Free Fire unban in India: Possible outcomes explored

Garena Free Fire could have easily ranked among the most popular mobile games of all time in India before its ban. The Government of India took the decision to block Garena’s survival shooter alongside 53 other apps in February 2022.

It has been seven months since the ban, and there is still uncertainty around the title’s future in India.

In the past seven months, developers have not provided the fans with any update on the game’s revival in the Indian market.

Its MAX variant seemed to have replaced it to become Garena’s leading product for Indian users. Many other instances have also suggested that the standard Free Fire might not return anytime soon.


The absence of clarity from Garena’s side could mean an indefinite delay in the Free Fire unban

Garena's popular BR shooter was banned due to privacy and security concerns (Image via Sportskeeda)
Garena’s popular BR shooter was banned due to privacy and security concerns (Image via Sportskeeda)

Indian readers seeking an answer for the return of Garena’s battle royale game should consider other similar scenarios. The case of PUBG Mobile’s ban seems quite akin to that of Garena’s famous title, as the Indian government banned both on the basis of privacy and security concerns.

Both were handed bans by the Indian government’s Ministry of Electronics. And Information Technology under Section 69A of the IT Act. But the former did return as a rebranded India-specific title, Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), with the backing of Krafton.

Both games are essentially the same (Images via Garena/Sportskeeda)
Both games are essentially the same (Images via Garena/Sportskeeda)

In Free Fire’s case, however, a MAX variant is already available as a tailor-made alternative that is still active in India. Moreover, Garena has virtually replaced the original game’s name with the MAX version on its Indian social media handles.

In addition to replacing the name on Indian social media accounts. Developers have also substantially decreased the total file size of the MAX version via the OB34 update. Thus, making Free Fire MAX more suitable for low-end smartphones like its original version.

Free Fire esports employees in India are rumoured to have been shifted to Nepal (Image via Sportskeeda)
Free Fire esports employees in India are rumoured to have been shifted to Nepal (Image via Sportskeeda)

However, the most crucial development that has hinted at more delay in the urban of Garena’s famous survival shooter is the rumours of the potential shifting of esports employees from India to Nepal.

According to some sources, Garena has done so to put its increased focus on the Nepalese server. And the game’s esports ecosystem in Nepal.

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The move by Garena is a letdown for the Indian FF esports scene. Which had already seen a decline after the game’s ban in the country. Moreover, the shifting of Free Fire India esports’ personnel to Nepal further hints that the title might not return to the Indian market in the near future.

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