Was Apple Right to Remove Games with Confederate Flag?
The issue with the Confederate Flag is much bigger in scope than what Apple did on the App Store but since we are in the gaming business lets talk about it in our context.
As things got heated up in the governments, companies like Amazon and Walmart also stopped selling the flag and Apple surprisingly took down games that featured it too.
One such game they removed was Ultimate General: Gettysburg featuring the Battle of Gettysburg by Game-Labs. Here’s what developer Nick Thomadis had to say about it:
Apple has removed our game from App Store because of usage of the Confederate Flag. Ultimate General: Gettysburg could be accepted back if the flag is removed from the game’s content. We accept Apple’s decision and understand that this is a sensitive issue for the American Nation. We wanted our game to be the most accurate, historical, playable reference of the Battle of Gettysburg. All historical commanders, unit composition and weaponry, key geographical locations to the smallest streams or farms are recreated in our game’s battlefield.
The proponents of the movement against the flag are asking for its removal from government offices and other places because it is a reminder of the Confederacy and the times of slavery. So the flag indirectly (and in the opinion of others, directly) relates to racism and discrimination which is a sensitive topic in the US these days.
Insofar as that is concerned, it is the right step forward.
However, it has other implications too; for instance in the case of this game, by removing it from the App Store, Apple has indirectly favored a step to bury history – the game wishes to depict what actually happened and the Confederate Flag was an integral part of that.
Dig a little deeper and you will see that Apple’s move against such games in naive too. I say that because they only removed the games. A Civil War documentary by Ken Burns is still there, so are many audiobooks based around the story of the Confederacy soldiers. All those products flaunt the flag too!
I do believe that if something is considered by some of the fellow nationals as symbols of slavery and racism then that thing should not be flaunted over government buildings. Discrimination and racism is becoming more of a problem these days and not even a small leeway should be given for it to get promoted even more.
On the other hand, Apple’s removal of just the games in the same context is injudicious – you want to support the calls against the Confederate Flag, do it by taking down everything related to it, not historical games that are supposed to be entertainment and might even help people understand what happened.