Free Software Projects Are Not Allowed To Ask For Donations On The Google Play App Store

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Free software developer Aurélien Gâteau reports that his free software 2D racing game Pixel Wheels got flagged on the Google Play app-store for the horrible crime of asking for donations. Pixel Wheels is also available for GNU/Linux, Windows, macoS (but not ARM based Macs).

written by 윤채경 (Yoon Chae-kyung)  2021-04-13 - last edited 2021-04-15. © CC BY

Pixel Wheels 0.19.1 alpha on Linux.

The french software developer Aurélien Gâteau reports that the Google Play store for Android put his free 2D car racing game Pixel Wheels on review when he changed the games banner image shown on Google Play. The review resulted in a notification telling him that his game was now:

"not compliant with Google Play Policies"

The games banner encourages those who download the game to make a small donation. That was the sole reason why the game was suddenly found to be "non compliant" with the "Google Play Policies". The updated banner mentioning donations was the only thing he had changed when the game stopped being "compliant" with "Google Play Policies". The Pixel Wheels Android version on the Google Play has been there, with no issues, since February 24th, 2021.

The Pixel Wheels Android version is also available as in the free software F-Droid app-store. There are, additionally, versions available for GNU/Linux, Windows and macOS (Intel only, ARM-based macOS is not supported). "Stable" binary versions for those platforms can be acquired from - though you will have to click More information to see them. Those who prefer to use daily snapshots of the latest git master tree can acquire "alpha" builds from

Pixel Wheels 0.19.1 alpha on Linux.

Pixel Wheels is fully free software under a mix of licenses. The code for the game logic is licensed under the GNU GPL v3, the remaining code is licensed under the apache 2.0 License and the game assets is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Pixel Wheels is not the only piece of free software Aurélien Gâteau has created. He is also the author of the Android-only game Burger Party (source code), the Amiga game Plouf! (source code) and several applications such as Nanonote (really simple note taking application), Lovi (a log viewer) and MUP (a markup previewer).

It is a shame that free software developers like Aurélien Gâteau are not allowed to ask for a simple hand-out from those who download software for free at the Google Play Store when they do allow developers to make their software non-free and charge money for it. There is, luckily, an alternative Android users can used called F-Droid. Everything it has available in its catalog is entirely free software and it has the exact opposite policy: Developers are allowed to ask for donations, and many do, but they are not allowed to charge money for the software they make available in the F-Droid app-store. We know which one of the two we prefer.

(3 votes)



8 months ago
Score 1++
I also had this problem when I published my first Android game on the Play Store (2018) :/
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