Afghanistan '11 Is Great Enough For Its Own Thread


I think you are automatically giving them the benefit of the doubt as being “dumb” or “incompetent”, claiming that as some saving grace.

The use of censorship usually is. I think they are indeed censoring, because they fear controversy. Not to uphold some agenda. Yes that is dumb, and a sign of incompetence. So?

It’s Kafka-esque in application because they don’t want to provide any answers.

The example I used above was merely to show that the end results of politically motivated and fear-based corporatist censorship , and the bureaucratic desire for opaqueness (and intimidation tactics in using that process) are both the same, regardless. Not to imply Apple has some Political Agenda.

This I agree with in total. I think Google should as well. The same way I believed in a higher standard of FCC regulation when only 3 Networks provided content over the airways.


Ah, right, you’re a European conservative. Here in the US, I think we call those moderate liberals. :)

It’s a marketplace issue, not a free speech issue. Slitherine and ESS are welcome to sell their game however they like, and with whichever willing partners they like. Afghanistan 11 still up on Steam. If there’s an Android version, I’m sure it’s still up on, uh, wherever you get Android games. They can freely sell it as a direct download, or from the front door of their offices.

Invoking anti-trust laws is another matter entirely, and that’s actually an interesting discussion. But as far as I can tell, it’s not related to free speech or government censorship (a.k.a. censorship) at all.



Right now Apple effective policy is you aren’t allowed to create content that will offend people. It is certainly easy to imagine that could change to things that will offend liberals and who knows in the feature if Tim Cook screws up and is replaced by a conservative CEO maybe it will shift to offend conservatives.

I good easily be wrong, but my impression is if I want to develop content for the iOS I have no choice but to submit it to Apple for verification. Even if there are workarounds, for all intensive purposes if you want to sell an app, you have to get Apple’s permission.

The world is slightly better for the Android world, but if Google reject your app in the Playstore, you’ve lost a huge 90%?? of the potential market for Android phones. Last I looked despite there being many more Android phones, than iPhones, for mobile developers the sales dollars is similar for both platforms.

In effect Apple and Google have a duopoly that controls the vast majority of content available for mobile devices.The US government and even more so the EU have determine that if you are monopoly or duopoly, many special rules apply to your business practices, that don’t apply to companies operating in competitive marketplace. As you point in the game market there are many other distribution options, consoles, Steam direct sales etc. so maybe the damage isn’t so severe in the case of Slitherine.

But if Apple decide to ban rap music on iTunes, or music that celebrated nationalism, or advocated killing cops. Given their immense market power, I’d argue it becomes a free speech issue. And the distance for banning music based on content isn’t that far away from banning games based on content.


Right out of the gate, you’ve rolled a critical fumble. I get what you’re trying to say, but what you’ve said is the 100% wrong way to express it. Apple has no say in what I create. Instead, they only have a say in what they distribute on their proprietary platform. Which is as it should be.

Sure, but at this point, we’re well beyond discussing censorship and I don’t take any issue with what you’re saying.



The broad consensus in the US and Europe in general is that there’s absolutely no threat in unaccountable, unelected entities being allowed to accumulate vast amounts of wealth(and thusly power) so long as they’re not called ‘governments’ due to our worship at the altar of markets. Welcome to the world of 2018, the world we’ve wrought.


This I would agree with. Though, really, it’s not a new thing, but something that has been around in one form or another since at least Adam Smith. And while I may disagree with some about how we use certain concepts or terms, and about legal specifics, I wholeheartedly agree that regardless of what we call it, we have a situation that is far from healthy.


I agree as well. The big tech companies are today’s vesrsion of the 19th Century’s Railroads. And we now have a strange confluence; @Panzeh, @TheWombat, @Strollen, @tomchick and myself agree politically about a big tech duopoly (maybe more than that, including Amazon and other media providers, if you broaden it beyond games to audio and video content). That is a strange day on the Qt3 forums!

Sounds like someone should start a P & R thread.


Our own political party, as the existing ones sure don’t seem to get the job done! Maybe it’s time for a parliamentary system!

Oh, and, um, wargames!


I don’t think so. I used the word effective deliberately because while you are right, I’m free to create Leisure Suit Larry Uncensored in VR, for IOS, since I know that Apple will never distribute the game, I’ll never create it in the first place.


I don’t mean to keep harping on you, because I understand what you’re trying to say and I mostly agree, but it’s striking to me that you can’t say it without undercutting the point that it’s a form of censorship.

You’re not free to create content for a proprietary platformed owned by another company. Apple should be allowed to control content on their platform, even if they make dumb choices. This is in no way, shape, or form censorship. It’s a fact of content delivery, whether it’s software for a closed platform, a theater chain, an ebook reader, or a cable channel. They get to make their own rules and you don’t get to claim it’s limiting your freedom of speech.



At what point does a private platform(s) become so ubiquitous it becomes a public platform so the government must step in and regulate it or even take it over?

I mean in the USA this happened with railways in the 20th century.


I’m not even sure what we are disagreeing about.

I’m not claiming it is censorship. But you don’t need to censor something to have a chilling effect on free speech. There is a scene in 1984 where Winston Smith talks about the government doesn’t even need to censor things, people censor themselves in order to avoid committing a thought-crime. Apple doesn’t need to censor my game, that will undoubtedly offend many people because no developer is going to make it in the first place.

In a truly competitive marketplace, I’d agree. But just like there was fairness doctrine that required the networks to air both sides of an argument and carry political ads, the right of Apple to control content on their platform is not absolute because of their duopoly position. Now hopefully, just like the explosion of TV channels and the internet made the fairness doctrine unnecessary, we will see competitive platforms arrive that will make government regulation of iTunes and the Playstore unnecessary.

In the case of games, I certainly don’t think any government action is needed today. For other types of media, perhaps we’ve already reached the point.


I append my above post to include you too, Rod.


Cheers. I am coming around to the view that the next big infrastructure project in my countries (UK/EU/USA) should be related to digital commerce and privacy.

I dont have any particular policy advocacy but it feels like most people of all political viewpoints think tech companies have gone too far and something needs to be done for citizens rights.

Even a “simple” move like striking down the legal ability of Apple & others to stop developers selling iOS apps on other stores might be on the table.

Afghanistan 11 is an interesting case because Apple literally changed the business terms on a whim. That feels very off.


Agree. If we are rapidly reachingthe point where a few companies can defacto control speech or expression in what has evolved into the public square, as the railroads once dominated commerce, then we need to find a unique regulatory solution to that unique problem. I agree with @Strollen that we aren’t quite there with games yet. We may be there with A/V communication/expression. What if Amazon bought Steam? Then there’d be a “Big Three” controlling all games with DRM and downloads/online sales.


We may get there soon. There are rumours again of Unity being shopped around. I cant think of any place they would land that wouldn’t reduce competition in gaming to a large degree. Insert ones own “means of production” aphorisms here.

I really hope they decide to go public instead. I would also suggest now is a good time to do it.


Unless you’re using it in a generic sense, free speech is a Constitutional right in the United States. It has nothing to do with Apple not carrying certain games. You keep using language about people “not being allowed to create”, and that would constitute actual censorship. But that is not at all what’s happening here.

That’s what we’re disagreeing about.

I’ll take Extreme Analogies for $100, Alex. :)



On the topic of unspoken rules, i’ve heard podcasts about moderators on large subreddits explain that actually delineating rules causes people to break the rules, because they can then plausibly deny their trolling is not in violation since they custom tailored it to get around the rules. And if you revise the rules to account for their behavior, they turn around and tailor their follow up content to get around those new revisions, ad infinitum.

For some reason a lot of Silicon Valley types have decided that to defend the spirit of the law requires hiding the letter of the law, since bad actors will use the that definition of the law to get around it and violate the spirit of it.


Which, in turn, makes said rules seem arbitrary and capricious when unevenly applied.

There’s not really a ‘winning’ play here from the establishment of a framework. The reality is that this can only be fixed by hiring enough competent people to do the required hard work.

But companies like Apple find this anathema to them, so instead take the expedient course and simply dump stuff that causes a fuss. Easier and cheaper to be capricious than consistent. It’s all risk aversion.

Which makes it entirely exploitable by bad actors, and also allows far worse examples to exist below the radar.


This is one of the most Orwellian things I’ve read this year (no fear, Enidgm, I don’t think you are Big Brother) or maybe the most Kafka-esque thing I’ve read all year (however, we are all Joseph K).

“No,” said the man at the window, who threw his book down on a coffee table and stood up. “You can’t go away when you’re under arrest.” “That’s how it seems,” said K. “And why am I under arrest?” he then asked. "That’s something we’re not allowed to tell you. Go into your room and wait there. Proceedings are underway and you’ll learn about everything all in good time.