Apple has removed a strategy game from the App Store for featuring the Taliban. This isn’t the first time Apple has taken such actions against a game for having “people from a specific government or other real entity as the enemies.”
Kotaku reports that this practice has affected multiple games over the history of the App Store and seems to specifically harm games that are telling historical stories. Apparently, even something as small as featuring flags from a real countries or movements has seen games taken down in the past.
Strategy game, Afghanistan ’11 is the newest game to be removed due to featuring the Taliban in its depiction of the U.S. Army operations that took place in Afghanistan during 2011.
The game is a PC port made by Slitherine and after its removal from the app store, Slitherine development director Iain McNeil posted on Twitter condemned the action saying “…and people wonder why we don’t do iOS anymore”.
Apple have just pulled Afghanistan ’11 from the app store because its got “people from a specific government or other real entity as the enemies”. You mean like every realistic game ever…. and people wonder why we don’t do iOS anymore. https://t.co/LQjUPUkWWr pic.twitter.com/m4YRNQXyoL
— Iain McNeil (@Iain_Slitherine) December 5, 2018
The sweeping rule affects all forms of even slightly realistic war games that want to be historically accurate in any way. Considering how huge things like war-based shooters and strategy games are, it seems like an odd hill for Apple to die on.
It’s especially unusual when other more realistic violent games like PUBG can thrive on the mobile platform. In a single week, the popular battle royale recently managed to make around $12 million dollars through its mobile offerings.
This isn’t the only recent event where Apple censorship has seen apps removed from their store. Recently Tumblr has chosen to ban all adult content as of December 17 after being removed from the iOS App Store.