Foul!

image credit umpire.org

Com2Us are the distributors and developers on a semi-popular game in the Android Market -- Homerun Battle 3D.  Recently, in order to try to kill the rampant cheating that goes on in the multi-player online games, they made a huge mistake.  Com2Us sent out an update that blocked anyone who had rooted their phone from playing.  As you can imagine, the uproar from people who had already spent $5 to buy the game (it's pretty well done, and this issue notwithstanding, probably worth the 5 bucks) and no longer could was instant, and loud.  We started getting reports about the issue, and started poking around to see what was up.

Com2Us may have a knack for developing fun and exciting games for mobile devices, but they have an issue with communication.  I've tried in vain to contact them about issues with this particular game before, things like the game asking for root with no reason (now we know why they wanted to see who was rooted) or getting a GPS fix while claiming they aren't, and got no response through their official support channels.  Gentlemen, that almost caused unneeded embarrassment to both your company and myself this afternoon.

Today, several more complaints were received about the block to rooted users, and at least one was ranty enough to grab my attention.  We decided we needed to say something now, and crazy uncle Jerry caffeinated himself and started working the keys, ready to crucify a company that treats people who root their phone like some sort of undesirable.  That's just how I feel, and Phil kindly allows me the freedom to vent sometimes when I need to vent.  Hell of a guy, that Phil.  So I get going, blasting the developers (and working up rant-worthy Photoshop of their game graphics with a big red FAIL plastered over it) and start looking for the support information to tell you guys where to direct your outrage, when I found the information I should have looked for in the first place -- Com2Us addressed this horrible trampling of users rights and petty theft issue the day after it happened, on Nov 8.

Of course, I scrapped my hit-piece, did a few things to lower my blood pressure, then let Phil know what was up and that I went apeshit over nothing.  His response was to tell me that it wasn't all for naught, and to let everyone know how this all played out, because there was a lesson to be learned for many of us.  I know what I did wrong -- I let my passion for fairness (or my twisted idea of fairness) get in the way of doing my job, and luckily I caught myself in time.  Rather than post something I would have to go back and edit to explain that I got ahead of myself, I just wasted a half hour ranting to myself and my dog. 

Here's where you come in.  Life isn't fair, and lots of things are going to happen that piss us off.  I get it, because I feel it too.  What you need to do (and not all of you, just the ones with passion and a big mouth like me) is remember that sometimes a maniacal response and a letter filled with hate isn't the way to go.  Com2Us blocking you from playing a game you spent your hard earned money on was wrong.  Very wrong.  Raving like a madman about it two days later, after they had fixed the problem is just as wrong -- I know because I almost did it.  Not everything requires a class-action suit, or a Twitter campaign, or long winded rants to the editor of your favorite Android website.  When something does need that sort of action, check your facts before you start, or next time we might both look like idiots.

 
There are 19 comments

crxssi says:

Why is it possible for ANY application to block a rooted phone. I guess it can somehow determine. Next, rooters will have to somehow hide their rooted status?

stoneworrior says:

This by the way is an easy fix. I am using temp root remover to watch movies on my Evo 3d. As always mileage may very some people say it doesn't work for them but it works great for me. When I am done watching my movie I just hit the button and go back to being rooted.
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zachspong.google.videos.root&f...

philly says:

its a game.. and many games are plagued by cheating. hence why video game systems attempt to block people from gaining "root" access.

I have no problem with people rooting.. but you need to understand if it allows others to cheat theirs a chance you might be blocked out of certain online games to maintain fairplay.

/readysetnerdflameme

sRedwolf says:

That's fine - but if that happens then any user with a rooted device should be refunded the money they paid for a game they can no longer play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lCrPWpcz9o

no root needed to cheat. 

stoneworrior says:

I feel your pain. I am King of the knee jerk reaction. You would think someone 45 years old would learn to temper his attitude a wee bit but I still struggle from time to time on keeping my mouth shut. I need to try and look at a particular problem with a different focus. Thanks for this post, it has brought to my attention one of my faults that I need to tend to a little more. As far as the dog I'm sure he/she is used to it, I know mine are. Awesome post, thank you ;-)

I'm rooted and have played it forever. :/

philly says:

well if you dont need root access to cheat this was a dumb move by them.

Com2Us gets a lot of money for in-app purchases with this game.  When you factory reset, or get a new phone, you lose your save game data, and have to buy all the stuff you already bought once again.  If you're rooted, you can keep that data, and not have to buy it again.

 

Letting root users play the game probably costs them money.  Is this their reason for doing what they did?  I dunno.  Might just be one of my conspiracy theories at play :)

 

angryGTS says:

Developers need to start implementing the feature that is available to save your in game content to the cloud or wherever its stored especially if its stuff you buy in the app. Especially if someone happens to get a new phone or a factory reset.

PensHockey says:

So I download the game illegally and not update it they would be fine with it. But if I pay for it and get the update they could cut me off??

Cheating..... really its a f-ing game. Who care if I get a really cool uniform or a hockey stick as a bat!

Cubfan says:

Getting far too common, I'm afraid. DirecTV blocked its app from working on my jailbroken iPad, and I expect we'll see others doing the same on Android.

ctleng76 says:

I doubt DirecTV made the decision to do so. Apple has strict requirements for software developers. Most likely DirecTV was instructed by Apple to block the use of their app on jailbroken devices. Apple is very clear on their stance when it comes to jail breaking a device.

sledgie#AC says:

To me, this isn't too much of a big cheat. I noticed the other day there was an update, prior to the restoring rooted users access.
I've been playing since January of this year, and as someone who got in the top 200 (from playing when they have their 2x experience/goldball tournaments) I can tell you the only "cheating" i've ever seen is unlocking the paid-for uniforms.
A lot of people complain on some boards or reviews that they are 2x as high as a user they are playing and BAM! the user passes their score and wins.
It usually relates to the ping speed to the server. All the Japanese users I've playing have a very low ping, as does the south korea users. I thought the original makers of the game, COM2US, resided in S.K. I'm not sure where the servers are, however.
As for me - I tend to play in the Major room, lower users to add +3 per game. There aren't a lot of players in the 10,000+ range on when I'm on.
I should add that what it sounds like usually happens is that the other person's ping is lower (I user Verizon Fios sometimes, ping = 8) and is ahead of playing by at least 1-2 seconds. Also, when at the screen where you see your opponent, a good word of advice is wait until THEY press start. Then you press start. This usually triggers the game to start at the same time.
I've tested this on multiple handsets using sprint and verizon phones. Sometimes one user would litterally be 2 seconds behind, but it doesn't update on the lagged user's phone the score. A 2x multiplier can come along for the non-lagged user, and the game is over.
When that happens to me, I just exit out and start again, or test my ping. No use in playing on 4g on sprint for me (sometimes i get 100, sometimes 758). But people have to understand that all of these "unlocks" doesn't help the playing get better - it's really about hitting the ball. Aim for the boards, and get bull's eyes. Sometimes it's better to hit a few in the boards first before getting into Babe Ruth's position. Last but not least, work on manipulating hitting the ball. Lots of people can hit the boards, etc. But being able to manipulate the bat to hit the ball that is low and fast into the stands can take 2 seconds off a HR.
Tell me more about how to take my saves onto another phone, Jerry. I haven't sold my original Galaxy Tab because of this.

Fahrenheit says:

To backup your Homerun Battle 3D settings, you have to obviously be rooted. Either through ADB shell, or Better Terminal, navigate to /data/data/com.com2us.HB3D/ then copy jesus.dat. that file contains your local upgrades. I think if you restore this file on a new phone, you lose all your money however. But you get to save your items.

ScubaSnac9 says:

I paid for the game a while back and finally uninstalled the game. I got tired of switching phones or ROMs and losing all of my hard earned data. There is no way to keep everything you do and it just plain sucks. I used to be rather high within the ranks, had to get a new phone and lost it all, because they dont keep anything saved. It's worthless to work hard and play well to get your stats up to only lose everything when you get a new phone or flash a new ROM. I gave up and until they fix it, I will NOT be playing anymore. Sucks I can't get my money back, but oh well.

Easy fix. Just DENY the application root access.

kitman8888 says:

What about halfbrick.. Those guys just kept updating the free version and left paid version to rot... Not to say the lack of new games. Ignoring several e-mail from me, they have truly pissed me off!!!

Nirvana328 says:

"sometimes a maniacal response...filled with hate isn't the way to go."

"...check your facts before you start..."

These two rules should be universally accepted for using the interwebs.