Popular online multiplayer battle royale game Garena Free Fire is all set to make a comeback in India. The Free Fire was banned in February 2022 by the government of India, along with a long list of other apps. However, as per Garena's cofounder Gang Ye, the game is coming back to India with a new name and some new rules. This is the second battle royale game to make a comeback after Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) was relaunched in May 2023. As per reports, the game will be available to play starting September 5.
Gang Ye said in a statement, “India is home to very passionate communities of esports enthusiasts and we are excited to be able to support our fans from Bharat with the launch of Free Fire India. We look forward to providing an engaging and highly localized experience for Indian users”.
The company also announced that the game will be available to play starting September 5.
The game, in its new avatar, will be launched as an India-exclusive game. Free Fire has partnered with Yotta Infrastructure, a local cloud hosting and storing company, to keep the majority of the game servers within the country. However, a small percentage of the common servers will also be in Singapore, the company has said.
With its relaunch, it will also include new features such as a verification system that will allow parental supervision for minors as well as take-a-break reminders, and other gameplay limitations.
verification system to enable parental supervision, gameplay limitations and ‘take a break’ reminders.
"He will be celebrated as the first Indian sportsperson to be featured in-game as a playable character, 'Thala'. Dhoni will be joined by other leading sportspersons, such as football captain Sunil Chhetri, badminton champion Saina Nehwal, tennis legend Leander Paes, and Kabbadi champion Rahul Chaudhari," the statement added.
The esports community has also expressed delight as one of the most popular online games in India has made a return.
“Only a year ago with the bans on Free Fire and BGMI, the Indian esports scenario was struggling with a dearth of options for the country's mobile gamers. I applaud Garena in their efforts to bring Free Fire India and already make a commitment towards esports which will be a big boost to welcoming old and new players alike. While we don’t currently have an esports roster in the game, we are always on the lookout for potential titles to enter and Free Fire is certainly one on our radar,” said Rohit Jagasia, Founder and CEO, Revenant Esports.
Shiva Nandy, Founder and CEO, Skyesports, also reacted to the news. He said, "Free Fire has always been an exciting esports title and one for which we organized several tournaments back in early 2022 before the ban. I am thrilled to see the game come back and look forward to including it in our original IPs while synergizing with Garena to grow the game in India. I anticipate it to reclaim much of its earlier player base while welcoming many new players as well".
Manish Agarwal, Founder, Kratos Studios: "This development is a significant boon for India's non-real money gaming ecosystem. The country stands to benefit from a diverse range of games capable of drawing in more than 100 million active players, consequently generating substantial esports viewership.
Presently, apart from games like BGMI and VALORANT, there is a lack of esports-worthy titles that can rival traditional sports in terms of audience engagement and financial potential"
Chetan "Kronten" Chandgude, Founder, GodLike Esports: "Free Fire's return to the Indian gaming landscape is a testament to the power of esports and the unbreakable bond between the game and its players. The game's popularity has been nothing short of exceptional, both in terms of gameplay and esports viewership."
Abhishek Aggarwal, Co-founder & CEO, Trinity Gaming India: "The return of FreeFire will certainly not be restricted to just the competitive scenario as it will be a remarkable boost to the creator community as well. With the intent of providing creators with diverse and immersive content, Free Fire India will empower them to expand their fanbase within the industry."
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