Connect with top gaming leaders in Los Angeles at GamesBeat Summit 2023 this May 22-23. Register here.
The makers of a masturbation app learned the hard way how differently Apple treats game developers compared to authors and musicians.
HappyPlayTime will not end up on iPhone or iPad because of its sexual nature. This is a game that teaches women about the joys of masturbation. It wants to remove the shame and stigma from the act, and it attempts to do so by have players swipe and pat a character called Happy that looks like a vagina. Apple wants nothing to do with this, according to HappyPlayTime developer Tina Gong (via Kotaku).
The iPhone company’s app reviewer told Gong that “the concept was not something that Apple wants to go forward with.”
“I knew I was taking a chance with building the game natively, but I was optimistic, as our app was created with a mission and with the best of intentions,” Gong wrote in a blog post. “The [Apple] reviewer herself sounded sympathetic, but it seemed like it wasn’t something she could control. A few minutes after the call, I got the rejection email in my inbox.”
GamesBeat Summit 2023
Join the GamesBeat community for our virtual day and on-demand content! You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry to share their updates on the latest developments.
This isn’t the first time that Apple has prohibited a game from its App Store.
In January 2013, Apple blocked Endgame: Syria from its distribution network. That game explored the real civil war in the Middle Eastern country from multiple perspectives. But that’s not the kind of games that Apple is comfortable with.
“We view apps differently than books or songs, which we do not curate,” reads a section of Apple’s guidelines for game developers. “If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store.”
That’s a clear double-standard.
Of course, it’s not like HappyPlayTime would find a home on game consoles either. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all have policies against permitting games that earn the “adult only” rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. But unlike Apple, these gaming companies don’t have a policy of prohibiting games while letting any book or song into its stores.
Gong said that she considered starting a petition but that she decided that is a waste of time since Apple typically doesn’t reverse decisions like this.
“If they [Google] don’t reject us, too, that it,” she wrote.
GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.