In a move that could significantly impact the blockchain gaming industry, Google recently announced an update to its Google Play Store policies. The tech behemoth is setting forth new rules and regulations that will allow and govern the integration of blockchain games and applications on its platform, with the aim of full rollout by year’s end.
Transparency is Key
Under Google’s newly updated policies, NFTs are prohibited from being used for wagering or staking for the potential to earn real-world monetary prizes. Similar to the approach adopted by Epic Games, developers of blockchain games will now need to indicate their game’s blockchain status on its content page within the Google Play Store.
In-App NFTs and User Awareness
Google’s updated policy also dictates that if in-app products within Android games have corresponding Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), this information must be clearly communicated to users. Notably, Google will permit NFTs to unlock in-app content, irrespective of the point of purchase. It’s important to note this is a functionality currently not permitted by Apple, a leading competitor of Google in the mobile market.
Regulating Crypto and NFT Trading Activities
Google’s policy update signals an open-minded approach towards blockchain gaming and the incorporation of NFTs and other crypto integrations. However, the policy comes with explicit conditions – developers must ensure they do not infract Google’s Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy and are prohibited from promoting or glamourizing crypto or NFT trading activities.
Restrictions on NFT Usage
In the updated policy, Google stipulates that NFTs, once purchased by users, should be utilized within the game to enrich the user experience or assist users in progressing within the game. The policy update also necessitates transparency from applications about their tokenized digital assets. As the revised policies are rolled out, Google’s initial plan involves cooperation with a chosen group of game developers.
Policy on Bundling NFTs and Crypto Mining
Further, developers are restricted from selling NFT “bundles” without providing specific disclosure about the bundle contents and their value. Google will also uphold its pre-existing policy of banning apps that mine cryptocurrency on user devices. Despite this restriction, Google will continue to permit apps that facilitate users to manage crypto mining activities remotely on other devices, such as computer graphics cards.
The Rollout: What to Expect
This policy change from Google is expected to take effect gradually, with the first visible changes anticipated later this summer. The goal of this collaboration is to assess and improve the user experience within blockchain games. This is a regulation that applies to all NFTs without exception. Notably, NFL Rivals developer Mythical Games and the widely-known message board platform Reddit are already partnering with Google to provide feedback and influence refinements in the updated policies on NFTs.
New Policies are Scheduled for Implementation by End of Year
Despite the traditionally restrictive approach of Apple, its primary competitor, towards NFTs and crypto, Google appears to be forging its own path with this updated policy. While currently collaborating with a select few developers, Google plans to open its new policy for all game developers to build in accordance with its revised crypto gaming policies by the end of the year.