Google has updated, simplified, and broadened its policy on gaming loyalty programs that Play Store apps can engage in months after confusion about the guidance prompted some backlash in India.
On Thursday, the company said that it now specifies guidance on gamified loyalty programs based on a qualified monetary transaction in an app and offers prizes of cash or other real-world cash-equivalent perks.
Scores of apps run gamified loyalty programs in their apps to appease and win users. Last year, the company sent notices to several Indian startups, including Paytm, Zomato, and Swiggy, whose techniques, the company argued at the time, resembled a lot like gambling. The new policy covers developers worldwide, the company said.
The company still does not permit real gambling apps in India but said developers globally now will clarify rules to better inform their strategies.
“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. And, as part of the very first policy update of 2021, we are clarifying and simplifying the policies around loyalty programs and features,” said Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy. A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company will be outlining the full guidelines later today. This is a developing story. More to follow.