Google has recently unveiled its plans to broaden its support for real-money games (RMG) on the Play Store throughout the year. The initiative involves allowing a wider range of game types within the category, all while adhering to local laws and regulations.
The expansion of real-money gaming support is set to kick off in June, starting with India, Brazil, and Mexico. Google has outlined its intention to extend this program to additional countries in the future.
In conjunction with this move, Google is contemplating a revised service fee model for subscriptions and in-app purchases associated with real-money gaming. While specific details regarding the fee structure remain undisclosed, Google emphasizes ongoing collaboration with developers to align the new approach with the diverse earning models prevalent in the industry.
Google has already permitted real-money gaming apps that conform to local regulatory frameworks. The recent policy shift signals a departure from this approach, allowing for the inclusion of more types of real-money gaming apps that may be legal but lack specific regulations.
“Based on the learnings from the pilots and positive feedback from users and developers, Google Play will begin supporting more RMG apps this year, including game types and operators not covered by an existing licensing framework,” the company said in a blog post.
The journey towards integrating real-money gaming apps on the Play Store began in 2021, with a pilot program in India allowing fantasy sports and Rummy apps. This initiative continued into 2022, with an extension granted to approved apps until January 15. The latest announcement extends this grace period for pilot apps until June 30.
A pivotal aspect of this expansion is the consideration of a new service fee structure for real-money games. This shift is integral to the Play Store’s revenue stream, particularly as Google faces global scrutiny regarding developers’ ability to utilize alternative payment methods. The company currently offers a 4% discount on service fees through its user-choice billing program, initially piloted in 2022 and still limited to select partners.
“We are working closely with developers to ensure our new approach reflects the unique economics and various developer earning models of this industry. We will have more to share in the coming months on our new policy and future expansion plans,” Google said.
Google plans to release detailed policies in the coming months, outlining the changes and incorporating safeguards such as age limits and geo-restrictions. These measures aim to strike a balance between fostering a diverse real-money gaming landscape and ensuring responsible and compliant app offerings on the Play Store.