Apple says HappyPlayTime, a non-pornographic game designed to "eliminate the stigma around female masturbation," is too racy for the App Store.
The title doesn't really give it away, but HappyPlayTime is a game about "making female masturbation friendly." It's not pornographic, though, but educational, and stars a smiling, interactive vulva named Happy.
"Sexuality is one of the most basic instincts of human beings. Being comfortable with your own sexual pleasure is a prerequisite to both being able to healthily accept pleasure from others, and pleasing others," the HappyPlayTime website explains. "Unfortunately for many women, there has been a cultural stigma that blocks access to self-stimulation. HappyPlayTime is here to eliminate this barrier as much as possible. By talking openly and lightheartedly about female masturbation, we are taking the first step to becoming truly sexually liberated."
It's an admirable goal, but apparently not one that Apple feels comfortable supporting. Despite the complete absence of graphic content in the HappyPlayTime app, it rejected both the initial App Store submission and an appeal filed last week by creator Tina Gong, saying it violated two restrictions: One against "excessively objectionable or crude content," and one forbidding "pornographic material."
"While we understand your intentions behind the app, we find that the app concept is not appropriate for the store at this time," Apple wrote in its rejection letter. "We also found that your app currently includes erotic and mature themes that are not appropriate for the App Store. We encourage you to review your app content and evaluate whether you can modify the content to bring it into compliance with the Guidelines."
The HappyPlayTime site says the game will be "recoded" but Gong told GamesIndustry that she doesn't intend to change it. "I have a feeling that if I changed the way this game was designed, taking out the central core of it being an app where you can literally play with the character, invest emotionally in her well-being, it would get through. They mentioned that the 'concept' was objectionable. My feeling is that they don't mean female masturbation, but just this gaming aspect," she said.
"My guess is that Apple might have understood the purpose of it being educational, and that it was built with a mission, but wants to force me to strip out all the things that make this game what it is," she added. "And I can't accept that."
Gong said she's trying to make direct contact with the App Store decision-makers in order to plead her case, and while the touch-screen design means that a PC release isn't likely, she also holds out hope for an Android release.