The tech giant follows Apple’s suit. A review process for new apps has been impleneted on Google Play. It’s off to a sloppy start, however.

Dan Fabulich, Choice of Games co-founder and producer commented on the issue in a blog post. According to him, a warning popped up on Google Play when he tried to publish the interactive novel Psy High 2: High Summer on Google Play. It said “To help better protect our users, we’ll take more time to thoroughly review your app.”

After that, Choice of Games staff contacted Google support. The latter confirmed the changes concerning the approval process.

Here are the main conclusions that Fabulich made following the conversation:

  • All new apps have to undergo review upon submission.

Google says review should take less than three days, but still recommends to plan for this time before the game can be released. The new rules came into force a few weeks ago.

  • There is no way to schedule a release for a specific date.

The submitted app appears on the store right at the time of approval. This can happen at any time during the entire review period – several hours after the submission, one day, two.

This means that there is no way for developers to know beforehand when their game will be released. Even if a game has passed closed alpha testing on Google Play, it will still have to go through the review process that might take three days. Or not. For now, it makes sense to launch advertising campaigns after the actual release.

  • Google does not inform developers about new rules in advance .

Even now it is impossible to find any specific information about this. Plus, there is no way to speed up the review process.

Jacob Lehrbaum, director of Android Developer Relations, responded to the post. He admitted that some of Fabulich’s conclusions are valid. However, he said that reviews are very quick, and it’s still possible to plan a release of a new game  for a specific date (no such problem exists for the updates). To do this:

  • create a release in the closed alpha track and click “start rollout to alpha” after saving and reviewing the release;
  • wait for alpha release to be approved (this step can’t be timed, but that’s ok because it’s also not publicly available when in closed alpha state);
  • once the alpha is live, click on “store presence” in the sidebar and then “store listing”;
  • scroll to the bottom and toggle on “timed publishing”;
  • go back to “app releases” and create a production release by clicking “save”, “review”, and “start rollout to production”;
  • wait for the production release to be approved;
  • once the update is approved, click on “go live.”

That, of course, sounds a little bit overwhelming, but it’s just the new reality of Google Play.