Why won’t Square Enix’ Chaos Rings play on rooted devices?


It is hard to dislike Square Enix, as the popular game developer has brought some of the best RPG titles in the history of video games. This week felt like heaven for Chaos Rings fans that have been waiting for years for a port to come to Android, as it has been iOS exclusive until now. The game finally hit the Google Play Store, but there is a major discrepancy with the highly anticipated port – it won’t play on rooted devices.

We know Square Enix is very protective and proud of its games, and their pricing system is proof of that. Square Enix has such a strong foot hold that it charges $12.99 for a mobile game and still manage to sell massive amounts of downloads. The company has only ported a few of its games to Android. Much of the reason is probably related to the open ecosystem, which allows users to easily pirate games and apps.

There is no doubt Chaos Rings brought a whole other mentality to mobile gaming. It’s graphics and gameplay match that of many console games, and there is no doubt Square Enix has the experience to put together a great storyline. Developers need to stop being so scared of rooting in order to move forward in this platform, though. At least now it seems the company is changing its position:

We are aware of the issue affecting Android users who attempt to download Chaos Rings with rooted devices. We are currently working towards applying an update that will grant those players access to the game and we expect this update to go live sometime next week. We thank the Android community for its patience and continued support as we continue to bring great mobile games to the Android platform.

And we say changing their position because developers from XDA are claiming this was done intentionally, and not as a mistake; which is what they seem to claim in their statement. The game was designed to force close after finding a root file on any device.

Android is made open for many reasons, and very rarely is rooting used to steal apps or content (which is mostly the case with jailbreaking iOS devices). Fellow root users simply want to take advantage of their devices; improve performance and experience. It makes nearly no difference when it comes to pirating.

Furthermore, even if a device is rooted, there are ways to bypass this type of security. Users have been able to freely play Chaos Rings by renaming the root file. And it’s their prerogative after paying a whopping $13 for the game. We know your games are quality and making a great game costs a lot of money, Square Enix. But limiting root users won’t help stop piracy, it will only bring a horde of angry customers. All those root users would gladly pay that over-priced sum of cash for a good game so fix things soon or you will only loose money and popularity as those 1-star reviews keep piling up.

[Via: Ars Technica]

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  • Eyad (formerly CTownOL)

    What will happen if that person disables “root” (the option is available in the SuperUser app or in Settings app in CyanogenMod 9/10)?

    • Edgar Cervantes

      Does it get rid of the root file? If so, it should work.

      • Donovan Shore

        You can get rid of root all together, but then you lose the perks. The aforementioned method is best work around, Or you can just refund until the update or simple wait.

    • http://jeremyperez.com Jeremy

      Should work. I use SuperSU/su from ChainFire and disable root when I need to use Google Wallet. So if they both look for the same thing (probably the su binary) then I don’t see it not working the same way.

      I agree that developers should not be afraid of root, that’s the carrier’s job. :)

      • mgamerz

        Google Wallet still works if you’re rooted…

        • http://jeremyperez.com Jeremy

          I didn’t know that. When I load it up with root enabled there’s a banner across the top that says unsupported device. I just figured it wouldn’t work without ever actually trying it like that.

    • remnem

      it wont work, the game look for the superuser.apk in data/app, changing the name to superuser.apk.bak solves the problem, then return the name to .apk after closing the game

  • Larkhillv

    Better question is, who would want to play this game anyway?

    • Donovan Shore

      HAHAhahahhaaaa

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jamille-Browne/1184321457 Jamille Browne

      Not for no $12

    • ari_free

      It’s square enix, makers of real games. Go back to angry birds or the latest 2D Flash port. :)

      • Larkhillv

        Haha, square enix tools are so cute. Almost as bad as iSheep.

        • No_Nickname90

          Actually this game looks like it’s cool. Is it turn based? I like turn-based games. Give me a week of taking my lunch to work and I’m sure I can save $12. Heck, at about $5 a day on lunch alone? Yea. $12 isn’t that hard to save up.

          • simpleas

            its not turn based. i played it hacked on my jailbroken ip3 for about 10 mins and went back to borderlands 2… dont buy it

          • No_Nickname90

            Aw… Alright. That trailer wasn’t very helpful at all, either. Thanks for the warning.

          • P.R.

            The combat is turn based, like Final Fantasy games, but more streamlined. I bought it on iOS a couple year ago – It’s not much of a challenge, even on the highest level but the quality of it is top notch. I wish Google Play had more polished games of this caliber; Not that my Nexus 7 has enough room. I can’t believe they’re bringing out a 32GB… wish I had that.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000720782687 Anthony Rodriguez

          Go back to your cave, troll. Protect your 42 year old virginity.

  • jbo1018

    As if unrooted devices can’t be used to pirate apps….Check unknown sources, download, and install.

    I don’t see why some game devs are so scared of root. If people want to pirate they are going to do it with or without root. Make a good, quality, and fun game with replay value at a good price and you can make good money off the tons of people who understand hard work deserves compensation.

    • simpleas

      this, and why does this game work on my jailbroken ipad 3….

      • No_Nickname90

        Because companies apparently don’t think there is a large amount of people jailbreaking iOS devices and using pirated apps on iOS.

        • WhoaManWtF

          I wonder what the monthly unique viewers on Sinful Iphone are as opposed to whatever the top android piracy site… I am willing to bet even with a larger number of android devices out there the iphone piracy site still gets more unique hits.

          Source: Everyone I know with an iphone talks about pirating apps, while my Android buddies normally talk about what is on sale.

          • iTKe2k

            same here, most of my friends (non tech people) even ask me to hack (jailbreak) their phone…

        • iTKe2k

          depending on who you ask…
          http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/piracy-on-android-and-ios-an-interview-with-madfinger-games-20120731/

          piracy is on every platform, and nothing can stop it….
          which make this very stupid decision, because they probably drew the conclusion from ios…
          jailbreak = only way to pirate in ios (jump in and correct me if i’m misinformed)
          then they drew the conclusion that jailbreak = root = piracy
          while on android you can pirate without needing root (unknown sources,side-loading)

          the bottom line is they hurt the paying customers instead of pirates!

    • http://twitter.com/Emosnd Esmond Yeo

      some android games, like final fantasy 3 on android for example, simply force closes when you install the apk.

      to successfully pirate it you actually have to use titanium backup and restore the apk and the relevant app data(which requires root) before the game stops force closing.

    • patapongirl

      Exactly. It’s actually the same for movies and music.

    • setspeed

      Yes, but you’re conveniently ignoring the fact that most Android users don’t know what side-loading is, and even if they found the “Unknown sources” option then they’re afraid of it (as they should be), they don’t know where to get an APK or even what an APK is.
      For the most part, rooted users are more technically aware/capable than your average user, and although they won’t necessarily be any less moral than average users, they DO have the technical know-how to pirate – thus making them infinitely more likely to do so (when taken as a group, not as an individual).

      • No_Nickname90

        What about people who use the Amazon market? Gotta turn on Side-loading? And if they know about Amazon market, I’m sure they’re more than the average. And you don’t have to root to use Amazon market. And if you go on the Amazon website, it actually shows you how to install it. So…?

        Are you saying that only people who steal games are those who root? You also stated that there is a small amount of those who root. If this percentage of those who root is so small, then why would companies care?

        It’s probably because there are those who pay to get their devices rooted. Some person on Craigslist is charging people $30 to root their device. So you don’t have to be “tech-saavy” to have a rooted device.

        • DonMcCall

          Agreed. Not to mention that those more “tech savy” users tend to also be those who buy more apps since they stay on top of what’s new. This is nothing new: the music industry is still trying to wrap their minds around this very type of topic. The customers they are most afraid of are the ones that are their largest consumers and evangelists.

  • Alec Smith

    A lot of people pirate apps without rooting.

    • remnem

      u can get free apps without rooting , the only reason to root when looking to play games is for the lucky patcher and titanium backup, and they are only needed for a few games

    • squiddy20

      Oh, so you know someone who has personally rooted his/her phone solely to pirate apps? Seems a little overkill considering you don’t even need root to do it -_-

    • Will Tisdale

      Yeah, that statement didn’t make sense to me either.

      Android being “open” (to use the term very loosely because it is not really open) has utterly nothing to do with rooting because the manufacturers try to *prevent* users from rooting.

      So that was simply a pointless fanboy statement.

    • UniBroW

      another misinformed poster

  • ckitching

    They backed off the ridiculous license checks that were happening on some of their other games already, too. FF1 on Android was checking your license every time you started the game, which means you could never play it while offline (like on a tablet). I don’t mind license checks per se, but I don’t like being forced to be online before I’m allowed to play a publisher’s game.

    • No_Nickname90

      What they should do is have a license check every time you start the app, but if it can’t connect to the internet, give you a time frame, like 1 hour to connect to the internet and check the license, or the app won’t open.

  • JulianZHuang

    jailbreaked iphone can get all apps for free….

  • http://twitter.com/ShivamITF Shivam Choudhary

    CHAOS RINGS ANDROID GAMEPLAY Samsung Galaxy Note

  • Michael Thompson

    It almost seems like someone high in the decision making process was told that root access on Android equals jailbreak on iOS so just block it all.
    Only after has someone told ‘em it’s not exactly the same and that a corporate panty unbunching was warranted.

  • Allen

    “It is hard to dislike Square Enix”

    Going to have to disagree with you there. Hatred of Square Enix is pretty high right now considering they themselves aren’t exactly pushing out the titles people actually want.

  • setspeed

    Sorry, but why are we ignoring the elephant in the room here? Clearly it isn’t possible for pirating to happen in the first place without rooted devices. So if Square Enix decides they don’t want to allow their games to play on rooted devices then that’s up to them.
    Personally, I find having root gives me far more benefit than playing their games ever would – so let them be and just don’t buy their games. Or use a workaround to get past it, instead of complaining that they don’t have the same world-view as you “Oh, root users don’t pirate apps ever” – what B***SH*T!!
    If Google developed some sort of system that prevented piracy then developers wouldn’t have to pull stunts like this – moan to Google, not Square Enix (who just want to protect their investment).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeremy-McKeown/100000567761459 Jeremy McKeown

      Why is it clear that it isn’t possible for pirating to happen without rooted devices? You don’t need a rooted device to load a pirated copy of the game onto your device and start it. All that is required is that you check the “Unknown Sources” option in your handset’s settings. I’m in agreement with you in that developers are free to make decisions which protect their protect from theft, the issue here is that the way they have implemented it doesn’t protect from either non-rooted pirates or rooted pirates. The outrage comes from them specifically targeting people who have rooted their device as thieves, when their protection does not protect against real thieves.

      • setspeed

        Because you can’t always backup all APKs that you download from the Play Store unless you have a rooted device. Hence the initial “pirate” was most likely a root user.
        I’m not saying all root users are pirates, but those who initially ripped and distributed the APKs are more likely root users, who have advanced knowledge of how the file system works and how and where to find the APKs on that system. Hence Square Enix are justified in making it as difficult as possible for potential pirates. Let’s face it, less than 2 or 3% of Android devices are rooted – why should developers cater to such a minority? Apart from the fact that minority sometimes seems to think they are “the privileged few”, and everyone in the Android ecosystem exists to serve them…

        • No_Nickname90

          Your reason as to why Square Enix is blocking root users is a little flawed. Here’s why. You say about 3% of people are rooted. That means 3 people out of 100 people are stealing this app. If not every rooted person is stealing this app, I’ll average it to 1 out of every 100. So on average, for every 100 apps, Square Enix would be out about $26 out of a total of $1300; or for every 100 apps downloaded, 2 of them would be pirated.

          My main question is why would Square Enix even care about a small percentage? What’s the point of wasting resources to stop such a small amount of people?

          There has to be something else going on. It may have been intentional, but why? Are there any security reasons? So far, Square Enix blocking root users for “pirate” reasons is just dumb.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeremy-McKeown/100000567761459 Jeremy McKeown

          This is illogical. The initial pirate, as you describe them, if acting as the distributor is not going to run into the protection because they aren’t playing it. The protection doesn’t stop a root user from backing up the app, only from playing it.

          • setspeed

            Correct. But if the distributor can’t use the app on their own device without jumping through hoops to test it (unrooting, finding an unrooted device, etc) then is it not more likely that they will say “eff it” and not bother, than if they played the game, liked it and thought I’ll share this. I think this is Square Enix’ reasoning – placing any obstacle they can in the way of people who might share their app. Granted, this isn’t the best way and probably only slows a really dedicated file-sharer down a bit. But it’s better than nothing.

        • UniBroW

          you’re terribly misinformed. You DO NOT NEED ROOT to back up games. It’s not even that hard and you don’t need to do anything special. Ironically enough, it’s much harder to back up app data like game saves (need root for that).

          • setspeed

            I have found that all the easy tools available on the Play Store to back up APKs require root to reliably work 100% on all APKs – sometimes they just won’t do it without root, depending on the APK. If you’re talking about doing it with ADB, well you’re now venturing into “advanced user” territory. The vast majority of users do not know how to use ADB. Which is my point.

          • UniBroW

            You really are clueless. I’m not going to spell out how to back up .apks but it’s easily done with a certain file management app that’s available in the play store. No root, no computer or adb commands needed. it’s as easy as

            Step 1. Install app
            Step 2. Backup app
            Step 3. long press backed up app and send it wherever you want.

            It’s pretty well known method and I used to to send .apks to my Son’s kindle Fire before I decided to root his device and install the Google Play store.

            Sent from my Asus Infinity

          • setspeed

            That’s your anecdotal experience, now here’s mine: I used Titanium and MyBackup on a friend’s non-rooted devices, and found that neither would back up every single apk on either device. So I disagree.
            We’re getting off the point any how, which is that rooted users are more likely (due to increased knowledge and technical skills) to pirate than non-rooted users, the majority of which see their phone/tablet as an appliance and it wouldn’t even enter their heads to search the Play Store for “an application to back up other applications” even if they did want to share a paid app with their friends. As a whole they just don’t understand how a computer works full stop, and that’s how it should be – I have no desire to understand the inner workings of my car’s internal combustion engine, I just care that it gets me from A to B, and when it breaks down then aside from the very basics, I get someone more knowledgable to sort it out for me.

          • UniBroW

            Well you’re using Titanium, so you’re immediately doing it wrong. You’re also making assumptions that more technically knowledgeable users are more likely to pirate which is complete horse crap.

            Also, people don’t search the play store for pirate apps…they search the internet if they want pirated apps. Apps that have the drm ripped out of them. Most of the people that i know that pirate apps have iPhones and have the iPhone jailbroken. They aren’t “technical” users but have the abilty to follow instructions.

            I wouldn’t go and say, “well, everyone I know that steals apps has iPhones that are jailbroken so it’s pretty easy to tell that most people that steal have jailbroken iPhones.” because that would be based solely on my experience which is relatively small

          • setspeed

            Since you’re such an expert, why don’t you explain to us all how to “do it right”, and then also tell us how the average unrooted and non technically-inclined user, having failed to pirate (and by pirate, I mean back up and share their copy of) all the apps they wanted to using available tools on the Play Store, is supposed to just “know” how to “do it right”?
            My whole point is that it’s not as easy as you’re making out to pirate UNLESS the user is rooted, has some knowledge, or presumably is prepared to keep trying all sorts of different tools until one works – at which point, they have probably found out that the easiest way is to root their device.
            In any case, I don’t understand why you’re taking the moral high ground for root users – I think it’s plainly obvious that someone who has full access to their system is statistically more likely to backup an app than someone who doesn’t. If you don’t (or don’t want to) see that, then you’re deluding yourself – and clearly Square Enix agrees.

          • UniBroW

            I have no intentions of telling you how to backup Android apps and being able to send them to whomever you want. If you cared that much, you could do a little google searching and find your answer easily enough.

            I’m just going to say it one more time, you need not root to backup apps. There’s an app, presumably many, that can make a backup of ANY .apk installed on your system. Even system apps without having root. using any File manager you can then email said apk or upload it to dropbox or wherever. If that .apk has drm though it won’t sideload to a device that doesn’t have your account on it, which is pretty few and far between. And before you say “ah, gotcha there!” having root wouldn’t do anything to remove the drm. You would have to decompile the app after you’ve backed it up from your device

            *edit*

            I just want to let you know that I’m laughing at your expense. You STILL have your heart set on being rooted equates to being a pirate or that rooting is the easiest way to steal apps. I suppose if you wanted to steal apps that you already have on your system and you actually needed to have root then that would be the easiest way.

          • setspeed

            There really is no point in me continuing this discussion with you, is there?
            I have no real desire in knowing which app you use to pirate, since I could easily do it should I desire because my phone is rooted. I’m only asking so I can give you examples of apps that it WON’T backup. If you don’t want to get specific then that’s fine – we’ll agree to disagree since you aren’t willing to be proved right or wrong. Have a nice day.
            EDIT: Reply to your realisation that pirating apps is a lot easier and hence more likely to happen if you have a rooted device – finally you get it. At no point did I say that being rooted equates to being a pirate, in fact I have made this point very clear more than once, so I really don’t understand how you have got this impression.

          • UniBroW

            I don’t use any apps to pirate, i use to backup apps that I have. I’ve spend way to much $$ in the play store and I buy all the apps I have hence why I can backup apps that are on my system.

            Besides, if I wanted to actually pirate apps I wouldn’t be pirating them from my God damn self. I’d be downloading them, with their drm removed, from various nefarious web sites.

          • setspeed

            And still, you avoid naming this mythical app which always works on backing up all APKs on unrooted devices, bar none. It’s quite simple for you to end this and prove yourself right or wrong, but you refuse to do so. I won’t reply any more until you do because you’re wasting my time.

          • UniBroW
          • setspeed

            Same as all the rest I mentioned – doesn’t back up all apps:
            http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1860902
            To back up anything and everything, you need root and/or some ADB skills – at which point are you seriously saying this person isn’t rooted?

          • UniBroW

            Sorry, never ever had that issue before. Nothing in life is ever 100%. My point is that you do not need root to pirate apps and that still stands. You’ve not proven that you need root to pirate apps. If you’re backing something up from your device then chances are you paid for it.

          • setspeed

            I think that having root access does ensure you can copy any APK from it, 100%. Anyway that’s beside the point, the real issue at hand is that I don’t think Square Enix is disputing that someone is paying for their apps before distributing them. It’s the distribution they are trying to prevent, and blocking rooted users from using SqEn apps is the route they’ve chosen. Presumably because, like me, they think rooted users who are more technically-inclined are more likely to be able to back up apps, and then subsequently share them. That’s what it comes down to. If people don’t like it then don’t buy their apps – don’t come crying on the internet and leaving 1 star reviews on the Play Store like some people feel justified in doing.

          • UniBroW

            I’m sorry button force closing an app that’s paid for because a device has super user installed is big time underhanded.

            Like I said, if someone wanted to pirate the app there are lots of sites to get the game from without crappy drm installed. Not being truthful with your paying customers is going to garnish you with 1 star reviews. At the very least they’re should be up front with it’s from the beginning that the app will not work with a rooted device

          • setspeed

            Agreed. Or even better, if there was some way for Play Store to know your device was rooted then rooted users wouldn’t even see the game or have the option to install the game and get their panties in a twist.

          • UniBroW

            no, I was pointing out that your false thinking was incorrect.

            “I suppose if you wanted to steal apps that you already have on your system and you actually needed to have root then that would be the easiest way.”

            Pointing out that backing up apps ALREADY on your device is not pirating them while also saying IF YOU ACTUALLY NEEDED TO HAVE ROOT it would be the easiest way. It’s mostly a sarcastic comment.

          • mgamerz

            @setspeed:disqus So you’re saying… to pirate an app… you must backup the copy you just bought? Seems legit. Cause you know that’s how people pirate games.

          • setspeed

            No, if you read the entire discussion with your eyes, you will see that I have defined my use of the verb “to pirate” in this context, thus: “and by pirate, I mean back up and share their copy of the app”.
            Nice try at being clever, but it really didn’t work out too well for you this time.

          • mgamerz

            Except you know, that they have licensing checks so you can’t just pull and share the APK without having the same google account on another device. Which means it takes someone with a brain to disable that.

          • setspeed

            Don’t tell me, tell @UniBroW that. S/he’s the one who seems to think that anyone can easily share all these games using just Astro File Manager.

          • mgamerz

            You can pull the files with adb just fine without root though. No point to arguing.
            adb pull /data/app/appname.apk .apkname.apk

          • setspeed

            The point was that no ordinary user, without knowledge of rooting and ADB can do that. Anyway, thanks for your input, but I’m really bored of this discussion now.

  • No_Nickname90

    Why can’t they do it like the Amazon market? I have 2 email addresses. I got my 1st app of the day on one email address. Changed ROMs and starting using my other email address, but I restored the my data. The app wouldn’t open. It told me I had to log into Amazon with my email address to play the game. It was referring to my other email. So why can’t the apps just link to your market account. If Email@gmail.com downloaded the app, then Email@gmail.com has to be logged into the market place or the app won’t open. Simple as that. I think… At least that sounds simple to say.

  • No_Nickname90

    So I’m reading that Square Enix is blocking root users for pirate reasons, based on what I’ve seen in the comments. But I also see that about 5% of people actually root their phone.

    So why would Square Enix care so much about that small percentage? Is this the same percentage of people that Jailbreak their iOS devices? If so, aren’t they being a little unfair if their reasons are based on pirating? I mean if the same percent of people Jailbreak their iOS device, wouldn’t the same percent also pirate the app on an iOS device?

    My guess is developers afraid of Android because you can actually see the pirating happening. I’m guessing you can’t tell if your app is being pirated on an iOS device.

  • Guest

    It’s like making a game for windows that does not work unless uac is on. oh wait that exist already?

  • Mr ilheis

    I’m rooted and I’ve probably spent well over $100 on apps & games.

  • mgamerz

    WHY CAN NOBODY SPELL THE WORD LOSE!!! ALL CAPS RAGGEEEEEEEEEEE

  • http://twitter.com/DoesitPew StacyD

    To the Smali Code! It should be pretty easy to see what script that it is running internally to see the root file status.

    By almost all legal accounts and considering that the app does not prompt with a UA before download….it legally has to comply with rooted devices or offer immediate refund.

    Square Enix, you really should know better. Bad people are bad people.

  • fruitn1nja

    i was terribly shocked when found out it does not work on my rooted samsung galaxy note!!! then started to did the internet and thanks god i found a patched version (http://www.mediafire.com/?dlvwkxa6xdd7wlb) that runs smootly. square enix should be more respectful with their users….