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Apple removes Sweatshop from App Store; rejects Endgame: Syria a third time

Sweatshop and Endgame: Syria pulled from App Store

Apple recently removed Littleloud's Sweatshop from the iTunes App Store and rejected Auroch Digital's Endgame: Syria for a third time, the developers told Polygon.

Sweatshop HD is a colaboration between U.K. studio Littleloud and Channel 4. Originally released in 2011 for web browsers, the management strategy game received an iOS release last year. The game challenges players to manage off-shore clothing factories, casting players into the role of the middle manager in a sweatshop to deal with issues like child labor, unfair work hours and poor work conditions.

In a statement sent to Polygon, Littleloud's head of games, Simon Parkin said the game was removed from the App Store last month because Apple was "uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop."

According to Parkin, "they specifically cited references in the game to clothing factory managers blocking fire escapes, increasing work hours for labor and issues around the child labor as being reasons why the game was unsuitable for sale."

Apple was "uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop."

Littleloud amended the app to clarify that the game is a work of fiction and was created with fact-checking input of charity Labor Behind the Label, and to emphasize that the game doesn't force players to play the game in one way or another, but these clarifications and changes did not change Apple's decision.

Meanwhile, Auroch Digital's newsgame about the war in Syria, Endgame: Syria, has been rejected by Apple for a third time because it references specific groups and uses the word "Syria," the developer told Polygon.

The game was originally rejected in January for violating a guideline that forbids games that "soleley target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity."

Developer Tomas Rawlings said in a statement: "We've come to the end of three rejections and one appeal and the only way we've been able to get Endgame: Syria out on iOS was to remove all references to the real world and, sadly, that changes it from a 'newsgame' into just a 'game'.

"We've released this game version so at least players with Apple devices can get a feel for what we originally intended for the platform. We are of course disappointed to not be able to release the game and hope that our experience informs a wider debate about how games have matured into a form that would benefit from a reappraisal by some."

The version that Apple rejected is available on Android, PC and Facebook. Littleloud's Sweatshop is available online.

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