Apple booting thousands of videogame apps from its App Store in China: Report
The move comes as China steps up its crackdown on unlicensed videogames on the app stores. The removal of apps could reportedly extend beyond the gaming category.
Apple is set to take down thousands of video game applications from its App Store in China owing to the government regulations that require video games to be licensed before being published, reports The Wall Street Journal.
According to the report, Apple earlier this month had warned developers in China that several paid gaming apps were at the risk of removal from the App Store. Developers have until December 31 to provide Apple with proof of the government license or else their apps will be taken down from the store.
China had introduced the license-related policy in 2016. The policy was reportedly launched due to concerns over growing offensive content and addiction. Some developers, however, managed to bypass the regulation through a loophole in Apple's App Store policies, the report added. It is not clear what this loophole was, though.
Earlier this year, Apple removed more than 4,500 mobile games from the Chinese App Store due to the licensing regulations in China.
As expected, Apple has come under criticism for bowing to China's demands. It is said that Apple may not take down just video game apps.
Last year, Apple had taken down a Hong Kong mapping app during the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests after the Chinese state media said it could endanger law enforcement officers, reports Gizmodo. It is worth noting that Google had too removed apps linked with Hong Kong protests. One of the apps was a crowdfunded map service that tracked police activity.
“Apple studies these requests carefully whenever we receive them, and we contest and disagree with them often,” an Apple spokesperson told The WSJ. “Though the final decisions sometimes run contrary to our wishes, we believe that our customers are best served when we remain in the country providing them access to products that promote self-expression with world-class privacy protections.”
Apple's purge comes at a time when China is tightening the noose around internet companies. Just this month, China removed as many as 105 applications, including US travel firm TripAdvisor Inc from app stores. The Cyberspace Administration of China described the apps illegal without giving any information about the offences TripAdvisor or any other app had committed.
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