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Monday, July 22, 2024

How Garena Captured The Emerging Markets With Free Fire


Garena is a Singaporean digital services company that provides gaming and social platform services for online gamers in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Latin America. The company was founded in 2009 by Forrest Li, and its name is derived from “Global Arena.” Garena offers a range of services, including online gaming, e-commerce, and social media, and it has a strong presence in the mobile gaming market.

Unbeatable In The World Of Gaming

Garena’s flagship game is Free Fire, a battle royale game that has become incredibly popular in many countries. Free Fire has been downloaded over 1 billion times and has over 80 million daily active users. Garena also publishes and distributes other popular games, such as League of Legends, Call of Duty Mobile, and Arena of Valor.

Achieving Uniqueness Through Localization 

Garena has a strong presence in Southeast Asia and has been expanding into other markets in recent years. The company is known for its focus on creating localized content and experiences that cater to the unique needs and preferences of gamers in different regions. Garena has a local operation team in each market for Free Fire. These teams are responsible for staying connected with the local gaming community and regularly conducting focus group studies and surveys. The company holds one or two focus groups every month, each targeting specific aspects. By doing so, they gather valuable insights that help in designing future products and features that players want. This approach has been well received by players, as they appreciate being heard and seeing their feedback reflected in the game.

The game also integrates local cultures into it by offering specially tailored in-game events, bonuses, and aesthetics. This is particularly evident during real-world events such as Carnival in Brazil or Songkran in Thailand, where the game reflects the local festivities. By doing so, Free Fire acknowledges and embraces the excitement surrounding its local community, providing players with a refreshing change of pace.

Advantage Of Developing Mobile-only Games

Free Fire is a mobile-only game and cannot be played on any other platform, which sets it apart from Fortnite and PUBG’s PC and console versions. Garena intentionally optimized Free Fire to have a small file size, starting at 200MB and now around 400MB, to appeal to a wider audience. Doing so ensures that the game can run seamlessly on almost any device. This sets it apart from other battle royale games, such as Fortnite and PUBG Mobile, which require over a gigabyte of disk space and specific hardware specifications to run smoothly on mobile. As a result, Free Fire’s lightweight design makes it more accessible to potential players, especially in emerging markets.

It has been found that lightweight games have a social advantage, as players prefer games that their friends can easily play with them. This is often the case with Free Fire, which has become a popular choice due to its accessibility. Unlike in China or the United States, high-end phones are not as prevalent in the Brazilian market. As a result, playing with friends on a game like Free Fire becomes a more attractive option, creating a snowball effect for users, even if they have great phones.

A Market Specific Monetization Strategy

Garena’s monetization strategy varies depending on the market. In the United States, most gamers are comfortable with making online purchases. However, this is not always the case in other markets, particularly in South America. To overcome this, market specific pricing and payment strategies are identified to cater to the targeted user bases and integrate them into the game.

Thoughtful Expansion Technique

In addition to gaming, Garena has expanded into other digital services, such as e-commerce and payment solutions. The company operates Shopee, a leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, and AirPay, a digital payments platform that allows users to pay bills, transfer money, and make online purchases.

This is how Garena successfully disrupted the mobile gaming market, leaving its competitors behind. For more stories of brand building and evolving marketing strategies, stay tuned to World Brand Affairs. We bring you insights to satisfy your intrigued minds.