In the hours since banning a number of Civil War games portraying the Confederate battle flag, Apple states that the ban only applies to games that use the flag in offensive ways. Historical games won't suffer the same fate, the company said in a statement sent to TechCrunch:
"We have removed apps from the App Store that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways, which is in violation of our guidelines. We are not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses."
Some banned apps are arguably educational
Apple's guidelines do bar offensive or harmful images in apps. However, the statement might make matters more confusing for some developers, as Apple appears to be removing all games that depict the flag. For instance, Ultimate General: Gettysburg, one banned title, uses the flag in its historical context. HexWar Games developer Andrew spoke with Touch Arcade about the ban and said, "We're in no way sympathetic to the use of the flag in an offensive way, we used it purely because historically that was the flag that was used at the time."
It's unclear if the banned games that used the Confederate flag for arguably educational purposes can be resubmitted for approval. Apple, already known for taking an overzealous approach to banning what it deems offensive material, is clearly responding to nationwide calls to take down the flag wherever it flies. However, it may need to make exceptions going forward.
Update 5:45pm ET: According to TechCrunch, Apple is working with some developers to get their games reinstated.