Growing weed may be easy in places like Colorado and Washington, but not so on Apple's App Store. Apple recently pulled the iPhone game Weed Firm from the App Store, while leaving many similar games available for download.
Apple blocks marijuana growing app from App Store
Manitoba Games, the company behind Weed Firm, said on its website,
As you might have noticed the game is no longer available on the Apple App Store. This was entirely Apple's decision, not ours. We guess the problem was that the game was just too good and got to number one in All Categories, since there are certainly a great number of weed based apps still available, as well as games promoting other so-called 'illegal activities' such as shooting people, crashing cars and throwing birds at buildings.
Weed Firm quickly climbed the App Store charts as it gained popularity. The game puts users in the role of a marijuana grower who has to manage their business while dealing with criminals and corrupt police.
Apple's developer policies prohibit apps that promote what it considers objectionable or crude content, which is most likely what the company saw in Weed Firm. If that's what Apple's app screeners see in Weed Firm, however, it seems odd that there are plenty of other marijuana growing games available through the App Store.
A quick App Store search turned up Weed Tycoon, Weed Farmer, and Ganja Farm, plus plenty of other marijuana-themed apps. That being the case, it's possible Apple saw something beyond the marijuana theme in Weed Firm as the real problem. If so, the company hasn't said.
This isn't the first time Apple has seemingly contradicted itself with App Store policies. The company recently rejected HappyPlayTime, which is an app that teaches women about masturbation without using graphic images. Other apps with sexual content that's far more graphic are available on the App Store, including apps that objectify women as sex objects.
Manitoba Games plans to bring its weed growing app back to the App Store, but with some changes it hopes will get past Apple's screeners. "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," the company said.
For developers as a whole, rejecting apps like Weed Firm and HappyPlayTime sends a discouraging message: Apple's app screening process seems arbitrary, and just because apps with a similar theme may have been approved, that doesn't mean yours will.