Online Crane Games

A crane game (also known as a claw machine game), usually found in arcades, features a mechanical claw that a player maneuvers to capture a prize. In an online crane game, the player maneuvers the claw from an app (the app facilitates remote/online control over gameplay taking place in an actual claw machine game located in an offline gaming arcade). Google Play is conducting a pilot to enable online crane games in a way that ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for users.

This article provides an overview of a limited-time pilot to enable the distribution of Online Crane Game apps on Google Play in Japan. In order to participate in the pilot, Online Crane Game apps must be certified by a Play Industry Partner which is an industry organization recognized by Google to perform core roles to ensure consumer safety as explained below. This article also describes how to apply for industry partner status for the pilot program and how we recognize industry partners.

For developers

From July 11, 2022 through July 11, 2023, Google Play will begin a limited-time application-only pilot to allow Online Crane Game apps to be distributed on Google Play in Japan. To participate in the pilot, interested developers must carry certification from an industry organization designated by Google as a Play Industry Partner. 

How to participate

In order to participate in this pilot program, developers will need to:

  1. Obtain and provide proof of certification from a Google Play Industry Partner.
  2. Complete and submit the Google Play Pilot Program for Online Crane Game apps form . 
  3. Accept the "Pilot Terms and Conditions" noted in the application form.
  4. Maintain a Play Developer Account in good standing.

Google will review application forms and will notify eligible applicants of the result within five business days of form submission.

Google will periodically review the performance of the ongoing pilot program including: 

  • Compliance with the pilot terms and conditions by participating apps
  • Effectiveness of Google Play Industry Partner’s governance and supervision of participating developers
  • User experiences and feedback on apps participating in the pilot

Existing Online Crane Game apps

To ensure that Online Crane Game apps currently on Google Play have enough time to consider applications to this pilot program and work with an industry partner recognized by Google to receive certification, we will provide three months of additional grace period for the enforcement of the Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy until the official start date of the pilot program on July 11, 2022. 

For Play Industry Partners

We recognize online crane game industry organizations operating in Japan as Play Industry Partners if such industry organizations have established robust organizational governance structure and user safety measures and demonstrated their capability to operate accordingly in the application process.

We consider a variety of factors to determine whether or not to recognize an industry organization as an industry partner, such as:

  • The industry organization’s governance and internal control
  • The industry organization’s certification policies and processes including guidelines for developer participation
  • The industry organization’s enforcement of those guidelines, including regular audits to ensure developer members are compliant
  • The industry organization’s reputation with local consumer protection authorities, regulators, and legal authorities

We currently recognize the following industry organizations as Google Play Industry Partners:

Industry Organization Game Type Country
Japan Online Crane Game Industrialist Association (JOCA) Online Crane Games Japan

Apply for industry partner status

If you are an authorized industry association representative interested in applying for recognition as a Play Industry Partner for the Online Crane Games pilot program, please contact us via email. 

Revocation of Play Industry Partner status

The pilot program is designed based upon the expectation that Play Industry Partners will perform their role in creating and administering user safety guidelines effectively, as presented to Google in the application process. If a Play Industry Partner fails to perform their role consistent with this expectation, including in ways that may create an actual or potential user safety risk, Google may request that the Play Industry Partner take corrective action to address the concern. If necessary, Google may revoke Play Industry Partner status upon reasonable notice. In case of revocation of a Play Industry Partner's status, Google will work with participating developers on an appropriate transition plan.

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