Singaporean gaming giant Garena is making a calculated move to reclaim its position in the lucrative Indian mobile gaming market. This time, the company aims to localize its operations in India at a time when its flagship title, Free Fire, a popular battle royale game, is poised for a relaunch in India after facing a ban in 2022 due to national security concerns.

For those who need a reminder about Garena Free Fire, the mobile battle royale game allows up to 50 players parachute onto a deserted island and fight for survival. Players scavenge for weapons and equipment, navigate a shrinking battlefield, and eliminate opponents to be the last one standing. The game features a variety of characters with unique abilities, a fast-paced and action-packed gameplay style, and regular updates with new content, making it a popular choice for mobile gamers worldwide.

Its immense popularity in India, boasting over 40 million monthly active users at its peak, made the 2022 ban a significant blow to both Garena and the Indian gaming community. At that time, the Indian government, citing Section 69a of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which empowers authorities to block apps deemed a threat to national security, banned Free Fire along with a host of other Chinese-linked applications over national security concerns.

Now, according to media reports, a key aspect of Garena’s localization strategy involves the relocation of its game server to India. The server will be housed in Yotta Data Services’ premises in Navi Mumbai, as well as establishing a “fully localised infrastructure” for Free Fire India. By bringing the server closer to its user base, Garena aims to ensure smooth connectivity and reduced lag during gameplay sessions. In collaboration with Yotta Data Services, Garena is rigorously testing the performance metrics of the server to ensure optimal functionality. This includes assessing factors such as throughput and redundancy, crucial considerations for handling streaming workloads and supporting esports tournaments.

From the looks of it, Garena will be providing an end-to-end localized infrastructure tailored specifically for the Indian market. This infrastructure will be designed to meet the regulatory requirements and expectations of Indian authorities and stakeholders, according to the gaming giant. The launch of Free Fire in India, initially scheduled for September 2023, was postponed to allow for further refinement of gameplay and completion of localization efforts. Since then, rigorous testing has been underway in collaboration with Yotta Data Services. The focus of this testing is on achieving high throughput, the ability of the server to handle the large data streams generated during gameplay – something that is particularly crucial for esports tournaments, which have become a significant aspect of the Free Fire ecosystem.

Still, in a nutshell, the relaunch of Free Fire in the Indian gaming landscape presents a significant opportunity for both Garena and Indian gamers. Garena has the chance to regain its foothold in a lucrative market while demonstrating its commitment to regulatory compliance and user safety. Indian gamers, on the other hand, can look forward to the return of a beloved game, potentially with a localized experience that caters to their specific needs and preferences.