July 17, 2023
By Sharan Kaur Phillora
In a landmark policy revision, Google Play will permit developers to integrate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and similar digital assets into their applications and games.
Here’s what we know:
App makers that wish to offer functionalities to purchase, trade, or earn tokenized assets are now obligated to specify these blockchain components within their app description in the Play Console.
The announcement was made public through a blog post by Joseph Mills, Google Play’s Group Product Manager. According to Mills, the revised policy will pave the way for developers to innovate “traditional games with user-owned content” while promoting “user loyalty through unique NFT rewards.”
Google collaborated with various partners, including Reddit, for the updated policy. Reddit’s senior engineering manager, Matt Williamson, underscored the objective of the guidelines, stating they aim to “create a level playing field that fosters user trust and encourages responsible use of blockchain technology.”
The post emphasized the protection of user trust. While tokenized assets should enrich the user experience, developers should refrain from promoting or exaggerating potential earnings from gameplay or trading activities.
This reinforces Google Play’s existing policies against Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests, effectively prohibiting apps from encouraging purchases like “loot boxes” for the chance to win NFTs without meeting the required gambling eligibility.
The updated policy is a relief to the developer community who previously saw Google’s rules as a “black box,” notably after removing games such as “Bitcoin Blast” from the Play Store in 2021. The ban on crypto mining apps, implemented in 2018, remains in effect.
Google’s newfound receptiveness towards Web3 technologies is evident through various initiatives, such as listing ArDrive Mobile, a decentralized data storage app, and Axie Infinity: Origins on the Play Store. Additionally, Google Cloud launched a program in April 2023 to aid Web3 developers.
The initial tests of the new experiences might be unveiled in late summer, with full policy implementation expected later in the year.
About the author
Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.