The Winter Wolves Android developer account has been suspended due to what the dev is calling "Google censorship madness". For a bit of a refreshed, Winter Wolves is one of the many developers who was caught up in the wave of attempted censorship on adult-oriented video games on Steam more than a year ago. Now it seems that they are facing similar issues on Android and they've ultimately decided to abandon making games for mobile devices entirely.
The announcement that the Winter Wolves Android developer account was suspended was released on the developer's official forums and posted on Twitter, where they talked in part about the reasoning behind the suspension:
Some "violations" were showing women with SOME cleavage (not even that much!). Women in BIKINI (which is of course an obscenity!!!) and then a false copyright claim (they were wrong since someone claimed to be the Bionic Heart author haha).Categorizing updating games as a "mega pain", the person behind Winter Wolves has made the decision to abandon development on mobile games in their entirety following the ban.
Anyway, today they blocked me, I can't access the developer account anymore. All is gone. I'm not even bothering to get it restored to be honest since it was a mega pain every time I wanted to update something...
"I'll probably focus on PC only which is a MUCH MORE [developer-friendly] environment than mobile", the developer said on their forums.
The dev further questions why there isn't a category or filter for adult content in the same way that Steam has implemented one. They understand the need to protect minors, but it seems like there's a solution here where everybody wins and Google decided not to take it. Riva, the owner of Winter Wolves, filed an appeal and Google declined to change it as he posted in a followup tweet.
For the immediate future, the Winter Wolves developer is looking into starting up a store on Itch.io as they believe they can't rely on sites that "change their mind on a whim", and has shared a variety of thoughts on the topic on Twitter, with it looking like it will be a significant drop in revenue. This year alone, Google Play has represented 12% of Winter Wolves income, which is a survivable loss according to another tweet.
If you'd like to support the developer following this unfortunate incident, you can check out their catalog of games on Steam. You can also buy directly on the Winter Wolves website (with free trials), or support them on Patreon, which will also give you access to their newest games as they release and bonus behind the scenes content.
Update: Winter Wolves have posted on their forums with news on an appeal that they had filed prior to this announcement. According to the dev, the following two images were highlighted as being in violation of the policies of the Google Play Store:
While these can certainly be viewed as somewhat risqué, I think it's safe to say that they're far away from full-blown nudity. Still, the dev has said that he views these images as "tame for his country/culture" and that his next game would have had similar imagery and likely faced the same problem, so he's standing by his decision to halt mobile development in the future.
What do you think of the Winter Wolves Android developer account being suspended? Do you think they're making the right move in abandoning mobile development?Let us know in the comments below!