Apple Disapproves Sweatshop Game That, Perhaps, Hits A Little Too Close To Home

from the lame dept

Apple considering its iOS app store a way to nanny their customers is nothing new. We’ve already seen examples such as when they took down a dictionary that included profanity, a scan of the Kama Sutra, and an educational game revolving around the war in Syria. That last example is particularly relevant, as Apple has once again chosen to take down a game that sought to educate the public on how pressure-filled and awful work conditions are in sweatshops abroad.

Anyone with any level of understanding that’s had the opportunity to play Sweatshop HD knows the defense-style game isn’t about glorifying the practice of hiring underage workers to toil away in unsafe conditions to create designer clothes for wealthy foreigners. Instead it’s an exploration of the pressure put on people in all aspects of the sweatshop business model. It’s about raising awareness, and communicating the sick feeling one gets when seemingly the only way to win is to subject workers to dangerous conditions.

And now that educational avenue has been blocked. According to the report, Apple finds something about a game based on sweatshops to be unfit for their customers’ iDevices, which is an interesting stance for a company that has been accused of making those same devices in sweatshops themselves. Sweatshops: good enough to build your electronics, but not a fit subject for a game to play on them? Developer Littleloud even attempted to add a disclaimer to the game to clarify that you weren’t supposed to think running a sweatshop was fun, but that didn’t satisfy Apple.

As a result, people are beginning to see Apple devices as attractive only for a pigeon-holed selection of potential customers.

Given the size of its market, it’s quite unfortunate that Apple has decided to take this sort of hardline stance on game approvals. The platform’s reach could prove invaluable in advancing awareness and understanding of serious topics, but with each banned game, Apple’s position becomes clearer — iOS is not a place for serious games, and other developers are beginning to get the message.

Serving as an example of these other developers is Introversion Software, who released their game, Prison Architect, on Steam, but has since said they won’t release an iPad version. Cutting off both potential customers and developers in favor of some obtuse nanny principal may end up coming back and biting Apple in the backside.

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Comments on “Apple Disapproves Sweatshop Game That, Perhaps, Hits A Little Too Close To Home”

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gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Me Too !
I personally will never ever Support their Walled-In Garden nor their Proprietary Locked down Systems.
Computer Geeks might be able to State the usual but Apples are better because they Control the Hardware & Software so there is less Bugs, Etc.
But those same folks lose hands down when it comes to the other.Who the hell wants to Support a Walled-In Nanny Garden !

AzureSky (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

people who want to be “different” by being the same as all their peers.

im a geek, I hate dealing with apple, I can build a far better system for the same or less money then a mac, I can get a far better media player for the same price or less the an ipod, and i can get a far better phone with android or the like for the same money or less then an iphone….

My father talked my mother into getting a ip4s, i hate that stupid thing, shes constantly asking for help with it, shes got to install itunes on all her systems to be able to get pictures and videos she makes off the stupid thing….UGGG!!!!

I much prefer my cowon c2, or samsung DAP/PMP(mp3 players), they both “just work” no need for 3rd party crapware, support for better more common audio formats(flac and ogg).

Adam R (user link) says:

Not the first time

Not the first time Apple has done this. Phone Story ( was also banned from the iOS app store. Available on android, but banned on iOS

15.2 Apps that depict violence or abuse of children will be rejected

16.1 Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected

21.1 Apps that include the ability to make donations to recognized charitable organizations must be free

21.2 The collection of donations must be done via a web site in Safari or an SMS

We contest the violation 21.1 and 21.2 since it’s not possible to make donations through Phone Story. Molleindustria simply pledged to redirect the revenues to no-profit organizations, acting independently.

The 901 users who managed to buy the app before it went offline are now owners of a rare collector edition piece.

jackn says:

Re: Big Brother

I think it is your monitor size. I hear that search result on a mac with 15″ monitor has a problem with search results, they keep going to samsung (because samsung made that product (private label) for apple.

What search engine are you using, that could be the problem too, but I think it is your hardware.

Long Justin says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Big Brother

I do not have PEBKAC installed.

My Raven was equipped with the following:

06 x Cruise Missile Launcher I





Anonymous Coward says:

it cant bite Apple soon, enough or bad enough! seeing as how they use ‘sweatshop’ labour to forward their aims and increase profits, i’m not surprised the game was pulled. even when called out about their use of under age workers and excessive hours, they promise everything but deliver nothing. lying hypocrites that cant bear to have the truth put in front of them!

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well the game is meant to be humorous. There is only so much protest in humor you can do before it backfires. After about 10 or 15 minutes of game play, it just starts making the issue of child labor not as real by making you laugh at it. It makes the sweatshop owners look smart rather than doing what Mel Brooks had done with Blazing Saddles by implying that those with extremely bigoted views tend to have the lowest of IQ’s. Blazing Saddles portrayed racists as, dumb, ignorant, uneducated hicks….the Sweatshop game only makes a point by making you laugh at the entire issue.

Apple pulled that app likely out of the fact that it could desensitize people from a very real issue. The app implied (and the flash version here: is exactly the same as the iOS version) that sweatshop owners were smart, in charge, and sarcastically mean individuals. It made me laugh with them and not at their stupidity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Apple is not responsible for how their manufacturers operated. They investigated these matters with Foxxcon and paid the fine to China. Samsung has had child labor issues in their own Samsung owned manufacturing facilities in Taiwan and South Korea and nobody bats an eye at that?

The app promoted child labor, which, unlike Samsung, Apple has corrected its ways in the matter.

So yeah, I guess it is sort of ethical to make a joke out of child labor in an app meant for “education”. /S

Here are the two reasons Apple may have pulled that app… swears at the user with the game’s manager saying saying if you do not do your job right….”I will fire your sorry ass”. That is against app policy for educational games.

And also this same game also asks you to “hire well endowed ones”

I am pretty sure that is fairly sexist and honestly some people might get offended at that. You have to understand Tim that while the game educated through humor, some people might take child labor as a joke and shrug off the real issue. We can always blame a scapegoat for things hitting way too close to home, but it also stands that Apple, while working to nor promote child labor in its efforts, would not like to represent an app in their store that makes people laugh at it. Normally I would approve the humor, but that type of humor is only meant to make fun of the stupidity of the matter and only works when appropriately applied to the subject at hand. I see no humor in such a way in this game.

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Games and art

So the issue here comes down to the fact that Apple do not think games should be art. They do not want games to say anything, they want games to be time wasting fluff that will never cause their consumers to have to worry.

They didn’t take this game down because they are afraid it makes them look bad, they took it down because they are afraid it makes the world look bad.

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