Apple is finally enforcing its editorial rules for games on the App Store, Pocket Gamer reports. The company is asking developers to blur out guns and nudity on screenshots, trailers, and icons so that they meet with Apple’s 4+ age rating.
The rating system is to make sure the App Store is family friendly and inoffensive. If a child visits the App Store to check out the latest Taylor Swift single, for example, Apple doesn’t want them upon stumble on a screenshot of a man being shot in the face.
The rule has actually been around since the App Store launched, but up until now has largely been ignored, 9to5mac explains. On Apple’s app review submission guidelines under “Violence” and “Objectionable Content,” Apple states that apps “portraying realistic images of people or animals being killed or maimed, shot, stabbed, tortured or injured will be rejected.”
There are lots of other specifications too:
Nobody seems to know why Apple has suddenly decided to start implementing its guidelines. But now games developers are seeing their submissions rejected due to content issues. Pocket Gamer has spoken to some of them who’ve seen their material flagged up by Apple.
One is a new shoot ’em up called Tempo, chosen as “editor’s choice” by Apple. The developer, Splash Damage, has had to pixelate out guns on screenshots and in footage from the game to hide them away and adhere to the App Store rules.
It looks a bit weird. Have a look:
Here’s the Tempo mean-looking man in full:
Other developers listed by Pocket Gamer include Team Chaos’ Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens, which had to change its icon so that an orange cartoon gun was removed. And there’s Into the Dead, made by PikPok: “We had an App Preview for Into the Dead rejected because we were showing weapons firing,” the maker told Pocket Gamer.
People seem quite surprised that Apple is finally enforcing the rules. This guy works for Pocket Gamer (not the UK government. That’s chancellor George Osborne, with an extra “e”). He calls it “gun censorship”:
I’ve been hearing about gun censorship for a while on the App Store, but still surprised Apple have pushed it onwards.
— George Osborn (@GeorgeOsborn) February 12, 2015
Pocket Gamer argues that Apple’s “prudish” behaviour doesn’t seem to transpose over to its movie content. The blog argues that the company treats video games differently, which has “long been a bone of contention for developers who want to tackle controversial topics.”
They may have a point. Here’s the front of the Sherlock Holmes film, which anyone can see. It’s on iTunes, but that’s readily accessible to young people — just as the App Store is. You can navigate between the two.
Check out Robert Downey Jr. holding quite a big gun:
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