We were reminded in March by a GameMaker Community topic that jailbroken iDevices are useless for testing iOS games made with GameMaker Studio. If you weren’t already aware, here is a recap; section 7 of the GameMaker Studio FAQ simply states that jailbroken devices can not be used, “sorry”.
Jailbreaking is a process that removes software restrictions on an iOS device and gives the owner root control. This is usually an automated process achieved by using a downloadable program. One major aspect of jailbreaking is that it allows for installation of non-iTunes store content, which makes it a favorable host for pirated mobile software.
Jailbreaking is popular amongst a fair few; a good several million device-owners at least. Though in comparison with non-jailbroken devices, it is very much a minority action. Still, now and in the future, there will be GameMaker Studio owners with a jailbroken device wondering why YoYo Games, the company developing the software, blocks them from testing their games. But why don’t jailbreaking and GameMaker mix?
First, most software-based businesses don’t want to attract a market of people who may support piracy or “hacking”, for lack of a better word. YoYo Games faces its own challenges resisting piracy, and the company doesn’t need to indirectly fuel that fire by welcoming users they may consider unsavory.
Besides this, YoYo Games can’t be seen devaluing GameMaker’s reputation by allowing people to avoid the developer fee that Apple requires from everyone who wants to make legitimate iOS applications. Who knows what hot water YoYo Games could get into if they began pandering to a breed of illegitimate developers who wanted to build bogus software. Reaction from Apple? Bad press? Actually, maybe good press?
If you are hoping YoYo Games might change their stance on jailbreaking, don’t hold your breath. It would be a disappointing and risky move on their part if they were to be more lenient with this issue. Although it might seem like they are getting in your way, YoYo Games are being professional and giving you a hint; if you are going to commit to developing mobile software, you need to smarten up and stick to official avenues.
To be fair, not all people who jailbreak will steal games and media – with the system opened up, it is possible to make great customizations to iOS itself, and install unofficial free apps from developers who target the jailbreaking community. The bad news is Apple really, really doesn’t like jailbreaking.
To use a massive clichÃ©, Apple has its own ecosystem in a secret walled garden. You know what you are buying into when you take that iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch home with you. If you decide to “rebel” against this and tweak the device to your extended liking, you may enjoy some benefits (depending on what you consider beneficial) but you will also experience negative repercussions. For those on the GameMaker scene, one repercussion may be that you can not fully utilize your beloved game development software. Maybe it’s time to hit that restore button.