Smartphones are getting popular day by day, and everybody seems to have a smartphone irrespective of whether they need one or not. Anyhow, Apple’s iPhone covers a major chunk of the smartphone market and an iOS device is what an average person chooses when he goes out to buy a smartphone. Apple’s App Store is one of the largest app stores considering the number and sales of apps.
Developers have always criticized the long approval times for an app to get through and there are several guidelines, some of which don’t really absurd. It’s clear that there is a lot of censorship issues that apps face in the app store. Apps are a great way to spread message, and games are the best way to get the message through to the target audience, but Apple seems to have problems with that.
Apple apparently doesn’t tolerate thought provoking gaming applications, such as the ones that touch real-world issues like the war in Syria, the tragedies over rare-earth minerals in Africa, the maltreatment of overseas workers in China. Any developer planning to develop a game that touches real world issues isn’t welcome in the app store, and that’s shocking.
What’s even more shocking is the way Apple has written this in its guidelines, because it is written in a very conversational way with no legal law jargon whatsoever. Below is the guidelines:
We view apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store.
Apple sees only money and entertainment in gaming apps. Of course, games are one of the category that makes huge amount of money due to the fun factor involved. It is worth noting that Apple isn’t the only company that treats apps differently than books or music for that matter, but then the developers are partly responsible for this because most developers think that gaming apps cannot spread message, whereas they can and also very efficiently.
“I feel that the form of media should be irrelevant, and it’s the content that counts. Games, films, apps, comics, music, and books should all be held to the same standard. To suggest that there is an invisible line that says it’s OK to say something in a book but not in a game? That feels wrong to me,” Endgame: Syria lead designer Tomas Rawlings disagrees.
Apple’s guidelines basically says:
We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it.” And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.
According to Apple, books are a better medium when it comes to criticizing something. One reason for Apple’s censorship may be due to the fact that people tend to associate products from App store with Apple. What are your thoughts?