July 12, 2013 at 10:13 AM ET
"Deus Ex: The Fall" is the first iOS game set in the acclaimed cyberpunk universe of the "Deus Ex" video game franchise — a series of hit first- and third-person shooters that first made their mark on gaming culture for the way they allowed players to progress without having to actually kill a single person. Apparently, "The Fall's" developers had an idea for a non-lethal version of their own, but it's one that's much more punitive to players — users accessing the game through a jailbroken iOS game aren't able to use the game's guns.
Mind you, "Deus Ex: The Fall" is a shooter, so having your guns jam pretty much ruins the entire point of the game. And while this might appear to be another case of a developer coming up with a clever way to exact poetic justice on pirates, jailbreaking an iPhone (though not necessarily an iPad) is a perfectly legal — albeit warranty-breaking — activity.
"Deus Ex: The Fall" was first released on the app store Thursday morning for the relatively steep price (in iOS game terms) of $6.99. By Thursday night, a player had already posted a screenshot on Reddit showing a pop-up error message that appeared during the game's tutorial saying, "We are sorry but you can't fire on jailbroken devices."
"This is massively offensive on Square Enix's behalf," KipEnyan explained on the Reddit thread they began. "The obvious implication is that all jailbreakers are pirates who more than likely pirated this game. I paid good money for this game and Squeenix feels it's okay to break my game because I prefer to customize my iPhone to my liking."
Several user reviews on the Apple App Store have also highlighted the issue.
"$7 for a game that doesn't work on jail broken devices. No warning in App Store description," one iTunes user wrote. "No warning - one star, would give zero if I could. Want my money back!"
"I bought this game and can't play it because I'm jailbroken," another said, demanding that "The Fall" publisher Square Enix refund copies of the game.
We have reached out to Square Enix for comment on the performance of "Deus Ex: The Fall" on jailbroken devices and will update this story when we hear back.
Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: Yannick.LeJacq@nbcuni.com.