A messaging, chat, voice and gaming platform from Asia
Garena is an online game matching service and game distribution platform. Garena is mostly focused on bringing players together through a social network that includes everything from profiles to clans. It is also the exclusive service and platform for some online multiplayer games released in Southeast Asia. Garena has a mix of pros and cons for avid gamers.
Many Player Matching Options
A large benefit is that there are many ways to find, meet and stay in touch with other players. Each person has a profile on the network that can be searched. Garena can interface with large social media sites so common friends can be cross-referenced. There are groups and clans that players can join with new friends. Garena also includes local area network (LAN) rooms for offline games with multiplayer modes.
Messaging and Voice Chat
A large part of Garena is dedicated to messaging, chat and voice chat. Players can use Garena like an instant messaging service once friends are added. There are chat rooms available where players can congregate and talk. A voice chat option is also available that allows everyone in a particular room to hear and speak to each other.
There are times when players might want to exchange files like custom maps, game mods or walkthroughs. Garena has a built-in file sharing tool where members can share files with one or more friends through the network without any problems.
Garena rose to popularity because the company hosted official tournaments for different games. Garena is still hosting annual tournaments, mostly for sports and arena-based games. The winners of these tournaments sometimes receive digital awards and recognition within the Garena network.
A major problem with Garena is that it is largely focused on the Southeast Asian region. Some of the most popular games available through the platform cannot be accessed by players outside of a nine-country region in Asia. The Asian base for the platform also means the chat rooms and voice chats are frequently full of people who speak only Asian languages.
Limited Game Selection
Another issue is that around only two dozen games are available that are compatible with the Garena platform. Half of these are classic offline games that are played through LAN mode. Garena cannot be used as a generic matchmaking service for players since games not directly supported cannot be added. This limits the usefulness of Garena.
Virtual Currency Required For Some Features
Garena is different from some other similar platforms because it uses a virtual currency system within the application. The virtual currency, called shells, is used to buy gold memberships that give players more options online. Shells are purchased with real-world money. The currency can also be used to purchase items that unban players who have been previously banned by a moderator. The virtual currency seems awkward and unnecessary in a matchmaking game service.