Garena, a Singapore-based game developer and digital entertainment arm of Sea Group has announced the return of its popular mobile battle royale game Free Fire in India India. "Free Fire India" is all set to take the nation's video-gaming industry by storm as it will be available to download in the country from September 5.
Free Fire along with 53 other mobile apps was banned by the Indian government in February last year. The game was also the most downloaded mobile game worldwide in January 2022 right before its ban in February 2022, with 24 million downloads representing a 51.6% increase over January 2021, according to Sensor Tower data.
Sharing his thoughts on the game’s return, Mr. Animesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO of 8Bit Creatives, India’s leading esports consulting and talent agency, and Co-Founder of S8UL said, “India has always been a pivotal pillar of Free Fire's global user base and its return opens the doors to exceptional avenues that will bolster the gaming landscape of the country With the game’s re-launch, there will be a remarkable surge in the frequency of tournaments with lucrative prize pools for players to make a name for themselves.
The impact of the game will not be limited to just the competitive scenario as it will be a significant boost to the creators' community as well. By providing creators with diverse and immersive content, Free Fire India will enable them to grow and expand their fanbase within the industry. As the game gains renewed attention and engagement, there will also be an influx of interest as well as investments from brands into the ecosystem.
We are excited for this new chapter to unfold and look forward to witnessing the rise of the video gaming sector in India."
As per Garena’s official release, MS Dhoni was roped in as the brand ambassador for Free Fire India and became the first Indian sportsperson to be featured in-game as a playable character, “Thala”. Dhoni will be joined by India’s leading sportspersons, such as football captain Sunil Chhetri, badminton champion Saina Nehwal, tennis legend Leander Paes, and Kabbadi champion Rahul Chaudhari have all joined hands with Garena Free Fire to boost Indian Esports ecosystem.
Mr. Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) stated, “The re-entry of FreeFire brings immense promise for players across the nation, amplifying the competitive spirit and paving the way for recognition and opportunities on a global scale. Marking a pivotal step forward in the growth of competitive gaming, ESFI supports such endeavors which will guide the industry towards unparalleled growth and excellence.”
As per data from Sensor Tower, Garena Free Fire generated $1.1 billion in revenue from January to December 2021. Garena Free Fire was also the most downloaded game worldwide in 2021 across the App Store and Play Store with 218 million downloads on mobile devices.
“We anticipate a ripple effect that will encourage the inception of more high-profile tournaments and events. This move ignites the momentum needed to realize our collective vision of a vibrant and thriving esports landscape in India. India will now witness the continued growth of Esports prize pools and userbase with FreeFire India leveraging it further to invigorate our Esports landscape.
While embracing this wave of progress, it is also crucial that the Indian government exercises vigilance over the aspect of security and data privacy. Safeguarding the interests of players and enthusiasts alike is a collective responsibility that ensures the sustainability and credibility of our Esports journey," added Mr. Lokesh Suji.
The 2021 Free Fire World Series, a Garena Free Fire tournament hosted by Singapore, became the most-watched Esports event of all time, with a recorded 5.41 million peak viewers, according to Statista.
"Free Fire India's launch is a game-changer, set to transform India's Esports scene. It heralds more tournaments, increased earnings, and massive prize pools, mirroring Free Fire's firm grip on India's user base. Despite no Indian teams at the Free Fire World Series 2022 Grand Finals, the Hindi stream astonishingly recorded peak viewership. As Freefire restarts in India, we're excited for viewership to break new records. This is an exhilarating time for our players who stand to reap huge benefits. At Gods Reign, renowned for crafting championship-winning rosters, we're in talks with several Freefire rosters. We can't wait to announce our new roster soon, adding another thrilling chapter to this vibrant esports story of Gods Reign," commented Devam "Dev" Vyas, Vice President of Esports at Gods Reign, a leading Indian esports organization
According to Sensor Tower store intelligence data, the most downloaded mobile game globally in June 2023 was Garena's Free Fire (including Free Fire MAX), with nearly 19 million downloads. The country with the most downloads of Free Fire during this period was India with 27.9% of the total, followed by Indonesia and Vietnam with 12.7% and 8.1% respectively.
Free Fire from Garena was the biggest competitor to Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), the most popular battle royale game in India. The game’s return will ensure healthy competition between the two titles, leading to the overall growth of the video gaming industry.
Artsmith Media Release