Laura June

Breaking news

Apple begins pulling creepy, unlicensed Disney and Nickelodeon games from App Store

The company begins to take action, but has not said how the apps got there in the first place.

Two days after Input reported that there were hundreds of unofficial — often disturbing — knock-off Disney and Nickelodeon gaming apps aimed at children in Apple’s App Store, the company has begun removing the apps from the store. Some of the games found had been available for longer than a year.

It remains unclear — partially due to the way App Store guidelines are written — on exactly how many fronts the apps in question violated Apple’s policies, though many of the titles at least infringed on the IP of the characters they portrayed.

It’s also unclear if the apps were removed because Disney and other companies filed complaints, or if Apple removed them on its own. As of this afternoon, it seems nearly all of the apps mentioned by name in the initial report were no longer available in the App Store.

The larger question remains how these IP-infringing apps made their way to the App Store in the first place. Given that much of the content was inappropriate for the ages it was targeted at, using clearly named Disney and Nickelodeon characters, it seems likely it would have been caught during Apple's rigorous review process, which the company says is carried out by humans for every app. Some have even called that process too heavy-handed, which makes the existence of children's apps of this nature all the more puzzling.

We have reached out to Apple for comment, and will update this story as more information becomes available.