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When Was Free Fire Banned in India? Is the ban permanent?

By Admin | 25 February,2022 | 5 minutes, 13 seconds


What is Free Fire?

Garena Free Fire, also addressed as Free Fire, is an online action-adventure battle royale game available exclusively online. Free Fire was developed by 111dots Studio and published by Garena for iOs and Android. It soon became one of the most downloaded mobile games worldwide in 2019. Free Fire set a record, in August 2021, with over 150 million active users on a daily basis internationally. Free Fire grossed over $1 billion users worldwide as of November 2019. 

On joining the game, the players enter an airplane that travels over an island. There are grenades, medium and extensive weapons, medical supplies, and other things scattered over the island. While the aircraft is flying over the island, players are free to jump anywhere, facilitating them to land away from opponents or enemies. Then, upon landing, the players have to look for weapons and other utility items. 

In a battle royale confrontation, a maximum of 50 players land on an island looking for weapons and equipment, intending to eliminate the opposing players during encounters along the way. The players must ensure that they are the only ones who survive. Players can pick their starting position and also their guns and supplies to help them stay longer during the attack. There is a considerable decrease in the size of the available safe area for the surviving players, on the game map. The players are directed towards tighter areas for encounters. The last standing player or team wins the round.

 Fire Free Battlegrounds was not described in its best light regarding its graphics. While the reviewers haven’t recommended or enjoyed the graphics of the game, they addressed it as a fun game to play with friends, if you enjoy battle royale games.

Garena Free Fire was one of the most popular battle royale games, after PUBG, Call of Duty, and Fortnite Battle Royale. It was particularly viral in Southeast Asia, India, and Latin America. Free Fire, in the last quarter of 2018, was the fourth most downloaded game on the Google Play Store and also the fourth most downloaded game globally in 2018 on Google Play Store and iOs combined. Free Fire game grossed nearly 182 million downloads in 2018, making it the second most popular and downloaded battle royale game, and earned approximately $19.3 million monthly from December 2018. Free Fire became a notable financial success for Garena. Garena Free Fire had hit more than one billion downloads on the Google Play Store as of August 2021.

When was the game banned?

Free Fire enjoyed substantial popularity in the Indian mobile gaming community and consistently ranked among the most-played games across the country. The game had a dedicated following and continued increasing over the years as the developers had introduced new updates and features.

Garena Free Fire was banned on February 14, in addition to 53 other applications; by the Ministry of Home Affairs in India. The ban on this gaming app came as the government decided to ban all China related apps amid political tensions with the country. The Free Fire app was dismissed from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store before news of the ban came out. The Free Fire ban has been one of the most debatable topics in the history of the Indian gaming community. The game was listed among the 54 prohibited applications on February 14.

Most of the apps listed are considered clones of over 300 apps linked to Beijing, which have been restricted in India since 2020. While Garena is a Singapore based company, Tencent holds an 18.7% stake in Garena, which is a China based company.

Free Fire gamers were shocked to find their favorite game on the list of banned applications and have been on the lookout for information regarding the suspension. Along with Garena Free Fire, there were a number of other games like Rise of Kingdoms and Isoland2 that too were banned by the Government of India. A similar ban swing was observed in 2020, where games like PUBG Mobile were removed from the App Store and Play Store.

 The ban came to effect after Krafton had filed two lawsuits against Garena Free Fire to get it banned, and became public. According to Krafton, Garena is supposedly plagiarizing concepts and components of the game from PUBG Mobile. In fact, Krafton also filed a lawsuit against Google and Apple for permitting Garena Free Fire on their respective app stores. Furthermore, the PUBG developer, Krafton also sued YouTube to enable the broadcast of Garena Free Fire on their site.

Garena Free Fire had also banned more than12 lakh accounts for using hacks and cheating with third-party software to gain an advantage in the game. Garena stated that 59% of the accounts were banned due to third party interactions, and a couple of them were punished for playing with international hackers.

Is the ban on the game permanent?

The Government of India had issued a ban on Free Fire; hence it will remain effective unless the government decides to lift the ban. There is an almost negligible chance that the ban will be lifted in the coming future. The gamers can do nothing but wait patiently, until the developers provide further news access. Garena has issued a statement suggesting that they are working to resolve the issue.

The gamers may continue playing with their existing accounts, using Free Fire MAX, until further notice. Fire Free Max was not on the list of applications prohibited by the government. However, gamers should note that the MAX version is very similar to the regular version. Since the regular version of Free Fire was banned, it is not very clear how long the Max version will be available.

Since Garena is a Singapore based company with very little stake by the Chinese company, it is still unclear as to why both games were removed from the App Store. However, Garena is expected to provide more information shortly. The gamers can receive updates on the latest developments by following Garena Free Fire on social media. However, gamers should avoid trusting any baseless story and refrain from spreading such information. The log-in difficulty has also given rise to a lot of rumors.


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