If you haven’t been under a rock then you know that Smite is one of the fastest growing battle arena games available on Android. It hasn’t earned that position without some controversy. The use of gods as battle characters is causing some religions to complain that the depiction is demeaning, disrespectful and discriminatory. How this will affect Smite’s standing within the Google Play terms and conditions is being watched closely.
The Hindu God Controversy
The inclusion of three of the major gods in the Hindu cosmos, and the way in which they were visually depicted caused an official complaint from the leader of the universal Hindu organization. They stated that such depictions and use of their gods was not only disrespectful to their religion, but purposely demeaning to all Hindus. They asked that the gods be removed from the game.
Smite’s creators issued a response that they did not mean any disrespect to the Hindu religion, but that all religions and gods were open game. In fact, they planned to be adding more gods to the game rather than taking out ones that may have offended people or caused them to feel disrespected.
What brings the concern about Google Play taking steps to ban Smite if it follows through on its announcement is the recent controversy over the Iron Dome games and apps that made it to its store. They have had to more clearly define what constitutes targeting a culture or a race in a demeaning or discriminatory way in a gaming world. That can most easily be translated into looking at how religions are respected since religion appears to be driving most of the strife in the world today.
If you were to take the announcement of Smite’s creators that they will just add more gods from every religion it leads to one very natural assumption – which soon Jesus Christ and Mohammed will be meeting in the Assault Arena. You can be assured that will not happen anytime soon. If it did, Smite would be wiped off the Google Play catalog faster than you could finish reading this sentence. The issue of respecting religion has come into greater play in the world’s political scene, and as there is more global economic issues involved in small politics – there is no way that anyone would jeopardize their bottom dollar to make a point.
Will it actually be banned?
Chances are Smite will be fine. What was an ill thought out response to a cultural concern is not thought to be actually implemented in a way that would violate Google Play’s terms and conditions. While Smite’s creators have shown a remarkable ignorance of the importance of religion and gods to the people who believe in them, it is assumed that somewhere they all have good friends with common sense who are cautioning them not to dare the line with Google Play’s limitations.