Revolution of Our Times, a game that supposedly gives you the chance to role-play as a Hong Kong protester, has been removed from the Play Store by Google. This comes after Apple also removed a crowdsource-based mapping app from the App Store recently, with Google saying that the game infringes upon some of their policies.
“We have a longstanding policy prohibiting developers from capitalizing on sensitive events such as attempting to make money from serious ongoing conflicts or tragedies through a game.”
But in the aftermath of the outcry surrounding Apple’s alleged bowing to pressure from Chinese-based powers in removing HKmap.live from the App Store, Google reportedly revealed that the decision to remove Revolution of Our Times was a decision made from within the company.
This isn’t the first time they’re doing this, according to Google.
“After careful review, we found this app to be violating that particular policy and suspended it, as we have done with similar attempts to profit from other high-profile events such as earthquakes, crises, suicides and conflicts.”
Google’s handling of the situation has arguably been better than Apple’s, it would seem. Due to the sensitive nature of the protests and political climate in Hong Kong right now, Apple has been derided in some quarters for allegedly buckling under pressure from political forces.
That decision, according to Apple, was due to information received from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau—but not much information was given on the truth of accusations that the HKmap.live app was used to “victimise individuals”, as claimed.
As such, while we don’t truly know as to the reasoning behind the removals of these apps as discussed, it’s pertinent to note that information is key in providing clarity when it comes to decisions in such a volatile climate. Perhaps that’s something for the major players in the industry, and indeed for everyone, to remember.