Google has removed a pro-Hong Kong protestor game called The Revolution of Our Times from the Play Store, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. It marks the latest Hong Kong-related app to be pulled after Apple removed a crowdsourced mapping app used by protestors and Quartz’s news app.
While the game has been removed, a cached version of the Play Store page is still available on Google search (at least for now). As an actual game, there doesn’t seem to be too much here beyond a basic text-based Choose Your Own Adventure-style narrative that tells the story of a protestor.
In a statement released to TheWall Street Journal, a Google spokesman explained that the app was removed due to a Play Store policy that bans “capitalizing on sensitive events such as attempting to make money from serious ongoing conflicts or tragedies through a game.” The game, while free, did offer in-app purchases, ranging in cost from $0.99 to $14.99, according to the defunct Play Store page. Before being deleted, the app had been downloaded over 1,000 times, according to Google’s Play Store counter.
Unlike Apple’s recent App Store bans of HKmap.live (a crowdsourced mapping app that has been used by protestors during the ongoing protests in the city) and Quartz’s news app, Google’s takedown feels more in line with regular app store enforcement, although the rule leaves plenty of room for interpretation. For example, who decides what counts as “capitalizing on sensitive events”?
As events in Hong Kong continue to progress, with more and more companies drawn into the conflict, expect even more eyes to be on Apple and Google as the two tech companies continue to decide what apps should or should not be allowed to remain on their storefronts.