for the remainder of Call of Duty: Ghosts, which is set to be replaced by sequel Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in November. In exchange, Evil Geniuses receives the services of Dedo, who is signed as a full-time member of team.
In a statement on their website, Evil Geniuses outlines how Barlow is too valuable to give away “for free,” but forcing him to “sit on the bench just to prove a point” is not really their style. The language brings up the question: What contractual obligations does Barlow still have with Evil Geniuses—and Evil Geniuses with him—this new arrangement?
The most obvious one may be where the players stream. Evil Geniuses has a contract with Twitch, and as such their players broadcast Call of Duty on that platform. But most Call of Duty professionals, including Barlow’s FaZe teammates, show off their gameplay on competing service MLG.tv.
One possible scenario for why the loan stipulation matters is the upcoming release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Evil Geniuses will have the option of selling Barlow’s contract at that time, when demand is theoretically higher, as teams gear up for the new game, a period likely to drum up one of the largest free-agent frenzies the game has ever seen.
But whatever the details, the important thing for Call of Duty fans is this: Dedo is an Evil Genius, and Barlow is on FaZe.