Google has taken down a highly controversial game called Slavery Simulator from its app store after it sparked outrage in Brazil. The game, developed by Magnus Games and launched on April 20, allowed players to engage in the “buying and selling” of black characters.
Local media reported that the app had been downloaded over 1,000 times before its removal on Wednesday.
Brazil, a country still grappling with the legacy of slavery, which was only abolished in 1888, expressed deep concern over the game. The developer boasted in the game’s description that users could “exchange, buy, and sell slaves,” while also allowing players to subject black characters to various forms of torture. Screenshots of the game revealed players being given the choice to either liberate the enslaved characters or “use slaves for your own enrichment” and prevent the abolition of slavery in order to accumulate wealth.
Upon its removal, the game received a rating of four out of five stars, with one review expressing the desire for more options for inflicting torture. Social media users in Brazil voiced their anger over the game, and several prominent politicians called for higher standards to be imposed on tech companies. Renata Souza, a black activist and regional politician from Rio de Janeiro, tweeted, “Blatant racism. It is absurdly violent. Google and the developer must answer for this crime of hatred and racism.”
Brazil’s Public Prosecutor’s office has initiated an investigation into how the game, known as Simulador de Escravidão in Portuguese, was allowed to be available on the Google Play Store. The Ministry for Racial Equality has scheduled a meeting with Google to discuss the establishment of “anti-racist content moderation” policies while affirming that the developers will face legal consequences.
In response to the incident, a Google spokesperson stated that the Play Store does not permit apps that promote violence, incite hatred based on race or ethnicity, or depict or endorse gratuitous violence or dangerous activities. The spokesperson emphasised that appropriate action is taken when violations are identified.