Deus Ex The Fall Locks Out Jailbroken iOS Devices

A new chapter in the Deus Ex universe dropped yesterday and all reviews indicate that it's actually a pretty good mobile game, relative to the limits of that platform. Unfortunately, there's a substantial hidden caveat. If you own a jailbroken device, Deus Ex: The Fall won't let you pull the trigger. You're allowed to buy the game no problem, but as soon as you try to shoot anything, the game helpfully informs you that only non-jailbroken devices are actually able to fire.

While I suppose this technically aids an extra layer of difficulty to anyone wanting to try a hardcore sneak mode, it's not going to be much fun for people who prefer more traditional play -- or simply want a range of options. Keep in mind, jailbreaking a device isn't the same thing as pirating software. Jailbreaking on an Apple device allows you to use the phone on multiple carriers, allows the installation of software from alternative app stores like Cydia, and can be used to customize a phone in ways Apple doesn't allow. If you want a different default option for web browsing, for example, jailbreaking is the only way to get it.

It's not as pretty as the original, but it still looks decent.

While piracy is illegal, jailbreaking has been explictly recognized as legal under the DMCA and Apple can't stop you from doing it, though the company notes that jailbreaking a device does void the warranty. Eidos apparently feels that legal isn't good enough. The company's decision to lock out jailbroken devices without bothering to say so in the App Store description has upset a number of gamers who justly feel as though they paid for a product they're now unable to use. It's not clear if software pirates will be able to bypass the lockout, but presumably they will at some point, thus ensuring that the only people who wind up punished by this are those who dared to make use of a legal right while wanting to pay Eidos something for a quality product.

Image courtesy of Kotaku. Deus Ex: The Fail

This is the sort of decision that turns people into pirates. while it's possible to un-jailbreak a phone, doing so is a pain and requires that you repeat the jailbreaking process if you want to use apps or software you've acquired from a third party after playing the game.

Eidos needs to clean this up, either with full refunds to game buyers or, preferably, by removing the jailbreak lockout altogether. As the owner of a locked iPhone 4S, I was planning to buy the game but am going to put off doing so until the company fixes this mistake. Punishing your fans isn't an effective way to secure a product and it costs far more in goodwill than you earn in sales. In the case of jailbroken devices, switching back to default status to play a single game may not be practical for some users and paying customers shouldn't be the ones getting reamed.