Real money game apps to stay on Google Play Store, AIGF terms it arbitrariness of the company

Google on Friday extended the grace period for existing online real money gaming on the Play Store indefinitely, after which small gaming companies and startups accused the internet giant of engaging in arbitrary and anti-competitive behavior. The grace period for digital fantasy sports (DFS) and rummy apps will continue until the next update of the Playstore policy.

Jun 22, 2024 - 14:39
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Real money game apps to stay on Google Play Store, AIGF terms it arbitrariness of the company

Google has taken a significant call regarding existing online real money gaming, which was primarily hitting Indian startups. Now, giving them another cause for concern, Google indefinitely extended this grace period for existing real-money gaming apps on its Play Store.

This decision has come very long after the ending of the pilot program of the DFS and rummy apps, which was due in September 2023. Let's know about it.

Describing the problem of developing a framework for real-money games, Google said part of it lay in countries like India missing the presence of a center that could run a licensing system. "We need more time to ensure the safety of our users and provide a fair playing field for developers," said a Google spokesperson.

The All India Gaming Federation has come out strongly against the decision, calling it 'arbitrary' and 'anti-competitive'. According to AIGF, because Google dominates app distribution with more than 90%, giving them such unfair control is not justified.

It lets them favor established companies by limiting pilot programs. Whatever the case, they are afraid this will stifle competition and innovation for smaller startups.

The AIGF has repeatedly said that the government's intervention through the Digital Competition Bill will create a level playing field in the app market. It brings to mind an older antitrust case relating to in-app payment practices that the CCI launched against Google. Though Google has expressed interest in developing a holistic framework for real money games not too far into the future, this expansion has created an open playing field against Indian gaming companies. AIGF had called for further updates on the way ahead on behalf of its members as soon as possible and urged Google to develop an inclusive policy.

Muskan Kumawat Journalist & Writer