Game Suspended on Google Play??!!

Hi there,

Fake Slap! has been suspended on Google Play for violation of their violence policy. After a month on the store and three updates. WTF??!! 

We received this cold automatic little email and the game was off the store in a heartbeat:

Hi Developers at Mooi Studios,

After review, Fake Slap!, com.mooistudios.FakeSlap, has been suspended and removed from Google Play as a policy strike because it violates the violence policy.

Next Steps

  1. Read through the Violence policy for more details and examples of policy violations.
  2. Make sure your app is compliant with all policies listed in the Developer Program Policies. Remember additional enforcement could occur if there are further policy issues with your apps.
  3. If it’s possible to bring your app into compliance, you can sign in to your Developer Console and submit the policy compliant app using a new package name and a new app name.

Additional suspensions of any nature may result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts. If your account is terminated, payments will cease and Google may recover the proceeds of any past sales and/or the cost of any associated fees (such as chargebacks and transaction fees) from you.

If you’ve reviewed the policy and feel this suspension may have been in error, please reach out to our policy support team. One of my colleagues will get back to you within 2 business days.

Regards,

The Google Play Review Team

This is of course fucking ridiculous. Have noticed that they have games like GTA Vice City on their store?? Or other Trump games where, for example, Obama shoots him in the end? After reading the violence policy 50 times I am 1 million percent certain that we have not violated any policy of theirs (I read all of the others just in case). Their violence policy refers to seriously violent violence. Like showing people how to make bombs or kill themselves.  Our game is harmless cartoony satire meant to make people laugh (there isn’t even any blood!).

We assume a Trump supporter flagged our game because he didn’t like it, and that set the automatic wheels of Google Play in motion. The idea that one little bored troll (or a handful of them) can cause such immense and immediate damage to Google Play developers is beyond ridiculous and very very troubling. Why would anyone want to work on a game for months (or years) only to have it removed with no actual cause and barely any chance to reverse the decision? And potentially get your whole Google Developer account suspended? What ever happened to Google’s old motto “Don’t do evil”? Power and money corrupt them all it seems (those who know me already know what I think about what Apple has become…).

We of course appealed the suspension, but it has been 6 days and no answer yet (In their subsequent automatic email sent they claimed we will get an answer in 72 hours). We are gutted of course, but really hoping that some human is going to read our petition and see how utterly ridiculous this is.

But in the meantime, you can still get the game on the App Store and on Amazon. AMAZING that Apple is turning out easier to work with than Google. Who would have thought??

amazon

Hope to have an update soon,

Liran

Update: Google replied after two weeks. No luck. They are sticking to their guns and not willing to provide any further information, despite our attempts at further clarifying the situation. Here is a copy of the emails:

Hi Oscar,
After further review, your app will not be reinstated because it violates violence provisions of the Content Policy:
Our policy states:
  • Violence and Bullying: Depictions of gratuitous violence are not allowed. Apps should not contain materials that threaten, harass or bully other users.
If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.

Kind regards,

John
The Google Play Team

Our reply:

Hi John,
We find this decision very unfair and arbitrary.  We read the policies before we started developing the game and re-read it many more times since you suspended the app.  And we still don’t believe this game poses any violation to any of them.  Or at least not more than hundreds of other games of similar characteristics that are currently available through your store.
Punch The Trump” for example, has the exact same theme as ours and is way more violent, including blood, more realistic graphics and Obama shooting Trump dead towards the end.  And yet this game is available in Google Play and it seems to comply with the violence provisions of the policy.  There are also plenty of other examples of games with very graphic depictions of  violence like “Grand Theft Auto” that seem to comply.
This whole process has made a great deal of damage to our business and we can’t risk publishing a new version of the app because we clearly don’t understand the way you are interpreting this policy.  We would greatly appreciate if you reconsider, or could clarify why our game doesn’t comply with the violence provisions of the policy as opposed to the ones mentioned above.
Otherwise you’re pretty much killing this project and we’ll have to think twice before starting any other development for your platform.
Thanks.
John replied that he can’t give us more information. And then we received an email from Google asking how we rate their support service. The nerve.
Another Update: After getting the third denial, we spoke to a senior reporter from PolygonColin Campbell, who started sniffing around and requested a statement from Google. Five hours later we “mysteriously” got another email from Google saying that they are reinstating our game. Coincidence? I think not… But, at least the game is back on, right?
Game Suspended on Google Play??!!