Good news! Google has announced its intention to increase real-money games on the Play Store starting this year. This will permit a broader range of games in the category based on local laws. The extension of real-money gaming is part of a strategy to boost commerce in countries like India, Brazil, and Mexico.
Google also has plans to follow the same strategy in other countries, but in the future.
That said, Google is thinking about a new service fee model for subscriptions as well as in-app purchases. As of now, there aren’t many details available about the percentage taken from developers. Karan Gambhir, Director of Global Trust & Safety Partnerships at Google, mentioned in a post, “With this policy update, we will also be evolving our service fee model for real-money games to reflect the value Google Play provides and to help sustain the Android and Play ecosystems.
Previously, Google permitted real-money gaming apps within the confines of local regulatory frameworks. However, the policy change now allows a larger number of real-money gaming apps. The participating apps should be legal, even if not strictly regulated.
This effort includes real-money gaming apps on the Play Store in 2021, conducting a pilot in India in 2022 for fantasy sports and Rummy apps. The latest announcement extends the grace period for apps until June 30, 2024.
The two parts of the pilot program are age verification and ID verification. It was launched in Mexico last November and is now set to continue until June 30. Following this period, developers will have the opportunity to publish their real-money gaming app on the Play Store beyond common categories like sports.
Lastly, Google is also planning to publish detailed policies in the upcoming month. It emphasises the inclusion of guardrails such as an age limit and geo-restrictions. The introduction of the new service fee on real-money games will be a significant factor in Google Play Store’s revenue, especially as the company faces global scrutiny regarding the developer’s use of alternative payment methods.
Note: The existing user-choice billing program offers a 4% discount on service fees and was piloted in 2022 and still includes selected partners.