WinZO has filed a lawsuit against Google for updating its Playstore Policy that only permits daily fantasy sports and rummy games to list and operate on its app store
With this lawsuit, WinZO essentially seeks to restrain tech colossal Google from implementing the policy as it will impact the gaming startup’s reputation in the market
Earlier this month, Google notified an update in its Playstore Policy allowing DFS and rummy games to list on the app under a year-long pilot project starting on 28th September 2022
Online gaming platform WinZO has filed a lawsuit in Delhi High Court against Google for updating its Playstore Policy that permits only daily fantasy sports (DFS) and rummy games to list and operate on its app store as a part of its year-long pilot.
With this lawsuit, WinZO essentially seeks to restrain tech colossal Google from implementing the policy as it will impact the gaming startup’s reputation in the market.
The issue came to light earlier this month when Google notified an update in its Playstore Policy allowing DFS and rummy games to list on the app store under a year-long pilot project starting from 28th September 2022.
“Google Play has a duty to act in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner. There does not seem to be a reason for selecting only DFS and Rummy. There is no engagement with the industry to find out the dynamics. There is no evaluation of the impact that is likely to result from such a clearly discriminatory and arbitrary classification,” said Saumya Singh Rathore, cofounder of WinZO Games.
Set up in 2018, WinZO is an online skill-based gaming startup that associates with third-party developers to host games on its mobile-based application. It presently offers 100+ games such as carrom, Sniper 3D, Bubble Shooter, and Knife Up, among others.
WinZO said that Google must change the latest policy and allow all skill-based games to list on Playstore. It believes that the updated Google policy can cause distortions in the Indian gaming industry by giving selected gaming companies (DFS and Rummy games) access to 2.5 Bn active users across 190 countries.
Rathore further said that Google’s updated policy will reduce the marketing cost to 1/4th for gaming companies that already have a monopoly in the industry. It will also build a false perception that DFS and rummy games are only legitimatised across all gaming categories such as Carrom, Chess and Quiz, among others.
WinZO said that the policy is not only anti-competitive but also causes imminent destruction to gaming innovation.
Criticising Google’s year-long pilot project that is inclusive of its updated policy, Rathore said that Google’s pilot project is detrimental to thousands of gaming companies. “The pilot can result to irreversible market distortion of a fast moving gaming tech industry, leading to death of many players as the strong gets stronger,” she added.
It is interesting to note that other app stores in India including Apple Store, Vivo, Oppo and MI Store have presently permitted skill-based games to list and operate on their respective app stores. However, Google does not permit skill-based games with pay-to-play format to list and operate on its app store.
According to WinZO, Google Playstore is one of the largest app distribution platforms in India, capturing 97% market share in the country.
This is not the first time when WinZO has dragged any company to court. In June, the gaming startup took another gaming unicorn Mobile Premier League to the Delhi High Court for allegedly imitating the gaming format of its renowned game ‘World War’.
Prior to that, Winzo acquired a majority stake in gaming startup Upskillz Games for an undisclosed amount. Meanwhile, in 2021, it also launched a $20 fund dedicated to homegrown gaming developers in the country.