While most of us are painfully aware of the app piracy that goes on in the jailbreak community, I don’t know if any of us knew it was this bad. TechCrunch highlighted a small iOS software firm last week that has witnessed first hand just how rampant the problem is.

GAMEized is the proud creator of FingerKicks, a simple $0.99 soccer (football) game for iOS devices. The app is the company’s first entry into Apple’s popular software platform, and it might just be their last…

GAMEized has been developing branded games and entertainment applications for quite a while now, but this time they wanted to try releasing a title for themselves. And after several hours of research and development, FingerKicks finally became a reality.

“We submitted the game to Apple and four days later the game was approved and submitted for sale worldwide.”

Dave Rosen, the founder of GAMEized, and the rest of his crew held their breath as they checked the sales numbers for the first day. 144 people purchased FingerKicks in its first 24 hours. While the number was low, it still showed promise.

The group saw similar numbers throughout opening weekend. Then that Tuesday, tired of waiting on the day’s sales data to post, the team decided to check out Apples Game Center to gauge their progress. Score.

There were over 2,200 FingerKicks players listed on the Game Center leader boards. They watched throughout the day as the number grew to 3,000, then 4,000, and then 5,000. Needless to say they were ecstatic. 5,000 players meant at least 5,000 sales right? Wrong.

When the group finally received their iTunesConnect purchase report, it only reflected 160 downloads- they were devastated. GAMEized just received a crash course in App Store piracy.

“We’ve always known about iPhone jailbreaking and of people who’d rather steal than pay for someone’s hard work, but we had no idea the extent of this problem and the sheer volume of people who are willing to crack existing apps just to save – or steal – $0.99.”

Angry with their situation, GAMEized’s lead developer Luis Fonseca took to the company’s blog to vent his frustration. He couldn’t believe that Apple had no functional counter-piracy safeguards in place- not even in their Game Center.

“As of this writing, FingerKicks has sold only 1163 legitimate copies but there are at least 15,950 pirated copies being played on a regular basis on Apple’s Game center. That equates to an astonishing 91% of downloads that are pirated.”

In all fairness, the nearly 16,000 pirated copies of FingerKicks isn’t a reflection of actual losses. Who’s to say that any of those people would have downloaded the game had there not been a cracked version available?

Regardless, the amount of piracy going on is sickening and it really paints the jailbreak community in a bad light. I’m kind of curious myself as to why Apple hasn’t done anything to counter app piracy. Are they completely powerless?

What do you think?

  • Jason Masters

    There are smart developers that have built in security in their own apps that detect a cracked version and they leave a Lil message like buy it from the AppStore or this is a cracked version etc it’s the the devs own fault stop being so damn naive and crying about it like a baby make your own apps secure and if you don’t know how ask those devz that have that security built in so they get their sales! Once again the crybabies are complaining about piracy instead of acting like those smart devs who put security in their apps they acted.

    • Karma32

      Doesn’t matter. Even those apps that have those security features to block hacked software gets hacked eventually. When I used to download apps illegally a year ago and got that message from an app, i would jst wait a few days until that app gets hacked properly.

      If developers dont want to get pirated, then they need to release their app as free and put in in-app purchasing to upgrade to full or other things with in-app purchasing. Easy as that. Haven’t been in the jailbreaking scene in over a year, but when I did it, that was the only secure way for an app to not get hacked. and if that’s still the way it is, then I think it would be best for all apps to be released as free and have an in-app purchase to upgrade to full.

      • Chris12923

        Sorry to say but there are downloadable content cracks in Cydia now so that’s not safe either. I’d say there is no way to prevent piracy. Sure for a bit you can but it’s just another cat and mouse game.

  • ic0edx

    Hey Cody, may I ask the source of this article and who are you quoting?

    • TechCrunch, as highlighted in the first paragraph

    • Yeah, Tech Crunch is a source. But the quoted text is from Luis Fonseca, who is the lead developer at GAMEized. It’s from his post (also mentioned in the article) on GAMEIzed’s blog.

      • ic0edx

        Thanks a lot. I always wondered how all this information comes together. I feel like iDB is the most organized site. All other sites are so cluttered with adds.

    • Thanks. We put a lot of work into the site, so it’s always cool to get positive feedback.

  • Thank you Cody, Looking interesting

  • Juan

    Why are we “painfully aware”? If you (general public) had a clue about software development, you’d know It’s just a fact of life. If you create software, expect it to be pirated. It’s time these developers stop crying about it and actually /DO/ something about it. BeeJive is a perfect example that has implemented their own anti-piracy measures… and it works..

    So really, I don’t feel any pain for these developers. They want their daddy (Apple) to take care of it for them instead of doing it themselves.

    • Craig

      +1, I am in no way advocating piracy but let’s not beat around the bush, we all do it in some way, shape or form, it is nothing new and happens in every area of sales and will never stop so moaning about it is never going to change anything. Tbh, especially with apps on the app store, most aren’t even worth paying for, there are that many poop apps with no way of knowing how good, or bad is often the case, they actually are before you buy, granted some of the major games offer lite versions, a lot of the independent apps don’t, stricter quality control is required imo but that’s jut my 2 cents.

      • Becky

        Craig your Gay! Poop on you…..

    • mike

      What is it that beejive does ?

  • once a thief always a thief !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Juan

      thanks moral police. once an idiot, always an idiot.

      • David


  • Make that 16,001 pirated copies. This Jew likes to try an app before buying lol.

    • Dane

      Haha. I was thinking the same thing. This article just invites pirates to get this app

      • Heillo

        That’s exactly right .

  • I download games and apps for free all the time… but now I’m finding several developers are securing their apps! You will get a messege stating the app is a cracked version and to buy it at the app store.

    So I agree that its a Developers Problem if they don’t take action to secure their apps before deploy!
    AppTrackr has new games and apps hourly all free! Thanks Developers!!!

  • Casey

    The problem is that most apps aren’t worth paying for. I can’t tell you how many games I have paid for and within minutes I regretted it. Even $.99 is too much for most of the crap in the app store.

  • numbnuts

    while I pity their plight they shouldn’t complain if they don’t employ their own in-app security. these are the type of folk who’d leave their vehicle unlocked and then complain if it was stolen because they couldnt be bothered to lock it themselves and expected someone else to do it. they can’t lay blame solely on Apple for their lack of foresight.

  • is that why ur holding ur head down ? because ur a thief ? if u need 99 cents i will let u barrow it.

    • Josh18

      Maybe someone can lend you 99 cents so you could put it towards English lessons, punctuation exists for a reason you know.

      • Kevin

        That’s rich from the guy who doesn’t know the difference between a comma and a period… Punctuation does exist for a reason, you know.

      • Kevin’s Father

        I’m guessing you are American, after all, you twist the English language to suit your own needs and change the way words are spelled, for example:

        1) Colour
        2) Paedo

        I ended with that1 for a reason, have a good day Kevin 🙂

  • Casey

    The problem is that most apps aren’t worth paying for. I can’t tell you how many games I have paid for and within minutes I regretted it. Even $.99 is too much for most of the junk in the app store.

  • I would think that at the most 10% of the people who downloaded a cracked version would have paid for it if they had to. A pirated copy does not mean a lost sale.

    It is up to each developer to implement their own security, but Apple could implement their own copy protection better as well.

  • Burge

    If they want to do something about it ..ask Apple to block all the idevices that have hacked copies from the game centre ..Apple could do all he devs a faver and sort out the hacked apps…but like others have said on here the devs can do something about it themselves …if you don’t protect your product your going to get riped off..

    • Jason Masters

      Yeah but is it apples responsibility or the devs? I mean even when you park a car in a garage they have signs everywhere posting they arent liable
      In the same way the apps must be secure when being parked in apples garage it’s no different then any other garage correct?

  • fojam

    wait… if only 1% of idevices are jailbroken, how can it be that big of an issue…?

    • Josh

      Over 200 million idevices have been sold. That’s still 2 million idevices jailbroken and still growing. Imagine how many people pirated angry birds…

      • Blapp

        Imagine how many of those 200 million BOUGHT angry birds….

  • dabe

    Well according to the article after “several HOURS of research and dev” they submitted it to apple. The game only took a few hours to make?? Lol I wouldn’t pay anything for a game made that quickly, maybe make better games if you want more sales, just a crazy idea.

    • Carlos Gomes

      Time is not directly correlated to quality.

  • Leon.

    Yeah honestly, if your game is really good you’ll sell good even with piracy going on. Look at Infinity Blade and Angry birds.

  • DeltaJB

    Ha ha

  • Gurzi

    To me, Fonseca’s speech seems to be one of an upset dude about the fact that he ain’t got a buck for those 16000 ‘ilegal’ downloads. Let’s do the math and the total amount of euro is 15840. He don’t care about the jailbreak community cracking their app. I be he wouldn’t have said a shit if he had that huge amount of money and there where another ten thousand people who’ve cracked the app.

    • sellweek

      Well, actually it is just 12640 euro, because 0.99$ -> 0.79€

  • Bomber

    Two points…. 1- most phones are not jailbroken. 2- people who jailbreak – in other words ´crack´ their phone won´t have an issue with cracked apps…¨
    ¨<Nobody´s right, nobody´s wrong…. we´re all searching for where we belong….hmmm….could have been a song

  • Weebsurfer

    Here we go. I predict all the developers are going to build in anti piracy and then the Patent vultures will come out and kill the little guy that actually did the work. I see mobile app developing coming to a screeching halt soon. 🙁

    Dear JB dev teams, kill the pirate sources. They’re the issue!

  • yum yum yum

    i agree a large amount of apps arnt worth paying for. app stores needs a 24hr returns policy or something like that. i got my iphone for the sole purpose of jailbreaking and downloading apps for free. however i have become rather amazed by the amount of good apps out there. not really in the app store but in the jailbreak community. i have purchased only a handful of app store apps and that was only after downloading the cracked version first. ive done the same with cydia apps too. started downloading cracked versions but once i realized just how amazing these apps were i was totally willing to pay for them.
    related buy unrelated i am totally apposed to paying for other forms of digital media like movies,pc/console games/tv shows/major label music but i will happily pay for ebooks. because the price is right and the same can be said for apps. if the app is good and something you use all the time then buy it but if its something you will use only once or a game you will play only a few times. is there really a point in buying it

  • Neogeo71

    People, research and buy apps. If we font, it only drives good Devs away. I too think it would be easy for apple to block them from game center. Apple needs to do better at assiting Devs with this.
    I jailbreak for the tweaks and bitesms. I like knowing there is no hidden crap in my app and that I can get updates easily.
    I am not judging but I no longer assist anyone with jailbreaking. I used to show them all the neat things they could add to the functionality of the phone and yhey would always ask if they could get apps for free.
    I like that the apps are so cheap on iPhone, saved tons buying the kids iPods over gameboy, psp etc.
    I just read reviews, touch arcade is a great site.
    And I wait for games to go on sale a few weeks after their debut. Don’t pirate, it just ends up making the AppStore suck.
    Piracy killed the dreamcast, or helped end it anyway… Still my fav console of all time…

  • I just really don’t care. I’m gonna be honest here. When I want an app, I check apptrackr first. Just be honest, people!!!

  • That1Guy

    You know you don’t HAVE to be jailbroken to use cracked apps right? There are things like Crappstore and iresign. Of course those things are more technical but it might just not be the jailbreakers that are using cracked apps.

    • Jason Masters

      That’s true even with the psp there is a way to get signed games without even being hacked which is piracy without a jailbreak so there are other things at work here.

  • Pirates of the World

    If an app is good, people will buy it, If it’s not, they will pirate. That’s my motto second. My first motto is… yo oh, a pirate life is for me, yo oh, the pirate life, the pirate life, a pirate life is the life for me. Apps, games, music. If the shit sucks, we pirate and delete. If it’s good, will buy it. If it’s good and we still pirate, then oh well. This is the digital age. Don’t blame us, blame Al Gore lol.

  • Nikky

    I tend to think that offering free apps, with in-app purchase to remove ads, and selling ads spot (in the application) tend to be an effective revenue model nowadays. I tend to think that this is a win-win, consumer can try before they buy while developers can make money from selling ads. While money earning from ads is uncomparable to charging 99 cents/apps, but atleast developers should have a steady stream of revenue from other source. At the end of the day, consumer who love the app will purchase it whilst motivate developers to cater better apps, something other than fart or radio apps.

  • Mena

    Besides not all of those copies are necessarily cracked. You’re still able to share a purchased app with up to five people through homesharing!

  • Bones

    I bet developer has cracked music and apps on his phone.

  • Tom

    Everybody seems to have missed the obvious point. 90-99% of iphones aren’t jailbroken. If they aren’t buying it then the app obviously isn’t wanted. You dont need extra protection, you need to develop an app that people actually want. I have paid for all the apps I have kept even if I have tried them out “free” first. FFS what kind of twat wouldnt

  • Faizul

    good I like that ios app developers get less money

  • Joe

    Well, let’s not blame the Jailbreakers now. People who don’t jailbreak can purchase a dev cert an slot and use iresign to get an app on there idevice downloading it from places such as app tracker. Im not saying it’s right but the reality is that it doesnt matter what the developer or apple does to try and stop it. There will always be another way to hack them. If you think for one second that’s not the case then your just kidding yourself. Jailbreaking is easier but not the only way to hack an app. I have done it myself to try apps out before I buy because I’m not going to pay money for crap. If I like it I buy, if I don’t obviously I’m not going to continue to use it. I mainly reserve this way for the more expensive apps because you pay 19.99 for an app that sucks and has no function. I don’t think so. Anyways, there really is no way to stop it. It will always be there because there will always be a loophole and someone will exploit it. That’s how the iPhone keeps getting jailbreaked. Humans are not perfect therefore neither is the software we create.

  • It would be interesting to know location of the pirates on a lot of these. Is their app only available in the US store, for example?

  • The Wizard’s Baker

    That game probably sucked

  • The Wizard’s Baker

    And I cant even remember how many times I purchased an app that didn’t offer a lite version and ended up in deep dissapointment. Who’s the real thieves?

  • BrainCluster


    Apple won’t add an anti-piracy system in iOS ’cause they alredy have it since iPhone OS 2. You can’t sync an .ipa on a non-jailbreaked iPhone and Apple doesn’t approve jailbreaking and fight against it all the time wich means they fight piracy.

    So when we compare this situation with a car theft it’s way way WAY more complicated then you described it. It can’t even be compared properly but since im bored i’ll give it a try.

    It’s like you rent a garage built by a known garage construction company (gcc) and owned by the thief. You get the only keyes of the garage for the time the car is in it for extra safety and leave the car unlocked feeling pretty sure it would be safe. So the garage owner (thief) doesn’t have the key but he has information about the flaws that the gcc did when they were building the garage. Since the garage is his he has the time and privacy to use the flaw and steal the unlocked car. So let’s say that this happens many times in garages built by the same gcc. They find out about the flaw and work on fixing it but this takes time and many cars will still be vulnerable. And when they fix it the thieves will alway find another flaw they can use. After all, it’s they’re garage, they can examine it how much they want. So the gcc is helpless as is the car owner ‘couse his garage is too far from the city and it wouldn’t be profitable to drive that far. It’s just a cat and mouse game. In the metaphore and in reality.

    I told you it would be more complicated. Hope you get it. 😀

  • Ben

    I don’t pay for an app before I’ve tried it. If I want to keep it after assessing it I then pay (or, if I don’t want it, i delete it).

    Sorry – that’s how it is.

    Dev’s/apple – you want me to change? Well, I want you to change – either offer a trial (like Angry Birds) or allow me to get a ‘no argument’ 24 hour refund if I am disappointed.

    Apple doesn’t allow refunds, acording to the Terms and Conditions. This goes against the EU Distance Selling Directive. I can’t afford to take them to court. I wish someone would.

    I will always pay if, in my opinion, what I am buying is worth buying.

  • All I’ll add is that I will NEVER pay over $5 for an app ever again. Every time I have purchased a $7-$10 app it goes on some insane sale within the next week or two. Who would have predicted that EA would drop all $10 ipad games to $.99 for 4 days in July? Lame.

    i <3 appcake/apptrakr/Installous/xSellize/SiNfuL

  • Rob

    Piracy Is Good, Not Worth Wasting Your Money On Crap, Like Windows 7 Or A .99 cents App, Just Pirate It.

  • Rob12344

    Piracy Is Good, Not Worth Wasting Your Money On Junk, Like Windows Or A .99 cents App, Just Pirate It.

  • anon

    I pirate apps all the time to see if I will buy them. I got a statement from my bank for the year and I spent just over £400 in the app store. It is not all black and white.

  • Érico

    let’s stop dowloading music from internet people!

  • mersim

    i would never pay for an app sorry,i just buy an iphone but all the apps have to be free for me 😉

    • Jason Masters

      Keeping it real!

      • anon

        real dumb

      • Jason Masters

        Wow awesome comeback for a 2 year old couldn’t think of anything more witty eh it’s ok we can’t all be anonymous right? Blame Canada!!!!!

  • anon

    Just bought an app from reading a review. 5 minutes in I knew it was a bunch crap. Should have pirated first to see if I liked it.