Charity effort evolves into career for local gamer

After seven years of charity work, a generous game enthusiast has found himself at the centre of the gaming community across Atlantic Canada.

by Blake Seymour

After seven years of charity work, a generous game enthusiast has found himself at the center of the gaming community across Atlantic Canada.

Yazeed Sobaih is a Dalhousie graduate who has been making waves in the gaming industry. He is currently the Project Lead for Frag Studios, an organization focused on delivering events and content to both casual and competitive gamers. The beginning of Frag Studios can be traced back seven years to Yazeed’s desire to raise money for a cause dear to his heart.

“My father was diagnosed with lung cancer and he passed away from it,” Yazeed explained. “I wanted to give back to the community, but I wanted to do something unique; something that I’d enjoy and have fun with.”

The result of this was Frag For Cancer, a fundraiser focused on gamers getting together and playing games to raise money for charity. Since the first event in 2005, Frag For Cancer has been held annually at Dalhousie University with increasing success each year.

“It started off with thirty people. Then, the next time we did it, we had sixty, then three hundred people,” Yazeed said.

“We raise about five thousand dollars for charity each year.”

Eventually, Frag For Cancer was re-branded to Frag For Charity, since the interests of the group had changed from simply fundraising for Cancer charities to further organizations. This re-branding would open new doors for the expansion of this community event into a studio of its own. Frag for Charity began to expand out of Nova Scotia, and become a force known across Canada.

“Two years ago, Frag For Charity had its first online, Canada-wide tournament for the Canadian Mental Health Association. It was very, very successful.” Yazeed notes the importance of this tournament as a sort of trial for all that Frag studios would accomplish only a short two years later.

“This tournament gave us our credentials, as well as establishing a long-standing relationship with Bell Aliant.”

With the involvement of Bell Aliant as a sponsor, doors began to fly open for Frag Studios. Among the development and promotion of further tournaments, Yazeed also became involved in the production of a TV show called The Game Code. The show is the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada; it focuses on exploring the gaming community and people all across the Atlantic provinces. Much like his other projects, however, the Game Code did not stay rooted in Atlantic Canada for long.

“We were actually able to go and cover one of the biggest gaming conferences on the East Coast in Boston PAX East.” Yazeed and his crew were able to travel to Boston to film, tour and take in all that the three-day convention had to offer.

After returning from this trip on March 24th, Yazeed was back to work for Frag Studios. This time on more familiar turf: yet another online tournament.

The FibreOp Gaming League was established last year. It is running its Spring Cup Finals this weekend. There are four tournaments held under the FiberOP name a year and they boast more than five thousand dollars in prizes for each tournament. Gamers across Canada can compete, free of charge, to earn prizes and raise money for different charities across Canada. The finals for this season’s play will be held on Saturday and Sunday, at 4PM AST.

After this is done, Yazeed has no intention of quitting. FibreOp tournaments are still planned for later this year, Frag For Charity should be appearing again this October and The Game Code has been approved to make new episodes until the end of 2014.

“We want to build on this great opportunity we have where our career is proportionate to our passion; gaming. I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity, and I don’t want to see it go to waste.”