Credit: Google Play

Google Play Store Opens Its Doors to NFTs in a Major Policy Shift

BY Greg Larson

July 12, 2023

Google has announced an update to its Play Store policies, now allowing apps and games that incorporate NFTs onto its platform. This move marks a continued shift in the company’s attitude towards blockchain-based technology.

Under the new rules, games that use tokenized assets will need to clearly state their use of blockchain elements. In an effort to foster responsible use, Google will prevent developers from glamorizing potential earnings derived from NFTs. The policy also extends to banning any “loot box” mechanisms in line with their anti-gambling stance.

Reddit, which recently found major success with its Avatar NFTs, partnered with Google to shape the policy. “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,” said Matt Williamson, Senior Engineering Manager at Reddit, in a press release.

The policy change follows a history of Google taking a hard stance against blockchain-based apps. In 2018, Google banned crypto mining apps, which remain prohibited. More recently, Google kicked the blockchain-based game “Bitcoin Blast” off the Play Store in 2021.

However, the company signaled a new direction by allowing ArDrive Mobile, a decentralized data storage app, on its platform in 2022 and listing the blockchain game Axie Infinity: Origins in select markets.

Google Cloud also announced an initiative in April 2023 to help Web3 developers expedite their startups built on Polygon Protocols.

In comparison, Apple’s App Store allows NFTs but continues to restrict the use of NFTs to unlock content, and alternative payment methods like cryptocurrency, affirming its stance in late 2022.

Google’s move towards embracing NFTs may herald a new era of blockchain integration in mainstream tech, but the broader industry’s reaction remains to be seen.

Editor’s note: This article was written by an nft now staff member in collaboration with OpenAI’s GPT-4.

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