The weekend is here, but many Free Fire fans in India can’t play their favorite game. The battle royale title has been pulled from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store today. Additionally, many players who already had the game installed are complaining of login issues on social media.
The game was taken off the App Store on Saturday morning (local time) and removed from Google Play Store later in the evening. The game’s enhanced version, Free Fire MAX, is not available on the App Store either, but is present in the Google Play Store at the time of writing.
It’s unclear why the removals are happening. Neither Garena nor any of Free Fire India’s official social media accounts have made a public comment on the situation at the time of writing. Free Fire’s Facebook account acknowledged the login issues in a post and said they were being investigated. Dot Esports has reached out to Garena and Sea, Garena’s parent company, for comment.
Fans have been speculating if this could be due to a ban on the game in India. India’s ministry of electronics and IT had previously banned several applications due to purported data privacy reasons in 2020. It’s unclear if Free Fire is also facing similar scrutiny by the government body. When the apps were banned in 2020, a public statement was released by the ministry. Even then, the apps were available for some time on the application stores before being pulled down. The ministry hasn’t made such a statement today, however.
Update Feb. 14 8:59am CT: Garena responded to an email inquiry by Dot Esports with the following statement: “We are aware that Free Fire is currently unavailable in 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 address this situation, and we apologize to our users for any inconvenience.”
Earlier reports had emerged that the government of India banned Free Fire in the country.