A developer behind the game ‘Corona Control Game’ has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Union for rejecting the game from publishing in the App Store. The same game was also rejected by Google, which is also on the receiving end of the antitrust complaint.
German developer Florian Mueller saw his game rejected from the two app stores that matter the most, in November 2020, which led him to file a complaint earlier this week with the European Union. His complaint says that Apple and Google are holding back innovation and breaking European Union laws and regulations.
Corona Control Game got approval after changing its name to Viral Days
As per Reuters, Florian Mueller says:
The stated goal of ‘ensuring the credibility of health and safety information’ does not justify blanket rules based on authorship or merely the combination of a broad category and a topic”
Florian Mueller intends to file his complaints in other places including India, Germany, Netherlands, Britain, and Australia. It is important to note that Mueller later updated his app to remove any mentions of coronavirus, and renamed it to Viral Days, after which it got approved by both Apple and Google.
Apple and Google had previously made it clear that any COVID-19 related apps must be from the government, to avoid any misinformation and incorrect data and advice. Google provided a statement to Reuters in which it clarified its stance that apps referencing COVID-19 are only approved by they are created, commissioned, or authorized by an official government entity. Apple did not respond to Reuters, but their response would not be so different than Google’s statement on this matter.
We checked out Viral Days on the App Store and the game is completely free and contains no ads or in-app purchases, which makes it clear that the developer did not intend to profit off the pandemic. There are good intentions behind the game and it spreads awareness regarding makes, hospitalization, social distancing, and so on, which are very relevant to the pandemic.
Our take on the matter is that Florian Mueller good get this game authorized by a government entity which would help shut down any questions regarding its credibility. From Google and Apple’s perspective, allowing non-government authorized apps regarding coronavirus in the stores would open the flood gates to all developers, and there would be no guarantee that they might not start making money off COVID-19 later on with an update, or misinform their audience. In this sensitive category of apps, and the current situation around the world, strict rules are necessary but these stores that have an audience of billions of users.