Google Play is ready to retire its "Top Developer" program, soon to replace it with a new system. This is the program that currently recognizes some well-known developers with a blue badge and "Top Developer" on their app listings, presumably giving some extra weight to their apps in hopes that it will increase downloads.
In an email sent to developer accounts, Google says that it will be replacing the program with something new that will focus on individual apps and games rather than entire developer accounts. The email reads:
The Google Play Top Developer program launched many years ago to recognize developers who created high quality Android apps and games. We conducted research, with both developers and consumers, and observed a clear value and preference for the recognition of individual apps and games, instead of entire organizations.
After taking a look at our existing app recognition programs, the Google Play editorial team has decided to focus its efforts on recognizing high quality and innovative apps and games. As a first step, we will be closing the Top Developer program and removing the badging from the Play Store within 30 days. We have exciting plans to recognize more of the great apps and games you create and will be sharing updates soon.
I'm not entirely sure how much weight the Top Developer badge ever really held, though the idea of giving some sort of official recognition to good developers isn't necessarily a bad one. We'll soon find out what Google has in store for a new program to give the best apps their time to shine.