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Online gaming platform WinZo has filed a lawsuit against tech giant Google for restricting its recently launched pilot program to enable real money gaming apps on the Play Store to Rummy and Daily fantasy sports (DFS) categories, sources said. The company called this policy an unfair business practice.
The popular social gaming platform has challenged Play Store’s recent policy in the Delhi High Court for selectively including only DFS and Rummy in the Google Play Store. The gaming platform called the policy arbitrary, unfair and restrictive as it leaves out a large segment of gaming platforms and independent developers.
Starting September 28, Google Play will launch a year-long pilot project to allow distribution of DFS and Rummy apps by India-incorporated developers for Indian users. The tech giant defined DFS as games in which contestants use their knowledge of athletic events and athletes. This defined Rummy as a set of card games in which the player must strategize, memorize the fall of cards and arrange valid card sets and/or sequences.
Although Google declined to comment on the lawsuit at this time, a person familiar with the matter confirmed that the company has received a legal notice. “This is the initial phase of the pilot project and the decision to include these two categories was made due to user safety concerns for fantasy gaming apps,” a Google executive said on condition of anonymity.
WinZo has its rummy and DFS game apps, but it also offers other real money games such as Carrom, Ludo, Bingo and Pool. The platform said the policy is discriminatory and may harm the growth of apps from other categories.
“As a market leader, Google Play has an obligation to act in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner. There is no collaboration with industry to determine dynamics. There is no assessment of the impact that is likely to result from such discriminatory and arbitrary classification,” said Saumya Singh Rathore, co-founder of WinZO Games.
Rathore said the pilot program can lead to a monopoly of apps from selected categories by reducing their marketing costs to one-fourth of current expenses.
She added: “In the rapidly evolving sunrise sector of gaming, a level playing field is key to innovation and success. The year-long pilot is harming thousands of companies and could lead to irreversible market disruption of the fast-growing gaming technology industry, leading to the death of many players as the strong grow stronger.”
During the launch of the pilot program, Google hinted that the Play Store may allow the inclusion of apps from other categories of real money games in the future. “Learning from the pilot program will help us explore possible updates to our policies for real money games, contests and tournaments,” the company said.
“We’re always looking for ways to help local developers build successful businesses and deliver great experiences on Google Play. Through this pilot program, we are taking a measured approach to help us gather insights and maintain a pleasant and safe experience for our users,” a Google spokesperson said during the launch of the pilot program.