Google is cracking down on loot boxes and sexual content in Android apps.
Games must now “clearly disclose the odds” a loot box will contain a desired virtual item, according to revisions made to the Google Play Store’s policies. So if the odds are indeed 0.1 percent, buyers will actually know, and probably rethink their purchase.
On sexual content, Google added more examples of what it will allow. The old policy only named “sexually explicitly content, such as pornography” as a problem. But now the company is specifically calling out nudity as a violation.
“Depictions of nudity in which the subject is nude or minimally clothed, and where the clothing would not be acceptable in an appropriate public context” is no longer allowed. Animations and illustrations of sex acts or sexually suggestive poses will also trigger a takedown.
One line in the policy simply states that “content that is lewd or profane” constitutes a violation. However, app developers can include nudity when it’s meant for “educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic” purposes, and is not gratuitous.
On the hate speech front, Google’s policy remains the same. But the company has included examples of the common violations it sees. This includes apps that compile “assertions” intended to prove a group is “inhuman, inferior, or worthy of being hated.” Apps that contain “theories” about a group possessing negative characteristics are also not allowed.
The changes, first noted by Android Police, arrive as US Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) has introduced legislation to ban loot boxes in video games directed at children over claims they can promote addiction. “This is a step in the right direction, but Google should force video game companies to keep slot machines out of the hands of children altogether,” Hawley tweeted in response to the news.
In December 2017, Apple instituted the same rule for loot boxes, and began forcing developers on the company’s App Store to disclose the odds on loot box drop rates. However, some gamers have complained developers can still skirt the rules.