'News title' rejected from App Store for 'solely targeting a specific race, culture and government'

Apple refuses game based on Syria civil war

Apple has denied a game based on the civil war in Syria from being released on the App Store.

The free title Endgame: Syria, developed by Auroch Digital, is already available on Android via Google Play, and is described as a ‘news game’ which sees users take on the side of the rebels as they try to overthrow the ruling party.

Apple said it had rejected the game as its own guidelines forbid any titles that “solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity”.

Game designer Tomas Rawlings expressed his disappointment at the decision, and said it was a shame given that Apple’s guidelines make it difficult to develop titles that explore the impact of how real events can affect people’s lives.

“This decision is a shame really as it makes it hard to talk about the real world,” said Rawlings.

“We had hoped that Apple would be more nuanced in how they applied this rule but we got a bit worried when it had been in submission for around two weeks without a decision – we then figured that because of the controversy of using the gaming medium to cover an ongoing war meant passing the game had become an issue for them.

"Our aim is to use games as a format to bring news to a new audience and submission processes such as this do make it a lot harder for us. I get that Apple want to make sure really offensive titles don’t pass into their store, but ours is far from that. In fact the response to the game has been broadly positive with much of the mainstream media picking up on the story.

"We’ll be making changes to the game and re-submitting it but it does mean we’ll have to strip some of the meaning and context from it to pass Apple’s submission process and that is not ideal."

Apple has a history of rejecting games for rejecting apps for various reasons, including political ones.

In October last year, Apple removed a game based on Chinese suicides at manufacturing company Foxconn. it was believed the title had failed to meet the guidelines related to “objectionable content” and “solely targeting a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation”.

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