Practically the game allows users to grow a marijuana based – empire, sell the pot, smoke it, make profits, meet gangsters and resist the competition in the drug – dealing market.
Does this sound illegal or immoral to you? It sounded to Apple, which decided to expel the game out of its App Store, to the dismay and rage of the game’s creators.
By now we guess that most iOS fans learned that the Weed Firm went out the App Store with a bang, and what bang that was! It is a unique moment in one’s life to read black on white an angry note dedicated to Apple. A note that does not only accuse the tech giant of hypocrisy and censorship, but which speaks the mind of a lot of people who don’t believe that playing a pot – based game means they will become drug dealers and gangsters. But before giving you the quintessence of the anti – Apple speech released by the game creators, let’s see what was really the problem.
Weed Firm was a successful game. So successful, in fact, that it scored the first place in the U.S. free app category and held this position for two days in a row. The game was reviewed by an average number of 5,000 people, receiving 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was grand, it was Walter White’s legacy, it was the American dream. And then, it disappeared from the App Store. Why?
The guys from TechCrunch say it like it is:
It’s clear why Apple wouldn’t want a game like this at the top of its App Store charts, but its rejection is also somewhat confusing since it looks like the game was singled out for the sole crime of becoming universally popular. Requests for comment and an explanation from Apple were not returned.
And now, for the fun part. The official statement released by Manitoba Games makes you either laugh or cry, but you can’t escape the feeling that they might actually have a strong point:
One thing we can promise you is that we will be back! The Apple version might need to be censored a bit to comply with Apple’s strictest requirement since they are going to be looking very attentively at what we submit from now on. Google never had a problem with the application itself. The problem was with our publisher and we are expecting to return to the Play Store once we find a suitable publisher.
As for the other platforms we will endeavor to make it as censorship free as possible while assigning the highest maturity rating to the game. We do not want kids playing Weed Firm, but we firmly believe that adults should have a choice to do whatever the hell they want as long as they are not hurting anybody in the process. If we let hypocrites determine what content is suitable for us we will soon all be watching teletubbies instead of Breaking Bad and playing… oh I don’t know… nothing good comes to mind, without some form of ‘illegal activity’ or other really.
The game developers also talk about other objectionable games and apps that are still available in the Apple store, such as the ones inciting people to crash cars, shoot civilians and, our favorite, crash birds into buildings. This is perfectly legit: the App Store is filled with games and apps that teach people how to grow pot, how to choose one strain of marijuana from another or how to cultivate gunja.
Censorship or not, objectionable content or not, the fact remains: Weed Firm went out the App Store with a bang for being too successful! Had it been a Mario type of game, Apple would have issued a press release to brag about it. We may not approve the angry tone or the sarcasm, but one thing is certain: Apple just messed with the “freedom of speech” bunch.