It's Back; Google Play re-adds Paytm First Games

Paytm First Games, a leading gaming branch under Paytm got recently banned from the Google Play Store around three weeks back. Now, it has marked its comeback in the Google Play Store.

On 18th September 2020, the Paytm app and Paytm First games got banned from the Google Play Store, considered to be violating the guidelines of Google on fantasy and gambling applications that involve real-money transactions in the gameplay.

Also, with the banning of the two Indian applications, Google mentioned in one of its blogs that it reiterates the guidelines on real-money based games, and that is to get in effect before the beginning of 2020’s IPL. The blog stated: “We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting. This includes if an app leads a consumer to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of our policies.

However, Paytm first Games continued promoting the fantasy cricket games, and its description stated: “Make your dream team, play fantasy cricket and win Paytm cash for free.” 

What’s More

With this, the banning action took place, and now the app is allowing the users to create one team in the platform of Paytm First Games for the ongoing IPL matches. Previously, sources also unveiled that FIFS (Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports) might be behind the actions of banning of the Paytm first Games. However, the federation commented that it was because Google favoured some applications of fantasy gaming that targeted Paytm First Games.

Further, from the last week, the founders of Indian startups heavily questioned and debated about the autonomy of Google and its action in the ecosystem of the Indian startups. 

Then, during the last week, Google published a blog about reinforcing the policies of its play store. These policies were about leveraging the billing system of the significant searches by the Android app developers, and it required the developers and game publishers to pay a commission of 30% for selling any service or product on Google and to pop up in its search engine.

Now, on Monday, Google commented that it would be “setting up listening sessions with leading Indian startups to understand their concerns. Also, it unveiled that the time to integrate the play billing system will now get extended for the developers till 31st March 2022”.

Official Statements

In a press release, the founder of Paytm, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, commented on the actions and policies of Google,

Google’s policies are arbitrary, and the deployment of those policies is even more arbitrary. Hence, the definition of these policies which govern India’s technology ecosystem continues to be ‘arbitrary’. And there is not even a court we can go to. Google is a ruler of India’s technology businesses, as 95% of customers use Google’s Play Store in India.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Additionally, on Saturday, other heads of many of the Indian startups discussed with the secretary of electronics and IT, Ajay Prakash Sawhney. They presented their concerns on the growing dominance of Google and its control over a large sector in internet firms. These founders also commented on many of the policies of Google that included the banning action over many fantasy sports from the Google Play Store, the pre-installed availability of the applications of Google on the Android devices, and the high billing system that it recently came up with.

A senior officer of the Government, anonymously commented on the meeting,

The Government is looking at the issue holistically. It is not just about what the few big startups have to say. The Government will have to see and assess what will help the startup ecosystem. While the issues pointed out by the companies could be a point of concern, the situation is not alarming.

By Tanya Mishra

A Writer 'All Ghillied Up' as a Gamer.

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