Indian gamers have a special affection for Battel Royale Games and titles like Garena Free Fire, BGMI, and Call of Duty enjoy immense popularity in the Indian gaming market. Millions of Indian gamers enjoy playing these titles and any news relating to them is quite huge for them. Recently, BGMI fans were over the moon when the game was finally made available in India, after a 10-month-long ban. The unbanning of BGMI gave hope to players of Garena Free Fire and rumours of the banned game returning to India have been making rounds for the past couple of days.
Well, the wait for Garena Free Fire players is finally over as the game is all set to relaunch in India with a new name, and some new rules. Free Fire, along with BGMI and some other applications, was banned by the Government of India in February 2022 over security issues.
Garena Free Fire will be relaunching in India as Free Fire India. The game, according to the developer, will ‘incorporate unique content and features to encourage a safe, healthy and fun gameplay experience’. The local cloud hosting and storage infrastructure for the game will be provided by Yotta, a Hiranandani Group company.
“As a MeitY-empanelled service provider, Yotta will ensure best in-class management of personal data of Indian users on local servers and network connectivity services to support Garena’s product offerings in India, including in exports,” Garena said in a press release.
The game will be available to download from September 5 and will include features such as a verification system to enable parental supervision, gameplay limitations and ‘take a break’ reminders.
Garena also announced that MS Dhoni has joined as the game’s brand ambassador and will be available as a playable character in the game named ‘Thala’. Dhoni will be joined by other leading sportspersons, such as football captain Sunil Chhetri, badminton champion Saina Nehwal, tennis legend Leander Paes, and Kabbadi champion Rahul Chaudhari.
Garena says that MS Dhoni will be ‘celebrated as the first Indian sportsperson to be featured in-game as a playable character Thala’.
Mr. Gang Ye, Co-founder of Garena, commented on the game’s relaunch and said, “India is home to very passionate communities of esports enthusiasts and we are excited to be able to support our fans from Bharat with the launch of Free Fire India. We look forward to providing an engaging and highly localised experience for Indian users. We believe our partnership with Yotta will ensure that our users can enjoy the highest quality gameplay experience and benefit from Yotta’s expertise in protecting and securing Indian user data. We are also committed to supporting the development of India’s esports and startup ecosystems. The Free Fire India Esports Championships is our first step in building out our platform of esports events and activities in the coming months to empower Indian esports athletes to succeed globally.”
In February last year, the Indian government banned hundreds of Chinese apps in India over fears of privacy and security threat to Indian users. Even though Garena Free Fire was created by a Singapore-based company, it was categorised as a “security threat” and was a part of the list of banned apps in the country.
The ministry of electronics and IT said that the ban is important as these apps “pose a threat to the country’s security” and can allegedly “obtain various critical permissions” as well as “collect sensitive user data.”