Vernacular social gaming platform, WinZO has filed a case against Google in the Delhi High Court, arguing that Google’s new pilot unfairly favours Daily Fantasy Sports and Rummy and wrongfully interferes with WinZO’s business causing business and commercial injury. 

WinZO has asked for restraint against Google from implementing its new pilot and a ruling that Google must allow all apps offering games of skill on its Playstore and not just a select few.

WinZO believes that Google’s policy can lead to distortions in the competitive Indian gaming ecosystem. “This pilot will result in benefiting only a handful of players who are already in monopoly for over a decade. The update is not only seen as anti-competitive but also as a death-knell to innovation,” the gaming company said.

The gaming company added that this policy raises doubt around Google’s stated position as an intermediary, who are obliged to law to maintain platform neutrality.

Until recently, Google did not allow any game with a pay to play format on the Google Play Store in India. However, on September 7, Google launched a pilot to allow distribution of selected Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and Rummy game apps on the Playstore from September 28, 2022 to September 28, 2023.

Many players who are not included in this ‘pilot’ have said that this selective inclusion would be seen as almost a legitimisation of only a select format over constitutionally protected and recognised games of skill such as Chess, Carrom, and Cricket, among  others.

Commenting on the new pilot, Saumya Singh Rathore, Co-founder, WinZO Games said, “Google Play, as a market leader, has a duty to act in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner. This policy will not only reduce the marketing cost for players in monopoly to 1/4 th of their earlier spends but also create a false perception of legitimation of DFS & Rummy over all other games such as Carrom, Chess, Quiz, etc.”

She added that this year-long pilot is detrimental to thousands of gaming companies and can lead to irreversible market distortion of a fast moving gaming tech industry, leading to death of many players as the strong gets stronger.

Responding to industry’s comments of new pilot being discriminatory to other skill based games, a Google spokesperson has earlier said, ”We are constantly exploring ways for local developers to build successful businesses and offer delightful experiences on Google Play. Through this pilot program, we are taking a measured approach that will help us collate learnings and retain an enjoyable and safe experience for our users.”

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