Homerun Battle 3D, root access, and poor communication leads to knee-jerk reactions

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.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.