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Apple Removes Game ''Sweatshop HD'' from App Store

By - Source: GamesIndustry.biz | B 37 comments

Apple removes an indie game that criticizes sweatshop labor.

Recently, Apple removed SweatshopHD, a game by indie developer Littleloud that's a game about—you guessed it—managing a sweatshop.

Sweatshop HD parodies the tower defense genre. The player's goal is to put together a production line to mass produce goods. Naturally, the optimal strategy for the game is to pay low wages and ignore basic human rights.

In an interview with Pocket Gamer, Littleloud's head of games, Simon Parkin, explained that Sweatshop HD was removed on the grounds that "it was uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop."

"Apple specifically cited references in the game to clothing factory managers 'blocking fire escapes', 'increasing work hours for labour', and issues around the child labour as reasons why the game was unsuitable for sale."

Obviously, Littleloud put out the game as social commentary and to raise awareness "about the origin of the clothes we buy." An admirable goal for a games developer to have.

Apple pulled the game based off of the App Store developer guidelines, which state "we view apps different [sic] than books or songs, which we do not curate… if you want to criticise a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app."

Littleloud and Sweatshop HD aren't alone. Apple's set a precedent by removing other games like Smuggle Truck and Endgame: Syria.

Apparently, to Apple, games on the app store simply cannot be deep or meaningful, lest they offend buyers of any sort. 

You can still play Sweatshop as a Flash game, here.


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Top Comments
  • 36 Hide
    freggo , March 21, 2013 10:11 PM
    To close to home, Apple ? :-)
  • 25 Hide
    ttcboy , March 21, 2013 10:10 PM
    So playing game about sweatshop on the device where is really come from is not cool huh.
  • 24 Hide
    vmem , March 21, 2013 10:22 PM
    Um, can you say irony?

    and how about removing ties to that RL sweatshop? :p 
Other Comments
  • 25 Hide
    ttcboy , March 21, 2013 10:10 PM
    So playing game about sweatshop on the device where is really come from is not cool huh.
  • 36 Hide
    freggo , March 21, 2013 10:11 PM
    To close to home, Apple ? :-)
  • 24 Hide
    vmem , March 21, 2013 10:22 PM
    Um, can you say irony?

    and how about removing ties to that RL sweatshop? :p 
  • 21 Hide
    DarkSable , March 21, 2013 10:26 PM
    Right. Because blocking a fire escape is REALLY how apple has to worry about offending us.
  • 14 Hide
    poohbear2005 , March 21, 2013 10:26 PM
    WTF? Thats stupid! If anyone finds it offensive they can simply not buy it.
  • 21 Hide
    tokencode , March 21, 2013 10:37 PM
    Remember, when you buy an Apple device, you only get the world according to Apple. Next you find out that safari is blocking websites with "unsuitable content". Thanks for protecting us from... whatever you don't approve of apple... but you're probably right, if I'm dumb enough to buy your product after this, I'm probably too dumb to make any decisions for myself.
  • 9 Hide
    phatboe , March 21, 2013 10:52 PM
    If owned an Apple device I would care but since I don't like wasting my money on crappy iDevices I don't care at all.
  • 18 Hide
    madjimms , March 21, 2013 11:02 PM
    They should just start putting "Made in Sweatshop" on the back of Apple products.
  • 9 Hide
    razor512 , March 21, 2013 11:18 PM
    I bet apple would keep it in the app store if they made the game about building iphones and ipads instead :) 
  • 7 Hide
    bemused_fred , March 21, 2013 11:46 PM
    freggoTo close to home, Apple ? :-)


    Damn, I was going to say that! Curse you, Mr. Ninja!
  • 3 Hide
    mrmez , March 22, 2013 12:13 AM
    Damn, sounds like a good game. Now i want it.
    Haha
  • -7 Hide
    Novulux , March 22, 2013 12:17 AM
    phatboeIf owned an Apple device I would care but since I don't like wasting my money on crappy iDevices I don't care at all.


    Probably most electronics you own are made in the same place.
  • 8 Hide
    w8gaming , March 22, 2013 12:32 AM
    This is exactly the same censorship attitude adopted by Apple ecosystem that turns me away from buying Apple products. No, it is not about me like the idea of a sweatshop or porno game. It is more about everybody who owns the device should be given a choice of what we want to use on our device. We do not need someone acting like big brother that forbides us to do this or that. For all we know, Apple might one day decided mkv video is evil and pull all apps that can play that format because it violates Apple guideline. Or you cannot run a calculator app because it is essentially an emulator to the actual calculator, and Apple forbides emulator.
  • 6 Hide
    Cons29 , March 22, 2013 12:40 AM
    so they don't want something that will remind buyers about the sweat shop in which the device was made? i cant say that im surprised
  • 5 Hide
    NuclearShadow , March 22, 2013 1:58 AM
    This is not going to go well most here especially those who own Apple products but..

    We all know where these products come from and under what conditions. While this game focused on clothing rather than electronics clearly those who buy a iPad, iPhone, or iPod simply don't care. The message the game tries to send was already lost when it targeted that audience and it's no surprise Apple took it down. The consumer is just as guilty as the company if they choose to support a company that does immoral practices.

    We have adopted a out of sight, out of mind train of thought when it comes to human suffering that we are directly influencing. We all know it's going on but we place our greed on things we can easily live without before the well being of other human beings. We have not only become consumer wh*res but we've become monsters as well.
  • 4 Hide
    halcyon , March 22, 2013 2:12 AM
    I must be sick. ...cause I read this and LOL'd.
  • 1 Hide
    unksol , March 22, 2013 2:35 AM
    my first impression was apple was trying to look ok by dodging sweat shops they support... Then I find out apple wants to block people knowing they use and support sweat shops....
  • 2 Hide
    das_stig , March 22, 2013 3:15 AM
    Must be too close to the truth on how Foxconn mistreat their employees.
  • 0 Hide
    Vorador2 , March 22, 2013 4:34 AM
    It hit a little too close to home for Apple's tastes.
  • 2 Hide
    corvak , March 22, 2013 5:16 AM
    Did the game have overworked Foxconn employees jumping to their deaths?

    Though in getting rid of the app, Apple's links to sweatshops will get mentioned on tech sites like this one.
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