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What will a video games industry run by Apple look like?

Mark Hattersley | Nov. 30, 2012
Apple more or less owns the video game industry already with the iPhone, and the iPad mini is likely to take over from traditional gaming devices; and that's before the television arrives. What will an Apple controlled video games market look like?

A CNN report claims that tablet computers are the future of the video games industry, and given Apple's stronghold over the tablet industry that means the iPad (for the foreseeable future) is going to be the future of gaming. Not just handheld gaming, mind - all gaming.

If this comes to pass - and it's requiring something of a mental leap from ourselves - this is going to put Apple in the rather curious position of being the lead player, and indeed possibly the overall steward of the video games market. A market it is traditionally thought to have little interest in - Apple typically prefers to build creative software (GarageBand, iMovie, iPhoto, and so on) rather than entertainment software.

In this article from 2008 John Carmack, Technical Director of id software said to Eurogamer, bluntly: "The truth is Steve Jobs doesn't care about games. This is going to be one of those things that I say something in an interview and it gets fed back to him and I'm on his s***head list for a while on that, until he needs me to do something else there. But I think that that's my general opinion. He's not a gamer."

"It's difficult to ask somebody to get behind something they don't really believe in. I mean obviously he believes in the music and the iTunes and that whole side of things, and the media side of things, and he gets it and he pushes it and they do wonderful things with that, but he's not a gamer. That's just the bottom line about it."

This isn't just Steve Jobs', or now Tim Cook's personal interests guiding Apple. This Macworld article from just Feb 2011 explains why Apple, specifically with regards to the Mac, has such a poor track record amongst gamers and game developers. From locked-down hardware, to ignoring graphics card advances, to ignoring utilitarian function (the first thing any Mac gamer will do is replace the Mighty Mouse with something that works for games), through to ignoring Mac-friendly developers like Bungie, who created Halo (referred to as this generation's Star Wars), and allowing Microsoft to snap them up this article shows just how much Apple cares overall about gaming: it's hard not to come up with the answer, "not very much".

But that matters little in this post-PC world where Apple has, by dent of its incredible product design and a fair bit of luck with the App Store, managed to steal the mobile games market from traditional companies like Nintendo. The CNN report comes on the heels of the release of the Nintendo Wii U video games console, which merges traditional gaming console technology with a touch-screen iPad-like controller. Both Sony and Microsoft are also expected to release new consoles next year, but nobody inside or outside of the games industry has that much faith in them.

 

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