The developer of an iOS game that offers Game Center support is frustrated with Apple over their apparent inability to block pirated games from the Game Center leaderboards.
GAMEized developer Luís Fonseca said in a blog posting that he had high hopes for his FingerKicks soccer game when it was released earlier this month. Over the first weekend of sales the game sold a modest 380 copies according to the sales stats in GAMEized's iTunesConnect account.
When logging into Game Center that Monday Fonseca saw that there were over 200 FingerKicks players listed on the leaderboards -- meaning a high percentage of users were playing and sharing awareness of the game. Anxious to track his sales, Fonseca started checking the number of player of FingerKicks on Game Center throughout the day. He did so because Apple only allows developers to see new sales at the end of the day. In the meantime the Game Center numbers could act as a barometer of how his sales were increasing.
The morning of the day after he last checked his sales, Game Center showed a whopping 1,000 players for FingerKicks. By that same evening the number of players jumped to 5,000. Fonseca was astonished at the high rate of sales and checked the official number in his developer account later that night. That's when he discovered that, despite over 5,000 Game Center players, FingerKicks had only sold an additional 160 copies over its opening weekend sales of 380 copies. A majority of the 5,000 FingerKicks Game Center players were pirating his app.
FingerKicks had fallen prey to massive pirating on jailbroken iPhones. That in itself incensed Fonseca, but more so, he was angry that Apple didn't have a way to block pirated games from GameCenter's leaderboards. "Most bewildering of all is that even with all their rhetoric chastising piracy and intellectual property theft, Apple apparently has no functional counter-piracy safeguards in place on their Game Center – essentially permitting users to play pirated software on their Game Center without any fear of reprisals or consequence," Fonseca wrote.
While Apple isn't responsible for app piracy, it is reasonable to expect that they should support their developers by implementing a way to stop games running on jailbroken devices from accessing GameCenter's leaderboards. Here's hoping that Apple can find a way to make this happen -- soon. And for those people who might have pirated the game: Grow up. It's US$0.99 and fun as hell. Piracy doesn't lead to development of future cool games, sales do.