FUTURE DREAMS AND CHANGING PERCEPTIONS, GARENA FREE FIRE MORE THAN JUST A GAME FOR MENA PLAYERS
The rapid emergence of eSports is transforming the gaming industry in different ways. It is not just about the entertainment that it brings but what it offers to people of all ages.
Around the world, the public perception of eSports is changing for the better. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is among those to embrace it with millions of gamers testing themselves against the best across the region.
Realising enormous potential in the region, leading gaming developer Garena has hosted regular competitions and released a number of new updates for its Free Fire gamers. It is part of its commitment to promote the eSports landscape.
Many Free Fire players are brought together by our servers and matchmaking algorithms and they quickly discover how to work together to achieve the common goal of the game – Surviving.
Surviving is the ultimate goal for many of the participants but Free Fire has provided a platform for them to connect themselves to other gamers, raise their profile and test their skills in a competitive environment.
INFINSHIMA is one of the most popular teams in the Free Fire community in the MENA region. Launched in December 2019, the team is formed of captain Achour Mourad, team-mates Imad Boutaoune and Ali Mohamed El Bahrani and manager Bourbia Zine El Abidine.
Every day, INFINSHIMA practises for up to four hours together. This commitment and consistency has seen them develop as a competitive team in the MENA region, winning three official Free Fire tournaments so far.
Despite the players being based in different countries in Algeria and Morocco, playing together can sometimes be challenging but this has made them even stronger as a unit.
Achour, 20 and based in Algeria, said: “One of the big challenges that we have faced is that half the team is in different countries across the region. It can be difficult at times especially if there are technical issues like the internet connection but we don’t let these issues affect us in any way.
“Free Fire has changed my life after meeting my team-mates Ali and Imad. I have made new friends and been able to meet a lot of new people from around the world.”
Having developed himself as a key member of the team, Achour said his family did not have any objections when playing electronic games at such a young age. However, as a student, he is now using his time more efficiently by concentrating on his studies as well as playing Free Fire in his spare time.
“Garena has provided exceptional support to players in this region, creating opportunities that we would have never experienced before,” he said. “I really enjoy playing Free Fire and I aspire to go to university and continue my studies even though the support that I have had from my family has been vital to my gaming success to date.”
For Bourbia, his family had initial concerns when he first started playing games as a youngster but gradually gained their support.
“My family had a few objections and viewed gaming differently at the time. However, over the period of time, they have become more involved and supported me which has been a great help,” said the 21-year-old, who also lives in Algeria.
Bourbia believes that Free Fire will go from strength to strength in the future and has advised new and current players that it is not essential to spend significant time in front of the screens to enjoy gaming.
He said: “For anyone who wants to start playing Free Fire, I recommend that you follow your passion and do what you love. You must also not forget about the important daily routine that you once had before. It is important to continue doing that but also set time aside to play Free Fire.”
While gamers can engage in exciting battles on the battlefield, Free Fire has also provided a platform for players to make a difference that goes beyond gaming.
In May, Wassim Dhieb turned to his passion and used his Free Fire skills and experience to raise USD $1,500 to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds, which were contributed to a Tunisian hospital, was raised after Wassim had taken part in a 12-hour live stream that was broadcasted on his YouTube channel.
It was an experience that Wassim ranks amongst his finest. The Tunisian said: “This is one of my best achievements in my life because I made my community proud by playing a game that I love. It has also inspired a lot of people that they can also go and help if they want to do something similar.”
Having started two years ago, Wassim now plays Free Fire for up to six hours per day. A key part of his journey has been setting up his own YouTube account, posting regular Free Fire content to more than 1,500,000 followers from around the world. This has enabled him to raise his profile in the gaming community as well as securing key sponsorship deals.
Given his passion for Free Fire, Wassim is ready to go professional and commit to a full-time gaming career.
He said: “I see eSports having a big impact in the future. In fact, in 10 years’ time, I believe kids will be watching more eSports games than live football matches on television. I have experienced what eSports can do while playing Free Fire and given the potential it is a major reason why I would be willing to do this full-time. It is my aspiration to be a famous Free Fire gamer and a YouTube influencer.”
Free Fire has also built a community of gamers who assemble online to watch tournaments or watch popular gamers showcasing their skills on video streaming platforms.
All of these developments have encouraged more people to play Free Fire and expand the Free Fire community.