Google has announced significant changes to its approach to real-money gaming apps on the Play Store in India, Mexico, and Brazil, effective from June this year. The tech giant will broaden the categories of real-money gaming apps permitted on its platform while simultaneously introducing a service fee. This shift occurs amid challenges faced by the real-money gaming sector, such as the recently implemented 28 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) and potential retrospective taxation claims by authorities.
The move to levy a service fee on real-money gaming apps is part of Google’s strategy to evolve its service fee model. According to the company, this adjustment aims to “reflect the value Google Play provides and to help sustain the Android and Play ecosystems.” Reported Money Control Google is actively collaborating with developers to align this new approach with the diverse economics and earning models prevalent in the industry. More details about the new policy and expansion plans will be shared in the coming months.
As of now, Google imposes a 15-30 per cent service fee on in-app purchases and app sales. An alternative billing system, known as “user choice billing,” offers a 4 per cent rate reduction on the service fee. Consequently, developers will be subject to a service fee ranging from 11-26 per cent for in-app purchases and subscriptions, depending on the app or service type.
Moreover, Google places responsibility on developers to ensure their apps comply with local laws and adhere to the updated policy. In September, Google announced its intention to permit all types of real-money games on the Play Store, subject to approval from self-regulatory bodies (SRO) under the new regulatory framework. As the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has yet to notify SROs for the sector, Google has extended the grace period for daily fantasy and real-money gaming apps involved in the company’s gaming pilot until June 30, 2024, aligning with the commencement of the new policy. Google envisions expanding this policy to users in additional countries in the future.