Google has updated its policies for the Play Store, mainly to add more clarity to video game publishers that bring along the option to engage with digital assets like NFTs. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital collectibles, inscribed on blockchains, and based on anything ranging from cartoon characters to artworks, song, images, and other media files. Since their prices can be subject to fluctuations, companies like Apple and Google exercise serious caution against exposing their users to financial risks.
Google now officially allows video game publishers to facilitate the sale of NFTs on its Play Store. It has updated its ‘Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests' policy that now requires developers to complete filling out a declaration for apps that lets users deal in digital assets.
“We're updating our policy to open new ways to transact blockchain-based digital content within apps and games on Google Play. We're requiring that apps be transparent with users about tokenized digital assets. And while tokenised assets are meant to build more enriched, immersive experiences, as an added user protection, developers may not promote or glamorise any potential earning from playing or trading activities,” said a post published by Google on the Android Developers Blog.
With this update to the Play Store policy, Google is making it very clear that it will not tolerate app developers engaging in deceptive behaviour.
The search engine giant expects complete transparency from video game publishers making their products available on the platform. Developers will need to make sure that the functions of their games will need to be explained clearly to the users.
All apps on Play Store that offer financial services will need to complete filling this declaration form put in place by Google.
Existing video game publishers have until August 31 to submit the declaration as well as the documents supporting their claims about their business practices.
“For example, developers should not offer purchases where the value of the NFT users receive is not clear at the time of purchase. This includes, but is not limited to, offering mechanisms to receive randomised blockchain-based items from a purchase such as 'loot boxes',” Google's blog noted.
The search engine giant said it has made updates to its Play Store policy after consulting industry players.
Reddit's senior engineering manager Matt Williamson commented on Google's policy upgrade saying such practices will increase the trust of users.
“We 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. By setting clear guidelines, we can ensure that our users make informed decisions while enjoying immersive experiences,” Williamson said.
While Google is taking proactive steps to accommodate the blockchain industry, Apple is trying to keep Web3 related apps far away at bay.
Just last June, the iPhone-maker restricted the presence of two Bitcoin wallet providers — Zeus and Damus — on Apple's App Store.
Zeus and Damus, both, are non-custodial wallets. Apple, meanwhile, requires apps related to crypto transactions to be registered on centralised exchanges, most of which provide custodial wallet services, keeping users' private keys in their own storage.
Last year, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong had also expressed disappointment over the existing App Store rules, which he said hindered the ease of integrating new payment options other than Apple Pay for pro-Web3 developers.
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