Garena Free Fire: what it is, why it was banned and 5 alternatives to play in India

Deepak Gupta February 16, 2022
Updated 2022/02/16 at 4:50 AM

Garena Free Fire was banned by the Government of India, in an order released this Monday. The battle royale game is part of a list of 54 apps that have links to China and could pose a threat to India’s security. The app has also been temporarily blocked from the Google Play Store as per government orders. Garena Free Fire gained its current popularity as an alternative to PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite which were banned by the government in September 2020.

Garena Free Fire: What is it?

Free Fire is a battle royale game developed by Garena International in 2017. The game involves 50 players fighting each other in a deathmatch where the last survivor is declared the winner. Similar to other battle royale games, players are thrown out of a plane with no weapons and must scavenge for weapons, their ammunition and accessories, medical items and armor to survive the match. All the items mentioned above are scattered around the map and players can also loot them by eliminating the enemy.

Also like other battle royale games, Garena Free Fire players must collect weapons, ammunition and other items to survive before time runs out. Alternatively, players also need to make sure they are in the safe zone as the maps constantly flash during gameplay.

Garena Free Fire: Why was it banned?

Garena Free Fire, along with 53 other apps, was banned by the Government of India in an order released this Monday. In a statement, the government mentioned: “These 54 apps allegedly obtain various critical permissions and collect sensitive user data. This data collected in real time is being misused and transmitted to servers located in hostile countries.” The government also mentioned that there can be serious security breaches and spying that these apps can carry out through camera/microphone, GPS, and malicious network activities.

The government statement further added: “These apps were allegedly involved in activities harmful to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, also posing a serious threat to the security of the State and the defense of India.” Google told Gadgets 360 that access temporarily blocked for Garena Free Fire from the Google Play store, specifically the Illuminate version. Garena Free Fire Max for premium devices is still listed for download on the Google Play Store.

Garena Free Fire Max and Free Fire Illuminate are essentially the same games, but the former has some gameplay improvements. It offers better graphics and gameplay compared to Free Fire Illuminate.

Separately, the Garena Free Fire ban comes after PUBG developer Krafton filed a lawsuit against Garena, Apple and Google. Krafton claims that Garena copied his popular battle royale title.

As mentioned, Garena Free Fire started gaining popularity in India after the government banned the popular PUBG: Mobile along with PUBG: Mobile Lite and 116 other apps that had connections to China.

Garena released a brief statement in response to the development: “We are aware that Free Fire is currently unavailable on the Google Play and iOS app stores in India and that the game is currently not operable for some users in the country. We are working to resolve this situation and apologize to our users for any inconvenience.”

Garena Free Fire: 5 alternatives

As Garena Free Fire has been banned in India, here is a list of other battle royale games you can play.

Battlegrounds Mobile India

The original app to be banned by the Government of India – PUBG Mobile – has returned to Indian shores renamed as Battlegrounds Mobile India. The app made concessions to comply with the laws of the government of India when it was re-launched last year.

new mobile state

New State Mobile is the second game Krafton has released in India after the PUBG Mobile ban. New State Mobile is set in 2051 and features futuristic weapons and vehicles. The game was recently renamed from PUBG: New State to New State Mobile.

Call of Duty Mobile

Developed by Activision in collaboration with Tencent, Call of Duty Mobile was downloaded over 100 million times in the first week of its release.

Fortnite Mobile

The popular battle royale game has been out for some time now. Fortnite also supports cross-platform play. This helps mobile gamers play with their friends who can have it on their consoles or PC.

Pixel’s Unknown Battleground

With PUBG Mobile theme, Pixel’s Unknown Battlegrounds has over 50 million downloads on Google Play Store. The game features pixelated characters that look like they were modeled after Lego.


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