Free Fire (also referred to as Garena Free Fire) is a third-person shooter battle royale game exclusively released on mobile devices in 2017. Contrary to what its name might suggest, Garena only published the game, as it was in fact developed by a small Vietnamese company, 111dots Studio.
Up to 50 players are parachuted onto an island at the beginning of a match. Each player can choose where they want to land, rather than players being randomly parachuted at the same moment. Choosing where to land will help the players to strategize their movements or to coordinate with their teammates.
Players then proceed to look for resources coming in the form of weapons, ammo, grenades, armor, etc. The battle royale takes place in a space that will slowly shrink to force players to actively engage since fewer hidden spots and camping points will be available. The last player or team standing will be declared the winner of the match.
Free Fire is not the product of a big studio, even locally. 111dots Studio was easily bought by the Singaporean Garena, becoming their first proprietary game. And what a good decision it was since it made its founder, Li Xiaodong, one of the few developers to become a billionaire thanks to a mobile game. Not only is the game free-to-play, but it also comes in two different versions: the basic one for all types of phones (even low-end devices) and the MAX version with improved HD graphics and new features. Free Fire is especially popular in Southeast Asia, the Middle-east, India, and South America. Free Fire was nicknamed Singapore’s Fortnite for its wild success in the country before the game grew way beyond that. Even after the introduction of Fortnite: Battle Royale and PUBG Mobile on mobile devices, Free Fire has managed to thrive, even making the rounds in the United States.
Let’s dive deep with these Free Fire statistics and facts.
Free Fire user stats
Attracted by its fast-paced matches, good handling, pretty open gameplay that allows users to find their own style, and the fact that you do not need a top-notch device to properly play the game, players flocked to Free Fire like moths to a bulb. Strangely enough, the name does not sound a bell for a lot of people not into the battle royale/mobile games scene. However, the game has millions of players and numbers to back up the fact that, yes, it is a big guy.
1. In 2021, it was announced that Free Fire had been downloaded over 1 billion times on the Google Store.
(Source: Cultured Vultures)
In 2021, Free Fire and Free Fire Max, both combined, generated 43.6 million installs and was the most popular in South America.
The game has been downloaded more than 100 times in H1 2021.
In October 2021 alone, it has been downloaded 34 million times, with 30% coming from India and 12% from Brazil.
It also gained 225 million downloads in the first three quarters of 2020 alone.
In 2019, the game reached 450 million registered users. A total of 73 million new players joined during Q1 2019 alone. 20% of those new players were from Brazil, followed by India (16%) and Indonesia (14%).
In 2018, the title received approximately 182 million new installs/registered users.
Free Fire came with an excellent deal: the game could run on any mobile devices, and properly at that. Graphics are not optimum, but you can see what you are doing, and they are not that bad. In countries like Brazil or India, where not everyone can invest in a high-end phone, such an alternative was perfect. Plus, the game is not neglected and has performance in mind. It would only be natural to see it gain traction with a large audience. And that is also why the most loyal player bases are in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America (with Brazil at the forefront). All regions with a high population density.
2. In Q2 2021, Free Fire had a peak of 150 million daily active users.
(Source: Cultured Vultures)
In 2020, at its peak, it reached 100 daily active players
In 2019, over 50 million daily active users were playing the game. And later during the same year, it reached 60 million daily active users.
This number increased in 2020 with up to 80 million daily active users.
The player base is really invested in the game and, considering the number of parents complaining about their kids being addicted, they spend a lot of their free time playing. Then again, the fact that most of those countries have huge population factors in the numbers. Free Fire secured Brazil and India, two countries coveted by a lot of mobile games as they are considered “MAU-DAU nests”. But all that would not be working if the devs were not also continuously providing great content to their player base. In fact, the game is starting to slowly build its presence in the west, thanks to their MAX version of the games that come with HD graphics, a criterion most appreciated by western players.
Free Fire Key Stats
With such success, everyone is a bit curious about topics focused on revenues, profits, the number of downloads, and more information around the game itself.
3. In 2019, Free Fire reached the $1 billion in lifetime revenue threshold.
(Source: Pocket Gamer)
The game generated a total revenue of $1.1 billion in 2021.
In Q1 2021, it raked in $100 million in the United States, surpassing PUBG Mobile’s $68 million during the same period. On a global scale for Q1 2021, Free Fire made $255 million.
In May 2021 alone, the game has made $59million, which means that it generated at least $1.9 million per day!
In Q1 2019, Free Fire brought in $90 million, which was, at the time, their best quarter since launch. Brazil accounted for $27.9 million of that total, Thailand players for $9.9 and the US represented $8.5 million of that revenue.
The game generated a total revenue of $118 million in 2018.
Free Fire is free-to-play and works with a freemium model. Like a lot of other battle royale games, microtransactions mostly involved cosmetics and other items not necessary to finish or enjoy the game. You can then buy new costumes, pets, battle passes, a spin or two at the lottery or even characters. All of those elements can be bought with diamonds, the in-game currency, which can be bought with real money. The prices are not going overboard, and events or goals can reward the players with diamonds. No doubt that when Free Fire will be more comfortable in the West, the game will generate even more money as we know western players to be generous with their wallets.
4. Free Fire won eSports Mobile Game of the Year at the eSports Awards two years in a row, in 2020 and 2021.
In 2019, the Google Store awarded the game with Best Popular Vote Game.
In 2021, it won Best Battle Royale Game at the Pocket Gamer Awards.
The game also received accolades and individual awards with magazines, e-zines, or blogs. The eSports Mobile Game of the Year is a fairly new category, and Free Fire won the award right from the start. No small feat as the game was pitted against titans such as PUBG, League of Legends, Call of Duty, or even Clash of Clans. Hopefully, those achievements will boost the title’s popularity in the West, even more, considering that the eSports Awards have a very global reach across all communities.
Free Fire Usage Stats
Time to take a closer look at how the game is consumed by the community. The game makes it a point to always have something to keep the players entertained. So between the new campaigns, the battle passes, and the cosmetics and characters to collect, users have enough to be kept busy!
5. NOBRU is the most watched Free Fire streamer with a monthly viewership of 451,456 hours in December 2021.
He is followed by Neutro YT with 390,819 monthly views and loud-thurzin with 274,964 views.
LuisOrmenoa27 takes the fourth spot with 208,852 views and fg_panella closes the top 5 with his 205,789 monthly views.
This top 5 includes only streamers from South America and most of them are from Brazil where the game enjoys huge popularity. As we will see later, Twitch does not seem to be the go-to streaming platform for Free Fire players, but there is also the language barrier that will restrict the audience. Not everyone can speak Portuguese, yes? Some of those streamers are also on YouTube where they have a nice following and are also professional Free Fire players. The game is also insanely popular in India, and you might wonder where the Indian streamers are: on YouTube, where they flourish way better than on Twitch (like a lot of other Asian Free Fire players).
6. Free Fire is ranked #85 on Twitch.
Over 7 days, the average number of viewers is 3,287, the average number of channels streaming the game is 244, the average number of viewers/channel is 13.5 and the average number of hours watched is 552,191.
The highest number of concurrent viewers was 518,590 in February 2021 and the highest number of channels streaming was 999 in April 2021.
On average, there are 9,235 viewers and 267 active channels.
The game is streamed by 5% less channels during the weekend, and there are 29% less viewers.
Why is it that a game like Free Fire, with millions and players and actually standing its ground against competitors like PUBG or Call of Duty, is doing so bad on Twitch? It can be explained when looking at the most Free Fire-engaged countries, and also the reason why the title is often referred to as “that game with millions of players you know nothing about” in the western media. Simply put, as we have seen before, the possibility to play on any mobile devices gave the chance to people from countries with a not-so-advantageous economy to find a well-developed game taking them seriously. A smartphone is still less expensive than a laptop or a PC. That goes for Twitch too, as not a lot of people can afford a whole setup for streaming. Plus, the community seems to have chosen YouTube for everything: streaming and video posting.
7. In 2020, Free Fire accumulated 72 billion views on YouTube, bringing its lifetime total to 100 billion views.
(Source: Pocket Gamer)
With 10.9 million subscribers, Free Fire India has accumulated a total of 1,327,328,983 views since 2018.
Free Fire Brazil has 9.52 million subscribers and 1,016,066,911 lifetime views since its creation in 2018.
In the west, Free Fire EU (Europe) was created in 2019 and has since then gained over 396,000 subscribers and 78,195,555 lifetime views.
Free Fire has a YouTube account for each of their servers, in different countries or on different continents and, as expected, most of them are in South America and Asia. Using here the two countries with the biggest player bases in the community, we can see that players also actively keep themselves up-to-date thanks to the official channel on YouTube. To be able to accumulate 100 billion views, it means that Free Fire has reached the billion threshold with all the game’s channels, except for North America and Europe, as it is only starting to make some waves there. Strangely enough, there is in fact a channel for the North American audience, but it is nowhere to be found on Social Blade.
Android or iOS
Free Fire was ported exclusively to mobile devices, which is not that bad of a decision from Garena to not try to expand their zone of influence from the get-go. Released before the mobile versions of Fortnite and PUBG, Free Fire did not give up on its title as one of the best battle royale games on mobile devices and continues to deliver an excellent performance. Plus, now that Fortnite has been completely banned from both iOS and Android, Free Fire only has to deal with PUBG, and it does not seem to be much of an issue.
8. Free Fire has been downloaded over 1 billion times on the Google Store.
(Source: Cultured Vultures)
In India: The game is the third top free action game and the first highest grossing action game.
In Brazil: Free Fire ranks fifth in the Top Free Action Games category and first in the Top Grossing Action Games category.
In Mexico: Here too, the game is at the top spot as the highest grossing action game. However, it is #6 in the Top Free Action Games category.
For H1 2021 (first half of 2021), Free Fire was the second game to generate the highest revenue on the Google Store, right after Coin Master.
It is an all-kill for Free Fire on Android in the countries with the highest number of downloads in the Top Grossing Action Games category. The game snatched the first spot in said category in several countries in Asia and South America. Garena’s flagship game is completely dominating.
9. On iOS US, Free Fire is the third highest grossing action game on iPhone and the sixth on iPad.
(Source: Sensor Tower)
However, in the Top Free Action Games category, it is #48 on iPhone and #138 on iPad.
In Brazil: the game ranks third on iPhone and seventh on iPad in top free action games, but takes the first spot on iPhone as the highest grossing action game (#7 on iPad).
In Mexico: the title snatches the first spot on iPhone for Top Free Action Game and the seventh one on iPad. It does well too in the Top Grossing category, since it is #1 on iPhone and #2 on iPad.
US players seem to have primarily downloaded the game from iOS rather than via Android. Free Fire is even ranked pretty well for a game that just started popping on the western map. Funnily enough, thanks to Sensor Tower, we can also see how Android is favoured by certain countries. For example, India and its massive amount of installs coming mostly from the Google Store.
Free Fire eSports
With its fast pacing, short matches of 10 minutes, and open gameplay allowing players to adopt different roles based on how they want to play (and not just the character), Free Fire was made for eSports. Even if the game started small, it was easy to see the potential behind it. And it paid off, since the Free Fire eSports scene is thriving. It is one of the most active eSports out there, managing to always have something planned. Free Fire also helped develop how eSports is perceived in Asia and Latin America.
10. The biggest prize pool in a tournament reached a total of $2,010,000.
(Source: eSports Earnings)
It was the prize money for the Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore.
The grand total of prize money awarded amounts to $9,160,934 from over 400 matches and tournaments.
Free Fire started with some local tournaments before quickly turning to something a bit bigger. During the first Free Fire World Series, despite the “World” included in the name of the tournament, organizers and players alike thought that only Asian players would take part in the championship. But a group of Brazilian players had made the trip from the other side of the world. That showed that Free Fire was indeed ready for the international eSports scene. Not only that: India also has its own Free Fire circuit, and they even hold their own award ceremony at the end of the year.
11. The top 5 of the players with the highest earnings is dominated by Thailand.
D_Long is #1 with a total of $158,312. He is followed by TheCruz with $149,107.
JOENA is #3 with $139,106 while #4, Rambo, shows a total of $133,871.
The last player on the list, Lukz, has earned a total of $124,290.
Minus Lukz, four of them are part of EVOS Phoenix’s roster. Right after them, we find Indonesian players, followed by a long slew of Brazilian players. Brazil actually used to be at the top of this list. On that note, Free Fire is one (if not, the only one) of the big eSports scenes with the youngest players. Loud-thurzin with its 14 years old is far from being the youngest in the circuit: that honour goes to 12 years old Rasyah from Indonesia.
12. Denmark dominates the circuit with over $1,122,385 earned, making it the country with the highest sum of money awarded.
(Source: eSports Earnings)
Indonesia is second with $1,041,811 and Brazil is third with $622,047.
Vietnam ($371,620) and Russia ($172,690) managed to occupy the last two spots of that Top 5.
Hopefully, Free Fire will give the opportunity to several Asian players to find an international roster to join, in addition to their local one. eSports are pretty much established in countries like Brazil and Russia, but except for South Korea, China and Japan, we do not always have the chance to see southeast Asian countries shine. Plus, because of the Free Fire not being too demanding in terms of performance, tournaments are therefore open to more players.
13. With $706,006 earned, EVOS Phoenix is the organization with the highest earnings.
In second place, we find another team under the EVOS agency, EVOS Divine with $324,494. It is followed by LOUD with $311,751.
Corinthians is #4 with a total of $268,735 and rounding off this top 5 is HQ eSports with $230,400.
EVOS is an eSports agency specializing in southeast Asian players, and they have two teams in the first two spots, meaning that there is a good chance that non affiliated players might try to be scouted by them. LOUD is Brazilian and was formed by a group of influencers/streamers. Corinthians is actually the eSports division of a Brazilian sports club, showing how eSports is getting recognized in Brazil. HQ eSports is a Vietnamese team under the bigger eSports group, HQ.
14. The Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore beat the highest number of concurrent viewers, held by League of Legends, by reaching a total of 5,414,953 peak viewers.
At any time during the tournament, the average number of viewers was around 2,087,307 and a total of 18,437,875 hours were watched.
The event was streamed in 18 different languages and on four different platforms: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook and Booyah.tv.
23 countries took part in the tournament and over 30 hosts/commentators/analysts were part of the broadcast talent panel.
Not only did Free Fire finally passed the $1 million threshold in prize money, but they also beat a veteran of the eSports scene in terms of concurrent viewers! Not bad for a game that “people don’t know”. The overall scale was massive, from the number of countries to the number of commentators. With this, we can definitely see that Garena decided to make YouTube their streaming bastion. Good, because that is also the favourite platform of their player base and public. Booyah.tv is Garena’s own streaming platform for their games. We also to highlight players coming from countries like Iraq, Syria, Moldova or Tunisia (amongst others) for showing up to represent their nation: not only is eSports not really a thing there, but it was players showing up all alone or small teams of two players.
To sum up
Garena Free Fire is the silent killer the battle royale genre did not know it needed. While PUBG and Fortnite were clashing in much fanfare, Free Fire was quietly making its way to the top. The inclusive nature of the game really helped. They tapped into a market that was a bit neglected in a world where mobile gaming is taking the video game industry by storm: third world and developing countries. Places like Brazil, India or Pakistan where most people have a phone to play games rather than a next-gen console or a powerful PC. It is not only cheaper, but the variety in games is huge.
And Garena/111dots Studio did so with a game developed seriously: the performance is constant with any device, from low-end models to the high-end ones. Sure, graphics have been sacrificed a bit, but nothing too drastic. The game is often updated, events rewarding the players with free diamonds are held regularly, and the collaborations are fantastic (McLaren, Cristiano Ronaldo, Money Heist, Marvel’s Venom, etc). They even released some music while working with several DJs. Free Fire will give the opportunity to a lot of people to finally be able to fully enjoy eSports as professional players. India already has its own Free Fire league, and we can see new organizations and agencies popping up to recruit new players here and there.
Considering how Garena Free Fire takes its player base seriously and the big strides the game made on the eSports global stage, it is clear that Garena’s title is a contender not to underestimate.
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