Garena, the game developer, has announced that its popular mobile Battle Royale game, Free Fire, is set to make a comeback to app stores in India. This move comes a year and a half after the game was banned from the country due to concerns over national security.
Before its ban, the game had emerged as a significant player in India’s esports scene. The game will soon be available for download in India starting September 5th, going by the name Free Fire India. The best part? It will still be free to play.
Free Fire’s Significance and Influence
The game holds a strong position among mobile esports titles and consistently secures top positions in terms of both playtime and viewership. Developed by Garena, which is based in Singapore, the game managed to achieve an impressive feat by becoming the most downloaded game globally in 2021, amassing a staggering 218 million downloads, as per Sensor Tower’s data.
The game’s influence extended beyond just downloads. In the realm of esports, the Free Fire World Series 2021 stole the spotlight, breaking records for being the most-watched esports event in history. With over 5.4 million peak viewers, it certainly left a mark.
The ban had been enforced in tandem with restrictions on more than 50 other applications and games, all part of India’s efforts to curb the influence of Chinese-related software. In the wake of this ban wave, Battlegrounds Mobile: India (BGMI), a direct competitor to Free Fire, made a comeback to Indian app stores in May 2023. Now, around four months later, Free Fire is poised to return as well.
The news of Free Fire’s return has been met with excitement within India’s esports sector. The game had garnered a massive following in the country and established itself as a central figure in the domestic esports landscape.
The Return of Free Fire
Devam Vyas, Vice President of Esports at Indian esports organization Gods Reign, expressed his enthusiasm about the move. He believes this return will usher in a “game-changing” shift. Vyas anticipates a surge in viewership for the game and has hinted at plans to introduce new rosters for the game.
Lokesh Suji, Director of the Esports Federation of India, echoed this sentiment and expressed optimism about the potential for high-profile tournaments involving Free Fire. Suji predicts that India’s esports scene will now experience a boost in prize pools and user engagement. He envisions Free Fire as a catalyst that will “energize the Indian esports landscape.“
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