Garena, the Southeast Asian gaming giant, is relaunching its popular mobile battle royale game Free Fire in India after a year and a half of being banned by the Indian government over national security concerns.
The company has partnered with Yotta, a cloud storage provider controlled by local conglomerate Hiranandani Group, to store user data in India. Garena has also appointed former Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the brand ambassador for Free Fire India.
The relaunched Free Fire will be localized for the Indian market with “unique content” and features that encourage a “safe, healthy and fun gameplay experience.” Users will also be encouraged to take breaks after certain intervals.
Free Fire was one of the most popular mobile games in India before it was banned in February 2022. The game had over 40 million monthly active users in the country.
Garena’s move to relaunch Free Fire in India comes after Krafton, the South Korean gaming company, secured a re-entry of its popular battle royale game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) in the country on a trial basis.
Industry executives say that Garena, which is owned by Sea group, still needs to change its tack in India and should attempt to mirror Krafton’s strategy by investing in local firms. India’s ban on Free Fire immediately wiped $16 billion off Sea’s market cap last year.