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Google updates Play Store policies on gamified loyalty programs following confusion in India – TechCrunch


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.

The company said on Thursday that it now specifies guidance on gamified loyalty programs that are based on a qualified monetary transaction in an app and offer 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 gamifying techniques, the company argued at the time, resembled to gambling. The new policy covers developers worldwide, the company said.

“App developers in India are actively building uniquely Indian features and services. One example is the use of mini games, quizzes and other gamification techniques to delight users and convert them into loyal customers. These experiences are often launched during important festivals and sporting events, and getting it right within the specific time window is critically important,” wrote Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy, in a blog post.

The company still does not permit real gambling apps in India, but said developers globally now will have the clarity on rules so they can 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,” wrote Frey.

A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company will be outlining the full guidelines later today.

This is a developing story. More to follow…



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