Google plans to expand its support for real-money games (RMG) on the Play Store this year. The company aims to achieve this by allowing more types of games in the RMG category. However, the company will still adhere to local laws.
The program to extend support for real-money gaming will initially roll out in India, Brazil, and Mexico in June. Google also has plans to expand this program to more countries in the future.
New Service Fee Model and Policy Update of Google
As part of this initiative, Google is considering implementing a new service fee model for subscriptions and in-app purchases related to real-money gaming. However, the company has not provided specific details about the fee structure at this time.
Google’s Director of Global Trust & Safety Partnerships, Karan Gambhir, mentioned in a blog post that the company will update the service fee model for RMG to reflect the value that Google Play provides. In addition, it will add support to the Android and Play ecosystems. Google is working closely with developers to ensure that the new approach aligns with the unique economics and earning models of the industry.
Evolution of Google’s Approach to Real-Money Gaming
Google’s journey towards including real-money gaming apps on the Play Store began in 2021. In 2022, the company conducted a pilot program in India, allowing fantasy sports and Rummy apps on the local Play Store. Last year, Google extended the approval for these pilot apps until January 15, 2024. With the latest announcement, these apps will have a grace period until June 30, 2024.
The pilot program also involved regulations for age verification and ID verification. The company launched a similar pilot in Mexico in November. In addition, the company will extend it until June 30, 2024. After this date, developers will be able to publish their real-money gaming apps on the Play Store beyond the fantasy sports category.
Future Policies and Guardrails
Google has stated that it will publish detailed policies regarding the change in the coming months. These policies will include guardrails such as age limits and geo-restrictions to ensure responsible usage of real-money gaming apps.
Impact on Google Play Store’s Revenue
The introduction of a new service fee for real-money games will likely have a significant impact on the revenue generated by the Google Play Store. This move comes as Google faces scrutiny worldwide regarding its policies on alternative payment methods for developers. Currently, Google provides a 4% discount on service fees through its user-choice billing program. In addition, the company piloted the policy in 2022. Additionally, it still has select partners.
In conclusion, Google’s announcement to support more real-money games on the Play Store. As a result, it will reflect the company’s evolving approach to the RMG category. By expanding support to additional countries and considering a new service fee model, Google aims to provide value to developers and sustain the Android and Play ecosystems.