Google simplifies its Play Store policies on gamified loyalty programs


Google has simplified its Play Store policy on gamified loyalty programs for app developers in India. According to Google, it has updated its policy guidance on gamified loyalty programs that are based on a qualified monetary transaction in the app and offer prizes of cash or other real-world value.

“App developers in India are actively building uniquely Indian features and services.  One example is the use of mini games, quizzes and other gamification techniques to delight users and convert them into loyal customers. These experiences are often launched during important festivals and sporting events, and getting it right within the specific time window is critically important. This is one of the things we discussed when we spoke to several startup CEOs in India and around the world in the past few months..,” said  Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy in the company’s blog post.

“While we do not allow Real Money Gambling apps on the Play Store in India, we remain committed to engaging with industry and government bodies as they deliberate on measures that will best support this industry,” Frey added.

Besides clarifying its policy, Google has announced that it is launching a new web repository called ‘How Google Play Works’, that will comprise best practices and useful information for app developers. It also contains India-specific details on various programmes that developers can leverage to scale their apps.

The development comes four months after Google faced repercussions in India for confusion over Play Store’s anti-gambling policy. In September, Paytm and Paytm First Games’ apps were removed from Play Store for flouting its Play Store policy on gambling platforms. In the same month, the search giant also sent notices to online food ordering platforms Zomato and Swiggy for violating its policies. The two companies had to withdraw their in-app gaming feature for promoting cashback schemes via fantasy sports.

It’s worth noting that Google had also faced flak from the Indian startup ecosystem over its policy to enforce a 30% charge on all in-app purchases through Play Store in India. However, it later extended the deadline to integrate the billing system from September 30, 2021, to March 31, 2022.

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