Apple Pulls Popular Weed-Growing Game From App Store, Ignores All The Unpopular Ones

from the consistent-inconsistency dept

It should be clear by now that Apple sees most of us as the proverbial unwashed masses and is on something of a mission to immolate immoral thought patterns by trying to put everyone's head in the collective sand. That seems to be the only explanation for their app store censoring process, which has in the past removed historical context from games, the human body from consideration, comic books it deems to be immoral, and literature. All, mind you, in the name of a corporate moral code that probably wouldn't hold up under closer scrutiny.

But even if Apple wants to play the morality card, it presents the problem of consistency. Moral stances, after all, don't allow for picking and choosing due to outside factors. Yet that appears to be exactly what is occurring with the latest app store nixing of a popular game about growing marijuana, called Weed Firm.

As you might have noticed the game is no longer available on the Apple App Store. This was entirely Apple's decision, not ours. We guess the problem was that the game was just too good and got to number one in All Categories, since there are certainly a great number of weed based apps still available, as well as games promoting other so-called 'illegal activities' such as shooting people, crashing cars and throwing birds at buildings...If we let hypocrites determine what content is suitable for us we will soon all be watching teletubbies instead of Breaking Bad and playing... oh I don't know… nothing good comes to mind, without some form of 'illegal activity' or other really.
A couple of things to note. First, for those of us that are older than, say, fifteen, the rapid decriminalization of all things marijuana in this country is on a pace that can be described as no less than staggering. If you simply chart out what's gone on over the past decade and extrapolate into the next, it isn't off base to expect marijuana to go the way of tobacco and alcohol within that time. So the morality play is on shaky ground to begin with. Add to that, as Kotaku does, that the only thing consistent about Apple's app removal standards is its astounding inconsistency, and we should probably all begin asking ourselves exactly what the point of any of this is.
You can find places to buy weed on the app store. You can rate different strains of weed. You can download apps that teach you more about marijuana, or get apps that will give you various cosmetic weed changes to your phone. You can even roll fake joints. You can't, however, download a game where you grow marijuana. Other games, such as Weed Farmer and Weed Tycoon, remain active on the app store for now—but these games weren't as popular or as well-rated as Weed Firm was.
What, on the face of it, might have appeared to be a genuine, if misplaced, attempt to apply some kind of moral code suddenly dissolves into a PR response. As long as the marijuana-related games are generating money without being popular enough to draw any kind of wider attention, Apple's moral qualms go by the wayside. They either don't have the interest or the actual capacity to actively police all such offending games. Either answer renders the morality play moot to begin with: either you can enforce your strict guidelines in general or you can't. Apple, in the case of games revolving around marijuana, clearly can't. So what are we all doing here?

Well, we're suffering under Apple's delusion that we're children, of course. Children in need of a firm hand and the guidance of our parents, which apparently somehow became Apple. I suppose it isn't all that different from the old AOL walled-internet days, which I happily note went the hell away over a decade ago when the internet and its average denizen grew up. Maybe it's time now for Apple to stop it with the whole Puritan routine and start trusting their customers a bit more?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 11:53am

    This is one of the things that drive people away from Apple. Even in a device that is not rooted you can still install whatever the heck you want. And Google Play even features dozens of thousands of apps that openly state that you need a rooted device to use them.

    At least Apple is guaranteeing that their Christian, family oriented customers will remain hooked up in their Apple addiction. Can you smoke an iphone?

     

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  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    .. whatever you want in Android*****

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 12:17pm

    might need my firesuit for this comment

    Maybe the app developer should've gone with preparing LSD instead of growing weed. Taking that one down would've drawn the ire of all the Steve Jobs acolytes.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Digger, May 27th, 2014 @ 1:18pm

    Apple - the master thief of companies...

    It's time Apple's license to steal was revoked and the company stripped of all ill-gotten assets (that would be everything after the Apple II computer in case you were wondering) - nothing original has been produced since that day.

    Bye bye Apple, it wasn't nice knowing you.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 1:19pm

    I will probably get flamed for this, but

    Apple has no legal obligation to allow you to create apps like these. Don't get me wrong, I think it's incredibly stupid and is one of several reasons why I'm using an android phone. So I'll just finish off by noting that Apple will probably just ban itself into oblivion if current trends continue

     

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  6.  
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    Digger, May 27th, 2014 @ 1:20pm

    Yoiu don't need to smoke your iPhone..

    The heat generated by charging and using the iPhone / iPod / iPad causes chemicals to be released from the plastic shell surrounding the device, these chemicals, when inhaled, cause mutations in your body's cells.

    That's right folks, Apple products are carcinogenic...

    They know it's true, but cover it up from the masses.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 1:55pm

    Another possibility...

    Perhaps Apple had been barraged by the outcries of prudish customers demanding that they pull the app. Wait a minute, that would mean that Apple was actually listening to customers instead of trying to dictate to them what should or should not be on their devices. Hmmm, I think your right Tim. That would never happen so... Nevermind.

     

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  8.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 2:01pm

    Re: I will probably get flamed for this, but

    "Apple has no legal obligation to allow you to create apps like these"

    Why do you expect to get flamed for this? It's true, and nobody is saying otherwise.

    I think what some people are saying (or at least myself) is that Apple's control over the apps that are allowed on the iPhone are the exact reason why many people don't, and won't, ever own an iPhone.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Re: I will probably get flamed for this, but

    Apple has no legal obligation to allow you to create apps like these.

    That is the same as saying Apple still owns the phone that you paid for. The more such behavior by companies is allowed, the nearer to serfdom society slips.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Another possibility...

    "that would mean that Apple was actually listening to customers instead of trying to dictate to them what should or should not be on their devices"

    Close. It's Apple listening to some customers who want to dictate what other people can or cannot have on their iPhones.

    In other words, it's not really listening to their customers in a sense that actually means anything.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Another possibility...

    "instead of trying to dictate to them what should or should not be on their devices."

    An app simply being available is not dictating to them what should or should not be on their devices.

    Removing an app from the App Store IS dictating what apps can or cannot be on their devices.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 2:08pm

    There is a simpler solution to the problems posed by Apples PR department. It's like one line of code.

    Select Top 10 Apps
    From AppRecords
    Where blnPRNoLike = false

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Another possibility...

    This is my point. When has Apple EVER listened to what their customers said they wanted? Never. They simply decide, "Wow, we think this will be cool and should work this way," then set out to convince everyone that the Apple way is the way it should be and all the iSheep fall in line. Name one time that people complained about some decision they made where they decided to reverse their course.

     

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  14.  
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    jackn, May 27th, 2014 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Apple - the master thief of companies...

    Apple knows it too. They are history. But, they are going to make a lot of noise on the way down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 2:27pm

    Re:

    > Can you smoke an iphone?

    Yes. Probably. If you raise the iPhone to sufficiently high temperature.

    But the smoke is probably toxic. It would be a shame to destroy the valuable brain of a person smart enough to try smoking an iPhone in the first place.

     

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  16.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 2:38pm

    Re: I will probably get flamed for this, but

    Apple may have not legal obligation. But Apple also has no obligation to act sanely or rationally either. (And some would say that it does not.)

    If you are a developer, consider this. You can spend time and money to develop an application. One you believe is both legal and fully within Apple's terms to appear in the iTunes store.

    Then Apple can arbitrarily decide to ban your application and flush all your hard work for any reason. Or no reason. Or no reason they will ever explain to you.

    And one reason can be (and has been) that suddenly your application competes with something that Apple now decides to do itself.

    BTW, thanks for developing the app to give Apple the great idea!

    In the long run, especially as ever more examples of Apple's arbitrary and inconsistent harm to developers accumulate, how attractive does this make Apple's platform -- in the long run?

     

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  17.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 2:39pm

    Re: might need my firesuit for this comment

    Maybe the app developer should have gone with a game of creating Blue Boxes and not getting caught by the Feds.

    That game would have gone down well with Steve Jobs acolytes!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Another possibility...

    I don't think that actually happened at all. I doubt very seriously there were many if any complaints. Instead this likely happened like this. Their normal app review department saw it as a fringe app that likely wouldn't get any attention and figured it wouldn't matter anyway so they approved it just like the others. Then it became popular and caught the attention of the corporate decision makers that decided it didn't fit with the moral image that they wanted to portray, so they issued the call to axe it completely unaware of the fact that it wasn't the only one. And since Apple is Apple, their attitude is, "this is our sandbox and we will decide who we want to play in it or not regardless of what anyone else thinks."

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 2:49pm

    Next thing you know, Apple will be bitching about all the malware you get from other places because you're not shopping at the Apple store. When you piss your customers off, there are consequences. Often they come back to haunt the ones that started the mess.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 2:59pm

    Blah blah blah, I'm a hardcore liberal.

    Yes, we get it, people who drink in excess, use, and have flamboyantly promiscuous sex are just trying to have fun. How dare those awful moral toting people get in their way!!!

    Also, when are we going to finally get rid of all the guns and take away the rich people's money while pretending $20K a year is too little to live on? I mean conservatives are just idiots, amirite?

    Seriously, lose the anti- attitude already. It gets old when it's present post after post. It's not what I subscribe to read about.

     

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  21.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Another possibility...

    "I don't think that actually happened at all."

    Me neither. I was responding to the "another possibility" hypothetical the AC put forth.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 3:19pm

    Re:

    Hardcore? Maybe, but liberal isn't the term I am thinking of.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    john howard (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 3:41pm

    Re:

    This is very true but, surely this is a bad influence?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Re:

    If someone were to try to smoke an iphone, smart is not exactly the first description that comes to mind...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Kronomex, May 27th, 2014 @ 4:24pm

    I purchased a iphone 4 about three years ago and the first thing I did was disable just about everything I felt was useless to my needs. Updated to the latest iOS recently and, again, disabled all the crap. Now I'm considering a new mobile; any suggestions that don't involve Apple?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 5:16pm

    Re:

    Pick an Android phone that meets your needs based on hardware specs. Root it and load a custom recovery like TWRP or Clockwork Mod. Then find a custom ROM that fits your needs and load that. You will be able to find a veritable plethora of really good advice and support on the XDA Developers forums among other places.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 6:15pm

    Re:

    You say that as if liberal is a bad word. Not that I mean to imply that conservative is a bad word either, except that people like yourselves who try to paint every issue as an us vs. them, good vs. evil, situation that follows a given agenda on two sides where there can be no grey, only black and white. Divide and conquer is the strategy of the purveyors of the agenda that they themselves refer to as conservative. To them it is not about issues but rather creating the divisiveness that gives them power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2014 @ 6:46pm

    So I guess there are no weeds in Apple's walled garden.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Donglebert The Needlessly Unready, May 28th, 2014 @ 2:39am

    Re: I will probably get flamed for this, but

    "Allow you to create"?

    Why should Apple have anything to do with it, legal or otherwise. People should be able to install anything they want on their own phones. And developers must be allowed to create anything too.

    That Apple scans apps for malware and viruses is great and to be applauded, but that should be the end of its influence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 3:40am

    Re: Re:

    In this context is is a deragatory term.

    This article is entirely anti-conservative, anti-religious spew. It only has mild underpinnings of a post on the percieved right people have to get high without social and legal unacceptance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 5:03am

    Acts of censorship are the only way Tim Cook can get an erection.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 6:14am

    Re:

    Looking at other products for ideas to copy seems to do the trick just as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Seegras (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    I'm a hardcore liberal.

    I am.

    Yes, we get it, people who drink in excess, use, and have flamboyantly promiscuous sex are just trying to have fun. How dare those awful moral toting people get in their way!!!

    Yes, totally so.

    Also, when are we going to finally get rid of all the guns and take away the rich people's money while pretending $20K a year is too little to live on?

    Totally NOT. That's the opposite of liberal. It's called authoritarian.

    I mean conservatives are just idiots, amirite?

    And that is a progressive position in the first place (the opposite of conservative), and has nothing to do with liberal or authoritarian in the first place.

    I think your definitions are all screwed up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 8:12am

    Apple knows what is best for us. Even how to hold the phone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    We only have the side of ManitobaGames but no official word from Apple.

    The reason(s) the app was pulled out of the store could be totally unrelated to what the game studio claims.

    To the least, they do not even provide whatever justification Apple sent them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No it's not. He's merely pointing out that the hypocrisy of a selective morality based position especially given the current political climate trends surrounding the use of marijuana in society today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "This article is entirely anti-conservative, anti-religious spew"

    Huh?? I think you must be reading something else, as this article doesn't resemble either of those things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Another possibility...

    "Another possibility" was intended to be pure sarcasm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 8:47am

    Re:

    Apple's justification is likely the same one the US government uses...

    "Because ."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another possibility...

    Yeah, I realized that later, too. Sorry. Poe's law strikes again!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re:

    The sad thing about most conservatives is that they do not realize that they are being manipulated by people who really don't care about many of the issues on which they speak. All those people care about is power. While the same thing happens on the other side of the political fence as well just to a lesser degree.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    Groaker (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 10:59am

    Can't watch the teletubbies either. One of them is reputed to be (shudder) gay. I am not sure which punishment God gave us for the genderless teletubbie with the purple handbag. Maybe it was 9/11, Katrina, or most likely -- wide open media access for Pat Robertson. Must have been the latter. No other punishment would have been adequate for such a horror.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Zonker, May 28th, 2014 @ 2:47pm

    Re:

    Apple can pull all the weeds it wants from my walled garden, less work for me and those dandelions are a damned nuisance. Do they have an app for that?
    /sarcasm

     

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  44.  
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    Niall (profile), May 29th, 2014 @ 5:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He'll have recognised the 'selective morality' as applying to all-to-many conservatives... guiltily :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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