Wednesday, April 29, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Presidential Simulation App Removed From the App Store

Justin Proulx:

The scenario pictured mentions a generic disease. This scenario has existed since 2018.

Apple just called me, saying I can’t have it in the App Store anymore due to COVID-19, despite it existing before the virus

[…]

Apple is now targeting my app, while allowing games like @NdemicCreations’ Plague, Inc. (which focuses entirely on killing the human race with a contagious disease) to remain on the App Store.

Previously:

7 Comments

Kevin Schumacher

Sorry, no, you're not being targeted because Plague, Inc. is bigger and you're smaller. You're being targeted because you have the exact current political hot potato in your game during the middle of a global pandemic. It doesn't matter that it existed two years ago. Things change and sensitivities change.

>Sorry, no, you're not being targeted because Plague, Inc.
>is bigger and you're smaller. You're being targeted
>because you have the exact current political hot potato
>in your game during the middle of a global pandemic

This is not a plausible explanation.

Plague Inc. also covers the exact same topic. Plague Inc. is actually 100% about that topic. This game has one screen that covers the topic. There's a 100% chance that Apple knows about Plague Inc. Yet Plague Inc. is still in the App Store.

There are two plausible reasons for the disparity:

1. This game was targeted because it's from a small company that can't defend itself and has no platform. Plausible, because in the past, Apple has also been more lenient with bigger devs.
2. It's just random, and this guy had a bunch of bad luck. Plausible, because that happens all the time with App Store rejections.

I think the whole concept of just universally banning stuff that is in any way related to pandemics is absurd. It's as if Apple didn't have the resources to determine the difference between harmful apps and benign apps. I'm pretty sure that there are a bunch of smart people looking for work right now, and I'm also pretty sure that you can evaluate Apps for rejection at home. There is no excuse for Apple's absurd incompetence.

@Lukas Oh, Apple definitely knows about Plague Inc. because they Chinese government asked them to take it down, and the US App Store gave it an award.

Jeff Flowers

I like iOS, and use it, but the lack of developer and user freedom when it comes to applications is annoying.

Until Apple allows sideloading all these iOS developer complaints are just pissing in the wind. Either move to Android or realize there is no equality or fairness for app development. Google's app store is frustrating too, but at least you do no actually have to sell in any app store on Android.

Furthermore, since Apple is making editorial decisions on app store content, shouldn't safe harbor no longer apply? Which would mean any IP infringement on the app store can now be targeted at Apple's deep pockets instead of any random developer. Businesses cannot have it both ways.

@Jeff
Yeah, it is annoying. It is like Apple could have produced the best mobile platform ever and then decided to artificially hamstring it because they think the only way to high profit margins is to enforce such anti developer and anti consumer lock downs on their devices. Perhaps Apple thinks their profitability largely stems from such measures and larger market share brings increased scrutiny, thus requiring this balancing act of maintaining enough market share (roughly 10%, perhaps as high a 15% on occasion) to still have mass market acceptance and high margins but not enough share of the market to trip regulatory oversight?

Apple never held my interest because of vendor lock-in, I was just impressed with their technology. Oh well.

Sören Nils Kuklau

It is like Apple could have produced the best mobile platform ever and then decided to artificially hamstring it because they think the only way to high profit margins is to enforce such anti developer and anti consumer lock downs on their devices.

I’m sure Apple appreciates the revenues that come from the App Store, but when they originally envisioned it, I don’t think that consideration played a high role at all. Rather, it was a Jobs-esque vision of a “purer” computing platform, much like the original Mac had no expansion slots.

Only this time, Jobs wasn’t ousted, so the Macintosh II never happened to the iPhone. Quite a few screws have been loosened (see, for example, third-party keyboards in iOS 8), but the core philosophy hasn’t changed. Success hides problems.

When 10.8 Mountain Lion introduced Gatekeeper, I always hoped iOS would eventually achieve the same but from the other end: a bunch of radio buttons that weigh safety against flexibility. But it never did happen; we never did get a “developer mode”.

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