Developer frustrated that Apple grants Game Center support to pirated iOS apps

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  • Reply 41 of 145
    nobodyynobodyy Posts: 377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    Dude, I know you like to comment, but you should try to stick to things where you know the facts.



    Since jail-breaking is legal, Apple cannot stop it. Apple has no standing regarding the downloading of pirated apps, which inevitably takes place on a different site from the distribution of jail-breaks. Should the jail-break DMCA ever be rescinded Apple will have standing in that instance and will no doubt aggressively attack jail-breakers with every legal and technical tool that they can.



    Just because jailbreaking your iOS device is legal doesn't mean Apple can't continue to play a cat and mouse game to prevent their devices from being jailbroken. By jailbreaking being legal, it's just syaing that Apple can't go after someone for releasing a method to jailbreak your iOS device or having a jailbroken iOS Device. Apple can use the "technical tool" to prevent jailbreaking.



    Sadly, as a developer, I would rather people be locked into iOS rather than iOS being open through a jailbreak. I've first hand had apps stolen from me (even cheap $0.99 ones), and I know it sucks to feel like you're getting nothing for your work.
  • Reply 42 of 145
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    This is not true. Apple allows people to put purchased apps on up to 10 devices. For example, I buy all my kids games through my account. However, each device can have its own Game Center account that is not tied to the account that purchased the game, so each kid can have their own high scores.



    This btw is the answer. Apparently this DEV did not understand what he was signing up for. I would guess less then one of ten copies he suspects is pirated actually is. Would have been cool if some thought and knowledge about how iOS works would have found its way into the story.
  • Reply 43 of 145
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Povilas View Post


    Last time i checked you don't even have to jailbreak to use cracked iOS apps.



    Yeh, there are various exploits that have been used to do that, but Apple can be expected to tighten those up, and tighten up use of developer tools for the same purpose. Apple has far more options for controlling security on an un-compromised OS than it does on a cracked one.
  • Reply 44 of 145
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fabian9 View Post


    Would you mind elaborating on how I'm confusing anything here and what iTunes has to do with it?



    The scenario I described above happens on the device, not on iTunes.



    You log in to the iTunes (App) Store, it checks your account, and checks your update request against your purchases.



    That has nothing to do with an App's DRM implementation.
  • Reply 45 of 145
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    This is not true. Apple allows people to put purchased apps on up to 10 devices. For example, I buy all my kids games through my account. However, each device can have its own Game Center account that is not tied to the account that purchased the game, so each kid can have their own high scores.



    Thank you. This is also what i like to do with my wife's account andmine. Great that you confirmed it could be done.
  • Reply 46 of 145
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    What a ridiculous thing to say.



    Who cares if a bunch of criminals don't have Game Centre? There is no good, legitimate reason to jailbreak your phone. If you do so to get "freedom" then you shouldn't get your nose out of joint if you are denied access to a paid service that you "freed" yourself from.



    BS! There are several legitimate reason to jailbreak our phones.

    Themes, changes in the UI, (previously personal hotspots), etc.



    I hate the idea of piracy and think people who steal games should be severly punished! At the same time I am amused that people care about their high scores this much.



    Again...PAY for your damned games you freaking thieves!!
  • Reply 47 of 145
    stuffestuffe Posts: 394member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fabian9 View Post


    Would you mind elaborating on how I'm confusing anything here and what iTunes has to do with it?



    The scenario I described above happens on the device, not on iTunes.



    He means the App store App. That app has the ability to cross reference the binary you are trying to update against your Apple ID so check you are a valid purchaser of that app. This relies on phoning home as it were to Apple HQ to check you account history and all that. That is totally different to just running the App not he OS, which has no access to this sort of information. So, in short, Running the App = OK as the OS doesn't know better. Updating it via iTunes App Store will catch you out and prevent you from updating. But not from running. 2 separate processes.
  • Reply 48 of 145
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 515member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post


    How do you determine "pirated"? When an application is tied to a single iTunes account but frequent multiple devices, you can simply compare number of sales VS unique device IDs. Without being able to tie into iTunes, how do you know if the user bought the app or transfered from a different device?



    While there definitely IS piracy, as you point out: The numbers from multiple devices really make it harder to come up with an accurate count.



    In my home: iPad2, 2 iPads (kids), my iPhone 4, daughter's iPod touch. Buy a game and install it and if the developer is looking at Game Center IDs, he's seeing 4 GC IDs for one sale. If he looked at device IDs, he'd see 5 devices for 1 sale (80% 'piracy'). iPhone 5 comes out, I pick one up and install there, and if you look at device ID you're thinking there's another pirated copy out there (now 6:1 installs:sales ratio) - but they're all totally legitimate.



    It's not that you don't have piracy, but - unlike on the Android side - I don't think it's 90%, at least not if you have reasonable sales numbers. If you have a low sales volume (1000 units), then piracy probably does look much larger, but it's definitely not as black/white as counting Game Center IDs.
  • Reply 49 of 145
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Nobodyy View Post


    Just because jailbreaking your iOS device is legal doesn't mean Apple can't continue to play a cat and mouse game to prevent their devices from being jailbroken.



    Absolutely, they'll continue to do that, but there are limits to how aggressive they can be about it, their current policy of breaking them with each OS revision is clearly limited, tethered jail-breaks particularly are hard to completely stop.
  • Reply 50 of 145
    stuffestuffe Posts: 394member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wovel View Post


    This btw is the answer. Apparently this DEV did not understand what he was signing up for. I would guess less then one of ten copies he suspects is pirated actually is. Would have been cool if some thought and knowledge about how iOS works would have found its way into the story.



    I'd like to know how you settled on that figure. To follow to follow it to it's conclusion either out of each 10 instances of the game installed there is 1 legitimate install, 1 pirate install, and 8 subsequent installs shared between the 2 users on other devices. So the average user, whether legit or not, installs a game on 5 devices? I think not. But then that's why we have opinions I suppose.



    A 90% piracy rate seems about right to me. Check out recent PC game give-aways where the dev ran a *pay what you like* system allowing you to legitimately pay 1 penny for an app, and they still reported approx 10 times the number of installs against purchases.
  • Reply 51 of 145
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by katastroff View Post


    You log in to the iTunes (App) Store, it checks your account, and checks your update request against your purchases.



    That has nothing to do with an App's DRM implementation.



    I never said it did. I was illustrating how apple already checks your purchased apps against those installed on your device, so there is nothing stopping them from implementing the same method in the gamecenter app.
  • Reply 52 of 145
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I don't think Apple should disable Game Center if your device is jailbroken



    I do.



    I don't think jailbreaking should be illegal or anything. Far from. I just don't think users should expect any level of official support once you've taken the product off the rails.



    That goes for any device from any manufacturer.
  • Reply 53 of 145
    stuffestuffe Posts: 394member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post






    Possibly, but I'm not sure you can tell if your app is pirated.

    .



    The dev should point out how how he does it exactly for interest, but be assured using a clumsy installs V sales method is not it. The dev knows his apps metrics in other ways, and can report back internally without resorting to external stats. Any iOS title can identify it'w own legitimacy internally without ever knowing any details on IDs and sales numbers, and simple splash screen "pirated!", and indeed some do just that.
  • Reply 54 of 145
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 515member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    ...

    Apple's policies allow for 5 devices (or is it 10?) to download the same app from one purchase. Each of them has a unique GameCenter ID. Telling which ones are purchased isn't that trivial.

    ...



    I'm not sure - I have more than 5 devices total and have never seen a limit. You can only authorize your iTunes account on 5 machines at once (and so presumably your Mac App Store apps), but I don't think that iTunes is keeping track of device ids in the same manner. I'm not aware of any 'un-authorize this iOS device' type of function, so it's possible that iOS app installs aren't limited in install count at all.



    But as you say, if the head of the household is buying the app and installing it on the kids devices, it's both legit and will look like piracy from the numbers.
  • Reply 55 of 145
    stuffestuffe Posts: 394member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrstep View Post


    While there definitely IS piracy, as you point out: The numbers from multiple devices really make it harder to come up with an accurate count.



    In my home: iPad2, 2 iPads (kids), my iPhone 4, daughter's iPod touch. Buy a game and install it and if the developer is looking at Game Center IDs, he's seeing 4 GC IDs for one sale. If he looked at device IDs, he'd see 5 devices for 1 sale (80% 'piracy'). iPhone 5 comes out, I pick one up and install there, and if you look at device ID you're thinking there's another pirated copy out there (now 6:1 installs:sales ratio) - but they're all totally legitimate.



    It's not that you don't have piracy, but - unlike on the Android side - I don't think it's 90%, at least not if you have reasonable sales numbers. If you have a low sales volume (1000 units), then piracy probably does look much larger, but it's definitely not as black/white as counting Game Center IDs.



    This is an excellent scenario to show how these numbers can be confusing, but as I have tried to point out this is almost certainly not the only method devs have to identify illegitimate copies. That can be done internally within the app regardless of the above ID/device scenarios. We need to stop going down this avenue - the above post perfectly sums up the argument, now we just have to accept that just because it won't work doesn't mean there aren't other ways. This is the straw man argument.
  • Reply 56 of 145
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,617member
    Apple should just block jail broken handsets. Just add them to a blacklist in the same way Microsoft does when it identifies hacked xbox consoles running pirated software. Blacklist the device using the uuid.
  • Reply 57 of 145
    minderbinderminderbinder Posts: 1,703member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    This is not true. Apple allows people to put purchased apps on up to 10 devices. For example, I buy all my kids games through my account. However, each device can have its own Game Center account that is not tied to the account that purchased the game, so each kid can have their own high scores.



    And this would lead to the number of registered players being higher than the number of sales. But not by a factor of ten to one, that definitely looks like piracy although it may be impossible to tell to what degree.



    But it seems like apple should be able to match device ID with purchase history and know if an app is pirated (at least in the case of apps that use a network connection). Or is that something that is defeated by the jailbreaking and piracy?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hohlecow View Post


    If I, as a developer, can tell that my app is pirated, surely Apple can.



    Can you tell specifically how many pirated copies? Or whether a given gamecenter user is using a pirated copy? Knowing that piracy exists and knowing which users are doing the pirating aren't the same thing.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    Even if Apple could do this, and I'm not sure whether their existing technical limitations would permit it, Apple won't. To do so would degrade the consumer's experience in favour of the developer, and while Apple values developers, it values consumers more.



    It was exactly the same thing back in iPod days. The recording industry complained that the iPod was a tool for pirates, and they hated the fact that CD rips could be put on it - they wanted it to be iTunes only. Apple told them to get stuffed, because to do what they wanted would have damaged the consumer experience. Apple would rather that 10 pirates enjoy a free game than 1 genuine user suffers inconvenience, which is why their DRM is invariably lightweight and non-intrusive.



    I don't see the logic here. If Apple was able to put restrictions on pirated apps, how would that hurt paying customers (because after all, people using bootlegged copies aren't really customers)? What inconvenience would happen to genuine users?



    The mp3 situation is different because iTunes can't tell if a copy is illegal. If the app store can tell the difference, why not do what they can against pirated copies?
  • Reply 58 of 145
    stuffestuffe Posts: 394member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrstep View Post




    But as you say, if the head of the household is buying the app and installing it on the kids devices, it's both legit and will look like piracy from the numbers.



    It will only look like it if they decide that it is a suitable metric to use to identify piracy. If we as a comment community can debunk it in 30 minutes, I feel sure that others have reach this conclusion long ago.



    You are right, this won't work. Where we are wrong, is assuming that we think that they think it does. They do not use this method.
  • Reply 59 of 145
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stuffe View Post


    Not from looking at a Game Centre screen, but by performing a simple piece of investigation into something as simple as checking the size of the executable in bytes, or a checksum etc, he can cross reference against the legitimate original upload and confirm if it's the same or not in about 3 lines of code.



    ...which will be bypassed by a cracker in about the time it takes the programmer to type those 3 lines of code in.
  • Reply 60 of 145
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,469member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post


    How do you determine "pirated"? When an application is tied to a single iTunes account but frequent multiple devices, you can simply compare number of sales VS unique device IDs. Without being able to tie into iTunes, how do you know if the user bought the app or transfered from a different device?



    Apple can easily track pirated vs. legit apps by using and tracking the Serial numbers of sold apps.
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