Garena’s Free Fire is one of the most popular mobile games in the world and is especially loved in regions like Brazil. Although, some players do not feel comfortable playing on smartphones, and prefer to emulate the game on PC, using a program to emulate the mobile game on it. So though emulation, Free Fire can be played on PC, allowing the players to use keyboard and mouse for the gameplay instead of fingers on the smartphone screen. Thanks to these players, some of whom are really famous among the Free Fire community such as Fluxo’s co-founder Lucio “Cerol” Lima, a competitive scene was developed.
Although not as pompous and not counting with the same resources as the official Brazilian League of Free Fire (LBFF), which focuses on mobile, the emulation scene is being developed with new investors and also special championships dedicated to it. Digital entrepreneur Delo Amendola told The Esports Observer he decided to enter esports specifically through a Free Fire emulation team. His team, Tropa, was created six months ago due to observations made by Amendola: “It is a really hyped scene,” he says.
The main league is the National Free Fire League (NFA), which was founded by businessmen Bernardo Assad and Marcelo Camargo. The NFA currently counts on more than 4.5M followers on Instagram and 1.25M subscribers on YouTube, attracting the attention of big brands in LATAM such as delivery app Rappi in 2020. The league, which according to the founders is inspired by the NBA and NFL, enters its fifth season on March 27.
NFA features teams of some of the main esports organizations in Brazil, such as NOISE, owned by LOUD, and Faz o P, owned by paiN Gaming. They use these tags because, as the organizations have signed with Garena for LBFF, the company asks them to not use the same brands in the unofficial emulation tournaments. Despite this, the NFA broadcast is featured on BOOYAH!, Garena’s own streaming platform.
Other independent initiatives are also raising awareness to the emulation scene: being a Free Fire superstar and having founded its own team with Bruno “Nobru” Goes, one of the main esports athletes in Brazil, Lima invested in the emulation scene by launching its own tournament named Cerol Challenge, with a $50K BRL (roughly $8,615 USD) prize pool.
Despite the existence of two different competitive scenes of the game, the Free Fire community did not divide itself for it and the players are popular on both sides of it. Lima, for example, was recently chosen by the Unopar University to be the ambassador of its mobile Free Fire tournament, which has a $30K BRL ($5.4K USD) prize pool and will grant 12 scholarships to the three best teams of the competition.
Recently, LOUD’s Gabriel “bak” Lessa, a Free Fire emulation player for NOISE, broke the record for Portuguese-language streaming on Twitch in a friendly match with paiN Gaming’s Faz o P. The Free Fire community in Brazil seems to be united by the love for the game and for the players they admire, not really seeking ways to differentiate them. It is an example of union and coexistence that maybe the whole esports scene could learn from.
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