Apple: "If You Want To Criticize Religion, Write a Book"

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Apple: "If You Want To Criticize Religion, Write a Book"

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Apple's new guidelines provide an interesting look at what it does and does not want to see on the App Store.

Terms of service, EULAs and the like are typically packed with dense legalese that makes them utterly boring and impenetrable. Apple's new guidelines for app developers, on the other hand, are far more casual and accessible, laying out in clear terms not just what the company will and will not allow, but also why.

"We have lots of kids downloading lots of apps, and parental controls don't work unless the parents set them up (many don't). So know that we're keeping an eye out for the kids," the document says at one point. It also warns that there's not a lot of interest in more fart apps, and that anything appearing to have been hastily thrown together will likely be rejected. "We have lots of serious developers who don't want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour," it adds.

But it also betrays a certain dismissive attitude toward videogames, reflected in the recent decision to reject Endgame: Syria, a strategy app based on the Syrian civil war. "We view Apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. 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," the guidelines state. "It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store."

"We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, 'I'll know it when I see it.' And we think that you will also know it when you cross it," it continues. "If your app is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps."

It's a bit of a disappointing approach, since we all like to think that videogames are capable of handling tough topics at least as well as movies, television or even books, but the sheer volume of apps on the App Store mandates a certain amount of flexibility in the approval process. Even so, Endgame: Syria Lead Designer Tomas Rawlings said that content is what counts, and that "the form of the media should be irrelevant."

"Games, films, apps, comics, music, and books should all be held to the same standard," he told GamesBeat. "To suggest that there is an invisible line that says it's OK to say something in a book but not in a game? That feels wrong to me."

But Edmund McMillen, designer of The Binding of Isaac, said the problem isn't what Apple said so much as how it went about saying it. "The way it is written is obviously bad and upsetting in many ways because on a surface level, most will view them as saying a video game can't express what a song or book can and [that they] shouldn't,"he said. "But I really just think it's a misguided way of saying [not to] submit games that are controversial and might upset people."

Apple's new App Store Review Guidelines are available in full at Cult of Mac.

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Yeah games are still in the offended at every serious or controversial topic part. It will pass eventually sigh.

And if you want to criticize a book? Do you have to found a religion?

Am I right in thinking you need to jailbreak your iDevice in order to even install an app somebody wrote and didn't want to distribute within the app-store?

Yeah not a chance.

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Done. Can I upload the smart games now Apple? Pwetty please?

Yeah, I have to say that it's rather annoying, to be honest. But you must admit that they addmitted to the Ipod and such are "Kid Toys" to a minor degree, and who knows, maybe they'll take it back.

If you want to criticize religion, write a book buy Android.

Edited for accuracy.

I find Apple's condescending nature offensive. Last(and only) product I bought from them was an iPod back in 2005. Wouldn't touch them with a barge pole now(and I don't own a barge pole anyway)

Thanks a lot Apple! I was gunna write that book anyway and now you make me look like a total poseur!

Well that's the last time I'm buying an Apple product now.

Time to buy an Android!

Oh, so they are protecting the children because parents can't be bothered to set up parental control?

#@$% you, Apple! Who are you to decide where the line is, or if it exists at all? I bought your overpriced hardware, so I am the one to decide if I want a fart App or a bouncy cock on it!

I keep saying this once and again, but this is Wal-Mart imposing their personal moral code on their retail outlets all over again, and seeing how big the outlet is, it will have similar disastrous results for both developers and audiences.

Or, in other words, censorship executed not by an elected government, but by a private corporation, in the name of their public image.

It is true that freedom of speech does not grant the right to say anything you want on a privately owned locale (They can kick you out), but when said locale is so massive and influential it can shape an entire industry, we should be taking a closer look at what is going on there. Because I think there *is* a line, which was crossed long ago by most if not all major retailers and publishers.

But hey, what do I know, I'm just a customer.

Edit: And about the parental control "problem", they know full well they could enforce parental control more strictly (Say, link access to adult-oriented content to a valid credit card, which requires participation of a willing adult). Their use of the "won't anyone think of the children" smoke screen makes them despicable.

Apple just blew it. This is clearly going to be a factor in whether I buy an Apple product or not.

Haven't people been warning about this for years?

This has been Apple's game plan from day 1 of the iPhone- to control what software you can use on their products. This is why I use Android. I'll take wading through unpolished crap in the Google Play store to not be restricted to what a mega-corporation thinks is acceptable content.

I'm really glad that Apple had the balls to law down the law in the most simple way possible. They don't want to put up with shitty apps or pretentious bullshit. They never said anything about games not being able to explore deeper themes. All Apple said was that they don't want their platform to be used as a soapbox for your religious or political preaching. And they are well within their rights to maintain that policy.

Whilst it's not good, I can see where Apple are coming from. They don't want to deal with the shitstorm of bile generated by some of this stuff, and I'd guess it's quite a large one given the size of the appstore (and how dim some people can be).

Apple - Think Duuurrrrrr, for tha children!

This is for real? Good; now let's show that most of the Apps on their Store cross several lines if they're analyzed thoroughly enough. And...

"We have lots of kids downloading lots of apps, and parental controls don't work unless the parents set them up (many don't). So know that we're keeping an eye out for the kids,"

It's good to see that you've picked up parenting, Apple. Just step aside and let the parents do it. It's their fault most of the time for blindly believing that any and everything is safe for kids. Good on ya for implementing quality control, but parenting exists, ya know.

And that's why I've been ranting about fucking Steve Jobs and Apple for neigh on 10 years.

Nice going, all you consumerist sheep who bought their products. Think different my ass. None of you ever thought an independent thought. You just wanted the shinies.

I don't understand why the title of the article was specifically the religion comment. It could have been "Apple shows dismissive attitude towards games in new app developer guidelines.". Or, if you wanted something a little more link bait-ish, "Apple reinforces its authoritarian rule over the app-store, says it knows to ban apps 'when they see it'.". Considering how that religion comment was an illustration (a bad one) of a larger point they were trying to make, I personally didn't see it as the meat and potatoes of the argument as the article title seems to imply. I guess it just puzzled me about the choice of words for the title.

OT: Yeah, well, Apple run their show how they want to. The best thing you can do, if you disagree, is to not participate by not buying their things. I've successfully being doing that for years now with a minimal of fuss.

Scars Unseen:

If you want to criticize religion avoid obnoxious censorship and/or believe in parental and personal responsibility, write a book buy Android.

Edited for accuracy.

I find Apple's condescending nature offensive. Last(and only) product I bought from them was an iPod back in 2005. Wouldn't touch them with a barge pole now(and I don't own a barge pole anyway)

Edited a second time for more accuracy. This is sounding like Nintendo's early 90's stance on violence (specifically their mis-step regarding Mortal Kombat on the SNES), except I'm afraid that the kind of people who care about this sort of thing are the kind of people already using android and avoiding iOS like the plague.

Apple once again reminding me why I dislike them.

Quaxar:
And if you want to criticize a book? Do you have to found a religion?

Compare Christianity to Judaism.

TWEWER:
I'm really glad that Apple had the balls to law down the law in the most simple way possible. They don't want to put up with shitty apps or pretentious bullshit. They never said anything about games not being able to explore deeper themes. All Apple said was that they don't want their platform to be used as a soapbox for your religious or political preaching. And they are well within their rights to maintain that policy.

Apple actually said that political or religious pretension is fine in book form but don't put it in your game so games are being judged on a different criteria than books. I could go on and on in a book about the most pretentiousness political religious stuff imaginable and it would be allowed to appear in the store, but if it were a game it would get blocked.

Scars Unseen:

If you want to criticize religion, write a book buy Android.

Edited for accuracy.

I find Apple's condescending nature offensive. Last(and only) product I bought from them was an iPod back in 2005. Wouldn't touch them with a barge pole now(and I don't own a barge pole anyway)

Same for me, although I don't know what I'll do if my Nano(3. gen) dies on me as there are no other players with a shape that good, not even the newer Nano models.
If anyone has any tips on where to look for replacements if it dies that would be most welcome.

teh_gunslinger:
And that's why I've been ranting about fucking Steve Jobs and Apple for neigh on 10 years.

Nice going, all you consumerist sheep who bought their products. Think different my ass. None of you ever thought an independent thought. You just wanted the shinies.

(emphasis mine)
Apple is about as far from "think different" I can possibly imagine, especially after this move.

It makes me sad that so many companies spend years taking risks and exploring new ideas... for the right to play it safe. Remember the 1984 ad? That ad is really awkward nowadays.

Eh. It's their store. They can decide what they put on it. And I can decide to not use the Apple Store.

It's not surprising that they did this. And no, freedom of speech does not apply. The AppStore isn't run by the government for the public. It is a private, corporate store run for profit by business people. They get to decide what is and what isn't put up for sale in their own store. And we have the right to go shop somewhere else if we disagree with their policy (which I do).

Really, it's nothing to get bent out of shape over. "Big Company wants to manage PR concerns" - how is that surprising at all?

Oh Apple, Apple Apple Apple Apple Apple Apple Apple.
See what you're doing here is the reason why people with more cares in the world than Facebook and pop music don't like you. Of course, that is a minority of the population (sadly) but that doesn't mean you aren't total dicks.

teh_gunslinger:
And that's why I've been ranting about fucking Steve Jobs and Apple for neigh on 10 years.

Nice going, all you consumerist sheep who bought their products. Think different my ass. None of you ever thought an independent thought. You just wanted the shinies.

Actually I personally valued the highly user-friendly OS so much that I was willing to pay a higher price point for the privilege: I couldn't care less how it looks. Does that not qualify as 'independent thinking'?

These days though, the competition has gotten strong enough that Apple's jerkish mentality has put me off buying more tech from them.

And without looking at the posts, I know that it has already exploded or is in the process of exploding.

teh_gunslinger:
And that's why I've been ranting about fucking Steve Jobs and Apple for neigh on 10 years.

Nice going, all you consumerist sheep who bought their products. Think different my ass. None of you ever thought an independent thought. You just wanted the shinies.

Right right, because I bought something that you don't approve of, I'm a sheep. Could you be any more insulting. God, sheep is turning into such a generic buzzword that it's slowly losing all meaning.

"We have lots of kids downloading lots of apps, and parental controls don't work unless the parents set them up (many don't). So know that we're keeping an eye out for the kids, [...]"

Absolutely. I mean, who honestly thinks it's the parents responsibility to look after their children.

Anyone else thinking back to nintendo of america's censorship policies?

Scars Unseen:

If you want to criticize religion, write a book buy Android.

Edited for accuracy.

I find Apple's condescending nature offensive. Last(and only) product I bought from them was an iPod back in 2005. Wouldn't touch them with a barge pole now(and I don't own a barge pole anyway)

10/10. Would chuckle heartily again.

Not only is the wording bad (implying that games are inherently a lesser art), but they're outright censoring content because it might hurt someone's feelings?

Seriously?

As much as I hate to see rampant hate on someone's religious beliefs, this attitude is utterly fucking toxic, no matter the topic at hand. Please go burn in a fire Apple.

I am surprized at how many people enjoy have a computer company dictate what they and can't have on their phones. Sure my Android has bloatware but at least I can have any app I want on it.

What if my gaming app has a book in it that criticizes religion or whatever.

This, is EXACTLY why I do not purchase Apple products.

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