December 31, 2012: App piracy hub Hackulous shuts down, bringing an end to two of its most popular apps, Installous and AppSync.
The jailbreak tool Installous allowed users to install “cracked” or pirated apps on their iOS devices, thereby avoiding paying purchase fees to Apple or developers.
After the shutdown, a message on the Hackulous website read as follows:
“Goodnight, sweet prince.
We are very sad to announce that Hackulous is shutting down. After many years, our community has become stagnant and our forums are a bit of a ghost town. It has become difficult to keep them online and well-moderated, despite the devotion of our staff. We’re incredibly thankful for the support we’ve had over the years and hope that new, greater communities blossom out of our absence.
With lots of love,
Hackulous shutdown is beginning of end for iOS jailbreaking
In some ways, the end of Hackulous marked the beginning of the end for iOS jailbreaking. It represented a decline in the popularity of jailbreaking from which the community never recovered.
Before the App Store debuted in 2008, jailbreaking was a popular activity. It allowed users the ability to install third-party apps on their iPhones at a time when Apple didn’t allow it.
A Napster for apps?
When the App Store arrived, some members of the jailbreak community used Hackulous to download pirated apps. It worked much like Napster, which offered pirated music downloads a few years earlier.
The piracy problem proved a daunting one for some developers. For instance, in December 2012 — the same month Hackulous shut down — developer Hunted Cow shuttered its multiplayer game Battle Dungeon after just a week. The reason? Piracy rates of roughly 90 percent made it impossible to afford to pay for the game’s server load.
Do you remember the iOS jailbreak era?
Do you remember the days of Hackulous? Were you ever a jailbreak proponent, or a developer in the early days of the App Store who struggled against piracy? Let us know in the comments below.