Google’s policy update brings blockchain transparency for apps and games on Play

Anne Freer | July 14, 2023

App Business

Google has unveiled updates to its policy, aiming to provide new avenues for transactions involving blockchain-based digital content within apps and games available on Google Play. According to Joseph Mills, Google’s group product manager, this policy revision requires apps to maintain transparency with users regarding tokenised digital assets. Let’s dive in.

Blockchain transparency

Google noted that, as per the changes, developers are prohibited from promoting or glorifying potential earnings derived from playing or trading activities.

The policy changes reflect Google’s recognition of the growing significance of blockchain technology and its potential to transform the way digital content is transacted. By allowing transactions involving blockchain-based digital assets, Google is opening up avenues for innovation and engagement within the app and gaming ecosystem.

However, the company also emphasises the importance of transparency and responsible promotion, seeking to protect users from deceptive or misleading practices.

The move that developers must clearly declare if their app or game involves the sale or earning of such assets aligns more broadly with the company’s efforts to emphasise user protection by prohibiting developers from promoting or glamorising potential earnings derived from playing or trading activities.

What happens to apps that fail to comply?

Google Play enforced strict guidelines for apps that fail to comply with its Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy. Such apps, as well as those that do not meet eligibility criteria, are prohibited from accepting payment for chances to win prizes, including Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

Joseph Mills, Google’s group product manager, clarified that this includes features like “loot boxes” where randomised blockchain-based items are obtained through purchases.

To ensure a smooth transition, Google is currently piloting the new policy with a select group of developers before implementing it widely on Google Play later this year.

The company anticipates that customers will begin to experience updated in-app and gaming experiences as early as the summer season. By imposing these regulations, Google aims to foster a more secure and transparent environment for users, aligning with its commitment to responsible app development and user protection.

Reddit said it had partnered with Google “to help update their policy, aimed at creating a level playing field that promotes user trust, and responsible usage of blockchain technology.”

Key takeaways

  • Google’s policy updates prohibit promotion of potential earnings from playing or trading activities, emphasizing transparency
  • Apps violating guidelines on Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests are prohibited from accepting prize payments
  • Updated in-app and gaming experiences prioritise user trust and responsible blockchain usage

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