Apple removes Sweatshop HD from App Store

Littleloud claims Apple was "uncomfortable" with sweatshop theme

The iOS version of Sweatshop, a Flash game by the UK-based indie Littleloud, has been removed from the App Store by Apple.

According to a report on, Apple withdrew the game on the grounds that the company was, "uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop."

Sweatshop HD - which was initially released in November last year - is a riff on the tower defence genre, in which you are tasked with creating a production line for mass-market clothes and goods. The game's mechanics force players to cut corners and make difficult, potentially dangerous decisions in order to meet their orders.

"Apple specifically cited references in the game to clothing factory managers 'blocking fire escapes', 'increasing work hours for labour,' and issues around the child labour as reasons why the game was unsuitable for sale," said Simon Parkin, Littleloud's head of games.

"Littleloud amended the app to clarify that Sweatshop is a work of fiction and was created with the fact-checking input of charity Labour Behind the Label, and to emphasise that the game doesn't force players to play the game in one way or another. Rather, Sweatshop is a sympathetic examination of the pressures that all participants in the sweatshop system endure.

"Sadly, these clarifications and changes weren't enough to see the game reinstated for sale."

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Latest comments (8)

Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios5 years ago
And yet Apple's products are made under similar conditions. Oh the hypocrisy!
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Paul Gheran Scrum Master 5 years ago
haha Alex, I was thinking the same thing but phrased like this:

A little too close to home perhaps?
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Peter Bond Studying Art & Design, University of Bedfordshire5 years ago
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Show all comments (8)
Paul Jace Merchandiser 5 years ago
I'm still waiting for the Apple Dictatorship App.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 5 years ago
Ahhh censorship.
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Ben Gonshaw Game Design Consultant, AKQA5 years ago
It's a seriously good game with a fantastic message.
That the censors at Apple thought that Littleloud were exploiting an issue to make a game instead of realising that they were making a statement about an issue speaks volumes.
Games are still toys or playthings and it's hard to see how the perception can be shifted to allow us expression in the medium to talk about uncomfortable things.
Good luck to Littleloud. I really hope that they can find a way out of what must be a challenging financial situation and make back some money.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd5 years ago
I've been saying for years now that while it's fine for the proprietors of a walled garden to make their own rules, it's the duty of content creators to try to challenge them constantly. A system that doesn't adapt becomes brittle and anachronistic - you just have to look at XBLA to see where that path leads.

While Apple are still a long way from truly understanding games, I think they are starting to become more receptive. It's a massive shame that they couldn't come to a compromise that would save LittleLoud from having wasted so much of their time and effort in trying to enrich their platform.
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Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios5 years ago
Also on a more basic level a game with poor working conditions is banned but games where you're shooting people in the face are welcomed with open arms, cheesy grins and a bulging wallet.
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