Garena is a Singaporean digital services company engaging in gaming, eSports, eCommerce and digital finance, primarily focusing on Southeast Asia. It was founded in Singapore in 2009, by Forrest Li who is currently the chairman and CEO. The parent company of Garena is Sea Limited, which was formerly called Garena.
Sea products include Garena, Shopee and AirPay. Garena's first self-developed title, Free Fire, is a mobile battle royale game. It was the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2019, according to App Annie.
Garena distributes game titles on Garena+ in various countries across Southeast Asia and Taiwan. They include the multiplayer online battle arena games League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth, the online football game FIFA Online 3, and mobile MOBA Arena of Valor and mobile racing game Speed Drifters.
In 2017, it developed Garena Free Fire which has over 450 million registered users.
HistoryGarena was founded in Singapore in 2009. In 2012, it launched its first product, Garena+, which is an online game and social platform for people to discover, download and play online games.
In November 2011, Garena announced that it had had publishing rights for the anticipated team-based shooter game, Firefall, in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. It was awarded Anticipated MMO of 2012 in TenTonHammer's Readers Choice contest.
In December 2011, Garena announced their collaboration with online games developer, Changyou, to publish and operate the popular 3D martial arts game, Duke of Mount Deer, in Taiwan. The game is the first MMORPG game available through Garena+. The game combines a classic Chinese story with the latest 3D rendering technology and cinematic quality graphics. Duke of Mount Deer was created by several top online-gaming experts from China and South Korea and has gained much popularity in China.
Also in December 2011, Garena CEO Forrest Li released the "Dominion" game mode for Garena's League of Legends players in Singapore and Malaysia.
In 2014, the World Startup Report valued Garena as a 1 billion internet company and ranked it as the largest internet company in Singapore.
In March 2015, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, one of the largest pension funds in the world, invested in Garena, valuing the company at over USD 2.5 billion.
In August 2015, Garena announced that BlackShot Online would be shut down at midnight on 1 September, not having been able to renew the distribution license. As a result, all game distribution rights were returned to Vertigo Games, which set up PlayOne Asia to handle the game distribution. Later, Garena published another FPS called Alliance of Valiant Arms.
In May 2017, the holding company of Garena group was renamed to Sea Limited. However, Garena was retained as a brand name.
In January 2020, Garena acquired Vancouver-based Phoenix Labs, the developers of Dauntless. The acquisition did not affect operations of Phoenix Labs or Dauntless but helped Garena expand its international presence.
ProductsGarena+ is an online game and social platform that has an interface similar to instant messaging platforms. Garena+ allows gamers to develop buddy lists, chat with friends online and check on game progress and achievements. Gamers can create their own unique identity by customizing their avatar or changing their names. Gamers are also able to form groups or clans, and chat with multiple gamers simultaneously through public or private channels through Garena+. Garena+ users use a virtual currency, Shells.
Other products include BeeTalk, TalkTalk, Shopee.
Events and tournamentsIn May 2012, Garena launched the Garena Premier League, a six-month-long online professional gaming league with more than 100 matches to be played. The first season of GPL is a League of Legends competition which comprises six professional teams. The teams are: the Bangkok Titans, KL Hunters, Manila Eagles, Saigon Jokers, Taipei Assassins and Singapore Sentinels, which represent top players from respective countries. GPL matches are captured and broadcast online along with commentaries, which are available for viewers to watch on the GPL official website.
In January 2013, Garena announced the second season of the Garena Premier League would start on 4 Jan 2013. Garena Premier League 2013 includes two new teams from Taiwan and Vietnam, bringing the total number of teams to eight. The teams are: AHQ, Saigon Fantastic Five, Bangkok Titans, KL Hunters, Manila Eagles, Saigon Jokers, Taipei Assassins and Singapore Sentinels.
In November 2014, the Garena e-Sports Stadium, a dedicated venue for esports, opened in Neihu District, Taipei. The studios was built partially to accommodate the beginning of the League of Legends Masters Series, the top-level Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau LoL league that was spun-off of the GPL.
In January 2015, Garena launched Iron Solari League, a women's League of Legends tournament in the Philippines. It is a monthly event organized in the second half of each month. It aims to encourage participation by under-represented groups and is open to all those who self-identify as female.
Besides competitive tournaments, Garena also organizes events to cater to users to meet and connect offline. This includes the annual Garena Carnival held in Singapore and Malaysia.
ControversiesOn February 3, 2015, Garena eSports announced limitations on the number of gay and transgender people participating in a women-only League of Legends tournament, due to concerns that LGBT participants might have an "unfair advantage". This led to gamers questioning the decision, while League of Legends developer Riot Games responded that "LGBT players are welcome at official LoL tourneys". On February 4, 2015, Garena apologized and subsequently removed the restrictions.
List of published gamesGarena provides a platform for game titles such as Defense of the Ancients and Age of Empires, and also publishes games, like multiplayer online battle arena games League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and Black Shot for players in the region.
|Title||Genre||Developer||Year of launch||Countries||Remarks|
|Black Shot||MMOFPS||Vertigo Games||2009||Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines|
|2009||Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore|
|League of Legends||MOBA||Riot Games||2010||Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau, Thailand, Vietnam||Closed|
|Heroes of Newerth||MOBA||Frostburn Studios||2010||Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, CIS|
|Duke of Mount Deer||MMORPG||Changyou.com||2011||Taiwan|
|Point Blank||MMOFPS||Zepetto||2012||Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia|
|Path of Exile||ARPG||Grinding Gear Games||2013||Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, CIS, Thailand|
|Firefall||Team Shooter/ FPS||Red 5||2014||Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines|
|Lost Saga||Casual||IO Entertainment||2015||Thailand, Taiwan|
|Thunder Strike||Vertical Scroller||sunmosh||2015||Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam|
|Alliance of Valiant Arms||Team Shooter/ FPS||Red Duck Inc.|
|Garena Free Fire||Battle Royale||111dots Studio ||2017||Global|
|Blade & Soul||MMORPG||Team Bloodlust||2017||Thailand, Vietnam|
|FIFA Online 4||Sports/Soccer||Electronic Arts||2018||Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam|
|Ring of Elysium||Battle Royale||Tencent|
|2018||Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau,|
|FIFA Online 3||Sports/Soccer||Electronic Arts||2018||Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam|
|Contra: Return||Run and gun||Tencent|
|2018||Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia|
|Onmyoji||Visual Novel/ Action||Netease Games||2018||Thailand|
|Rising Force Online||MMORPGs||CCR International||Thailand|
|Fighting||SNK||2018||Japan, China, Korea, Thailand|
|Speed Drifters||Racing||Tencent||2019||Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil|