SweatShop HD for iOS Gets Tossed Out of Apple’s Walled Garden

Posted on Mar 25 2013 - 12:52pm by Deidre Richardson

Sweatshop HD factory

[Photo Credit: Time]

Apple has great control over its devices and apps in its App Store. An app that is illegal or in violation of Apple’s rules may show up roaming free every now and then, but the app often gets removed when discovered. Whatever few minutes (or months) of fame the violating app enjoys, such apps always end up getting “the boot.” The most recent victim of Apple’s strict rules would have to be the game “Sweatshop HD.” A game developed by Littlecloud, the game is all about you being in control of a factory that can be operated as some bosses would a sweatshop. The game “slithered” into Apple’s walled garden back in November 2012 and has been in the App Store for a few months now.

According to Littlecloud’s remarks about Sweatshop HD, the game is “a sympathetic examination of the pressures that all participants in the sweatshop system endure” (Kelly Hodgkins, “Apple Pulls Sweatshop Game from App Store”). While the game may have been a tribute to those who endure pain and suffering in intense labor in sweatshops, sweatshops in general are an offensive and often touchy subject these days. Both Apple and Samsung have been under fire within the last year for harsh conditions within their sweatshops. Apple has been under the gun for allowing its workers to work 16-hour days, but some conditions have improved in Apple worker factories. Still, Apple has a road ahead before its factories provide optimal conditions for its workers. Samsung is in the same boat.

Let’s ask ourselves: was the game really about the harsh conditions of a workshop? Littlecloud says that the game didn’t force the player to run the ¬†sweatshop; at the same time, however, how can the game be one of observing the hardships of sweatshops if you’re the person in charge? Should you not be one of the workers? When a contributing writer decided some months ago to go undercover as a worker in one of Apple’s production factories, he reported the hardships and verbal abuse that workers experience. His story was compelling because he was a worker in the factory, not a manager or person in charge. Those who are in charge do not experience the hardships and would not know about them firsthand.

If Littlecloud had created the game whereby the user would be a person working in the sweatshop, taking orders, then the game would make sense with the reason behind its creation. Unfortunately, Littlecloud placed the user in the wrong position (one of authority), making the game more about having power and inflicting it on the unfortunate and powerless instead of experiencing the afflictions of sweatshop workers.

Unlike some writers, I will not refer you to a link where you can download the game; I think the game should remain as part of the ashes, never to rise again.

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  • Vellach Samie

    Dear Deidre,
    You have a point that if you are a manager running the sweatshop you cannot fully understand the pain of the sweatshop workers.
    But I think you miss the point of the incident. It is that Apple has removed an app that offends it.
    The app brings attention to sweatshops and the irony that Apple also runs one.
    Most users will just play and not think too much.
    But those thinking person will easily understand the link.
    And most thinking person will not normally play such games.
    So, why Apple removed it?
    The sweatshops are not even owned by Apple anyway. It is a sub-contractor who manufactures for Apple.
    Why blame apple? It is because, Apple makes tons of money and pays so little to the sub-contractor.
    The sub-contractor is another Democratic Socialist pig who abuses workers by paying very little.
    There is no Capitalism which protects the value of workers, while all pretend to be capitalist who protect the value of iPhones. Go figure.