Free Fire ban in India: popular game reportedly banned, but why

Garena Free Fire has disappeared from Play Store and App Store after the Indian government issued an order to ban 54 Chinese apps in India.

Highlights
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has banned 54 apps in India.
  • Garena’s Free Fire has disappeared from Google Play Store and App Store, since the ban order was issued.
  • The Indian government claims that these apps pose a threat to security and privacy of Indian citizens.

The Indian government has issued an order to ban 54 Chinese apps claiming that they pose a threat to security and privacy of Indians. The apps largely belong to Chinese gaming and tech companies such as Alibaba, Tencent, and NetEase. Since the ban order reports have surfaced, popular mobile battle royale game Free Fire has disappeared from Google Play Store and App Store in India. Several Indian players have also reported login issues on Free Fire’s official Discord channel.

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Since Tencent owns over 25 percent shares in Free Fire’s publisher Garena, it seems likely that the game got banned by the Indian government due to this reason. The Ministry of Electronics and IT has issued the ban order and it claims that the banned 54 apps were transferring sensitive data of Indian citizens to servers in China. The government has previously issued a similar order, which had banned PUBG Mobile in the country. Even after the game got banned in India, players in the country were able to play PUBG Mobile via VPN. Players may use the same method to continue playing Free Fire in India.

Free Fire

It’s unclear how Garena and Tencent would tackle the Free Fire ban. The game has a massive player base in the country, and players have spent countless hours and a lot of money on in-game battle pass and cosmetics. The game could look at making a comeback in the country similar to what happened with PUBG Mobile. Krafton took over as the publisher and rebranded the game to Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) as an exclusive experience for Indian players. Garena is expected to make an official announcement about the Free Fire ban soon.