“Gaming revenue on Apple’s app store in the fourth quarter of 2014 was twice that of the entire market of dedicated handheld consoles (which is dominated by Nintendo’s 3DS console). Two-thirds of the top hundred grossing apps on the app store, and nine of the top 10, are games. Apple has opened up gaming to a whole new audience, and is in charge of the biggest video-game platform the world has ever seen,” Alex Hern writes for The Guardian. “So why is it so embarrassed by games?”
“The company’s sneering attitude to the field it dominates was expressed again on Thursday, when it removed a group of war games from the App Store for what it described as ‘offensive or mean-spirited’ use of the Confederate flag,” Hern writes. “The games, which are largely dry military re-enactments, use the Confederate flag to represent the southern armies, and the Stars and Stripes to represent the northern.”
“Regardless of whether Apple, which did not respond to a request for comment for this article, was oversensitive or not, what stands out is how games, uniquely, were censored,” Hern writes. “The company still sells all seven seasons of Dukes of Hazzard, with its confederate flag-decked General Lee. It also sells the albums Give Out But Don’t Give Up by Primal Scream and Legend by Lynyrd Skynyrd, both of which prominently display the flag as part of their cover art. If the flag should go, it should surely go everywhere.”
Many more points are made in the full article – recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s reaction here makes the company look weak and highly susceptible to the whims and vagaries of whatever the outrage of the week happens to be.
Apple might want to consider the impossibility of consistently policing whatever they think they’re supposed to be policing this week (see the games featuring Nazi swastikas available in the App Store as we type this) as well as their willingness to be manipulated by “issues” that simply weren’t issues for years. If these games with Confederate flags were so offensive and did not conform to Apple’s guidelines, why did Apple approve them in the first place and sell them in the App Store for years?
Again, it’s Apple’s perrogative to do what they want with their store, but we’d like to see some consistency, fewer knee-jerk reactions, and more backbone. Backbone like this:
We wanted our game to be the most accurate, historical, playable reference of the Battle of Gettysburg. All historical commanders, unit composition and weaponry, key geographical locations to the smallest streams or farms are recreated in our game’s battlefield. We receive a lot of letters of gratitude from American teachers who use our game in history curriculum to let kids experience one of the most important battles in American history from the Commander’s perspective…
We believe that all historical art forms: books, movies, or games such as ours, help to learn and understand history, depicting events as they were. True stories are more important to us than money.
Therefore we are not going to amend the game’s content and “Ultimate General: Gettysburg” will no longer be available on AppStore. We really hope that Apple’s decision will achieve the desired results. We can’t change history, but we can change the future. — Maxim Zasov of Game Labs, the developers of Ultimate General: Gettysburg
Ultimate General: Gettysburg has since been returned to the Apple App Store in a correction to Apple’s initial inconsistent overreaction.
Apple backpedals on Conderate flag censorship – June 27, 2015
Apple purges Confederate flag, but Nazi swastika remains in App Store – June 26, 2015
Tim Cook has let his personal politics affect Apple; Board may have to rein him in – June 25, 2015
Apple removes all American Civil War games from the App Store because of the Confederate flag? – June 25, 2015