UPDATE: Having refused to allow Palestinian-made mobile game Liyla and The Shadows of War to be sold as a game on the App Store last week, Apple has now relented, according to its developer Rasheed Abueideh.
— Rasheed Abueideh (@RasheedAbueideh) May 22, 2016
It's a small victory for anyone who believes that games should be able to tackle difficult subjects without censorship or removal from sale (and that should be everyone, frankly). Although Apple has never explicitly said that Liyla could not be sold as a game because of its subject matter, given the company's previous attitude to other games that have dealt with fraught subjects, it's a reasonable assumption.
ORIGINAL STORY: Rasheed Abueideh, Palestinian developer of a mobile game called Liyla and The Shadows of War, reported last night that Apple has demanded the game be removed from the "games" section of the iOS store, reportedly due to its subject matter.
— Liyla (@Liylawar) May 18, 2016
Apple has suggested, as you can read above, that the app which is about a girl living in the Gaza strip, an area beset by long-standing conflict – be reclassified rather than removed entirely from the store. As the developer points out, ironically it has already been nominated for several gaming awards.
This is not the first time that Apple has decided what is and isn't a game according to questionable definitions. The company's stance has long been that games should not tackle important or politically sensitive subjects, as outlined in its App Store submission guidelines as far back as 2011. Sweatshop – an educational British game about the evils of mass production – was removed from the App Store in early 2013 due to its subject matter.
Liyla and the Shadows of War is also available on Android.