On Wednesday morning, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) removed “Defend the Diaoyou Islands” game from their app store.
The game, which is comparable to another popular game “Plants vs. Zombie”, was said to feature Japanese ninjas and sumo wrestlers invading a chain of islands owned by Beijing and Tokyo. According to China Daily, the makers of the game offered no insight as to why the game was removed. They did issue an apology to their fans and are currently in the works of making a negotiation with Apple over the game.
One reason offered that might give us an inkling as to why “DDI” was removed: it’s clearly stated on Apple’s terms of service that no game can target a specific race, culture, government, company, or other real entity. It appears that many people might have found this game offensive. Another report from Japan Daily Press stated that these patriotic(or “red” games as they’re often referred to) are an integral part of Chinese internet culture.
One Asian-Pacific Studies expert, Shin Shishun, says that these types of games are “indicators of Chinese people’s attitudes”. Moreover, games like these allow users to express their emotions.
The islands featured in the game are commonly known as Senkaku and they are located about 87 miles north of Ishigaki Island(in Japan) which is between Okinawa and Taiwan.
Carolyn Wu, spokeswoman for Apple in Bejing, hasn’t made any official statement on her company’s behalf despite being inundated with calls and emails.
Apple has removed many apps and games from their App Store in the past for various reasons but I have to admit that this is probably one of the strangest stories yet. This makes us wonder if and who someone is actually checking the iOS applications prior to adding the to the iTunes App Store. Perhaps the game was thoroughly inspected, then given the green light, but ended up being removed due to an outcry of offenses. Either way, I think the whole story is strange enough to warrant a more thorough app checking plan.
It’s pretty obvious that this game was taken down for political and personal reasons. I’m not sure how Apple could have overlooked that one but they sure did. I would be surprised if Apple worked a deal with the makers of “DDI” but it’s possible that they will anyway.
Apple is a smart company and everything they do is for the benefit of their brand so I’m going to put my trust into them once again.