Google Play Store Now Requires Target Audience for Child Safety

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As per a recent Android Developers blog, Google is taking steps to improve their Google Play mobile store and “reduce the chance that apps not intended for children could unintentionally attract them” on Android mobile devices.

New changes and policy updates will be rolled out in the coming months, beginning with requiring every developer to declare the intended target audience for each game on the Google Play store.

If children are the target audience, then developers will need to answer a series of follow-up questions, while Google also reviews the app themselves. The new policy will divide every app into three groups: Children as the target audience, a mix of children and older users, and older users only. Apps in the first two categories will be subject to Google’s Family Policy Requirements, which include restrictions on ads, data collection, augmented reality, and privacy policies, as well as obvious content restrictions such as violence and drug use.

Developers have until September 1 to fill out the new target audience section and comply with these new policies. Google has increased staffing and improved communications for app reviews and appeals to help expedite these sweeping changes.

Compared to the more heavily curated App Store on iOS, Google Play is much more of a Wild West of content, with many apps erroneously (or maliciously) targeting targeting young people with inappropriate content or advertising. These new policies are a step in the right direction.

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Pokémon Home, Pokémon Sleep Coming 2020; Pokémon Direct Next Week

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At a recent press conference in Japan, The Pokémon Company announced several new projects, games, and apps. The big upcoming Pokéman game: Pokémon Sword and Shield, will be detailed in an upcoming Nintendo Direct next week on June 5.

Pokémon HOME is the next evolution of Pokémon Bank. It’s a cloud-based app where trainers can manage their collection of Pokémon throughout the modern generation of games, including Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee, Pokémon GO, and Pokémon Sword and Shield. It’s also compatible with Pokémon Bank, allowing you to transfer Pokémon from previous generations. Pokémon can also be traded with anyone around the world through Pokémon HOME with a mobile device. HOME is launching in early 2020 on iOS, Android, and Switch.

Pokémon Sleep is the less mobile cousin of Pokémon GO. It’s a mobile app that tracks your sleeping via the embedded accelerometer from the new Pokémon GO Plus + device. The new device has the same functionality as the original, allowing you to use it to play Pokémon GO as well. Details on how all this works are scarce but the company promises “a gameplay experience unlike any other.” Pokémon Sleep will launch for mobile devices in 2020.

Pokémon Masters is a proper mobile spin-off game. It features 3v3 Pokémon battles with the biggest trainers from Pokémon history. It’s built specifically for mobile casual mobile gameplay, and is launching later this year.

A new Detective Pikachu game was also announced. This one will be a sequel to the events of the first game, which released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2016. The new Detective Pikachu is being developed for the Switch. A release date has yet not been announced.

For those hoping for any information on the next big Pokémon games, you’ll have to wait until next week. A special Pokémon Direct will stream on June 5 at 6 am Pacific/9 am Eastern, and focus solely on Pokémon Sword and Shield. We expect to get an official release date, most likely in November.