The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday has recommended a ban on 54 Chinese mobile applications, including the popular game Garena Free Fire.
Interestingly, the popular game Garena Free Fire which is Singapore-based and the developer is not from China is also in the list. According to the official figures, Free Fire was one of the most downloaded games in India in 2021.
Amid the ban, the application was already removed from the Google Play Store and App Store in India
The apps against whom the adverse security inputs were generated include Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera, Music Player, Music Plus, Volume Booster, Video Players Media all formats, Viva Video Editor, Nice Video Baidu, AppLock and Astracraft, among others, the sources said.
Here how the industry leaders from gaming sector reacted to the ban:
Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) said, “It has come as a bolt from the blue for the Indian esports community, especially for the much popular Free Fire esports athletes who have been competing at national and international platforms and connecting with their fans through the virtual setups. However, there is no need to be disappointed, we believe this will diversify the gaming industry as new players will be introduced and will encourage homegrown video gaming developers, allowing them to curate games based on Indian ethos and culture and showcase Indian capabilities when it comes to developing world-class video games. We fully support this and will fully support any such decisions taken by our government, when it comes to safeguarding national integrity and security.”
Vishwalok Nath, Director, World Esports Cup and Esports Premier League said, “We hope that Garena can work with the Government of India to address the concerns raised around Free Fire. We have seen this happen in the past where titles made their way back after fixing the compliance issues. The entire creator and esports community around Free Fire is waiting for a positive and quick resolution to the move.”
Sagar Nair, Co-founder and CEO, Qlan, the Gamer’s Social Network said, “The Free Fire community is one of the largest and fastest-growing esports communities in India. The sudden banning of the game has surely blindsided a massive number of gamers. We’ve seen this happen before with the PUB G ban and if we are to learn from it, it seems like it may as well be a long-drawn battle to bring back the game. While the community handles this setback, gamers do have an alternative in the form of Free Fire Max which is still available for download. Unfortunately, it’s mostly a wait and watch game here till we learn more.”
Anurag Khurana, Founder and CEO, Penta Esports said, “Free Fire is one of the most popular games in India with a large user base. Apart from this, the game is a very popular esports title with a year-long esports roadmap and has a lot of professional teams and content creators associated with it. This ban will surely have ramifications for all stakeholders of the esports industry in India and those associated with the title.”
Abhishek Aggarwal, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, Trinity Gaming India said, “We support the decision of the Indian government concerning the nation’s security, however, no denying the fact that it might slightly disbalance the present gaming ecosystem and future assumption models. Gamers should take the opportunity to explore more games available to them in the market with other leading titles. I believe the Indian gaming community will continue to explore and develop new games and titles with the support of indigenous developers.”