Free Fire Reportedly Banned in India, Free Fire MAX Unaffected for Android Users
Indian government has dropped the ban hammer once again.
Garena Free Fire - Illuminate is amongst 54 other apps that have been banned by India earlier today, according to reports. One of the biggest mobile games in the world, Free Fire, which has a huge presence and player base in India has already been removed from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store in the country. On the other hand, Free Fire MAX despite being unavailable for iOS users can be still be downloaded by Android users.
Other games that have been banned alongside Free Fire include Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade, Astracraft, Badlanders none of which are esports titles. The Indian government had previously banned 118 apps in September 2020.
Free Fire reportedly banned by the Government of India along with 53 other apps
On 12th February, Free Fire had been removed from the Apple App Store and just a day later on 13th February, it was removed from the Google Play Store as well.
Now, it is being reported that the game has been banned in the country by the Government of India as part of the 54 applications that were embargoed earlier today on 14th February. However, the newer improved version of the game - Free Fire MAX, continues to be available for android users officially via the Google Play Store.
Earlier, many had connected the unavailability of Free Fire on the two online app stores to Garena facing a lawsuit by Krafton, who has accused them of copying PUBG Mobile. Additionally, Krafton has also sued both Apple and Google for distributing the title. But that is clearly not the case, as the title is caught up in the latest ban wave issued by the Indian Government.
Though no official statement has been published by the developers since these reports surfaced, Garena had earlier publicly issued the following comment on the situation regarding its unavailability:
We're aware about the issue and (are) getting it investigated. In the meantime, please share you Network Provider (Internet Provider) name and also if you're using mobile data or Wi-Fi to launch the game.Statement by Krafton
Other applications that have been banned by the GOI include photo editing apps, music related apps, video editing apps, social apps, and other games including Conquer Online - MMORPG Game, Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade, Onmyoji Chess, and more.
According to Medianama journalist Sarvesh Mathi, Garena Free Fire, which is part of the ban list that is circulating, might have been blocked under IT Rules Section 9(1) instead of Section 69A of the IT Act.
The government is yet to issue an official statement regarding these bans.