Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Portables (Apple) Hardware Entertainment Games

Theorizing a Big Apple Push Into Gaming 364

Posted by timothy
from the remember-nanosaur-fondly dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Terrence Russell has outlined an interesting theory about what industry Apple intends to break into next. He points to games. Forget Pippin II, or an iMac gaming rig — he thinks the mobile realm is where Apple will make a big product push. It's not the first bit of speculation about Apple's renewed interest in gaming, but Russell's theory may have more legs, considering Apple's invitation to develop games on the iPhone SDK, its strong mobile product line, and a Apple trademark extension filed three months ago."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Theorizing a Big Apple Push Into Gaming

Comments Filter:
  • Graphics Cards (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neoform (551705)
    How about Apple fixes it's graphics cards lineup before shooting for the moon.

    I have a Quad-Core 3.0 and I can tell you, with the GPUs that came with it, I can barely play WoW, nevermind any other new games.

    I had to buy a new PC in order to play any of the new games out because my mac (as great as it is), cannot handle the games.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by abigor (540274)
      Key word from the summary: "mobile".
      • by neoform (551705)
        True enough, but why should apple focus on only mobile gaming and ignore their computer lineup?
        • Re:Graphics Cards (Score:4, Insightful)

          by abigor (540274) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @03:17PM (#23341706)
          As a guess, I'd say it's because desktop computer gaming is dwindling, while mobile sales are exploding and it's a ripe new market for a convergence device. Meanwhile, the stationary gaming experience is owned by consoles.

          • by MBGMorden (803437)
            They're all seperate markets. While many stationary genre's have moved to consoles, many are still mostly on the PC. RTS and MMORPG is still almost exclusively on the PC. I'm guessing that flight sims will remain there too.

            That being said, as TV's and computers start to converge even more, I see the line between "computer gaming" and "console gaming" disappearing all together.
    • How about Apple fixes it's graphics cards lineup before shooting for the moon. I have a Quad-Core 3.0 and I can tell you, with the GPUs that came with it, I can barely play WoW, nevermind any other new games. I had to buy a new PC in order to play any of the new games out because my mac (as great as it is), cannot handle the games.

      Strange, I have a quad-core 2.66 with the (optional at the time) ATI X1900 XT 512MB card and it plays Call of Duty 4 when I bootcamp into Windows XP Pro just fine. Mind you, I don't have all the settings cranked (I turn off FSAA, everything else is cranked). It gets acceptable enough frames per second for me.

    • Re:Graphics Cards (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grahamd0 (1129971) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @03:08PM (#23341610)

      The lowest-end iMac comes with a Radeon HD 2400XT. The high-end iMac has a GeForce 8800. The MacBook Pros have Geforce 8600/8800s. You can get a geforce 8800 on a Mac Pro.

      Mac Minis and Macbooks aren't targeted in any way toward anyone who's interested in gaming.

      Unless you're uber-l337, modern Macs are just fine in the graphics department.

      • Re:Graphics Cards (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @04:43PM (#23342776)

        Mac Minis and Macbooks aren't targeted in any way toward anyone who's interested in gaming.

        I disagree. They are both targeted at the mainstream PC gaming crowd. You know, the ones who have made the Sims 2 the best selling game for 2007. Mainstream game developers target midrange systems from two years ago. Macs fit right in. It is a pretty similar casual gaming market as the Wii.

        Mac minis and Macbooks aren't targeted at the niche, extreme gaming market where people need high end graphics cards costing significant cash. The problem is one of perception, because so many geeks and people on Slashdot are in this category, they assume it is the mainstream market and don't bother to actually see what is selling.

    • I have a Quad-Core 3.0 and I can tell you, with the GPUs that came with it, I can barely play WoW, nevermind any other new games.
      There's something screwed up with your computer then. I have a 1.67 GHz PowerBook G4 and I can play WoW on this with nary a slowdown except in major cities during peak hours.
      • Same here for when I played WoW. The powerbook ran bloody hot but it still worked just fine except in places like IronForge.
    • I play WOW using a white 2.13 dual core with 7600GT and it does fine for WOW, better it works running three sessions at one time. Granted two are in the lowest settings at 640x480 while the main is usually full screen with everything on. I use a little tool named Clonekeys to mirror keystrokes from one session to another while implementing in game macros to tie them all together. I have launched five but all of them had to be minimal to even work. Now I do have 3gb of ram and that seemed to be the key t
      • by pressman (182919)
        That would be the best option but I highly doubt it as Mac seems to be becoming a little corner operation at times

        just to correct a little pet peeve of mine. Mac(intosh) is a product produced by Apple, Inc; formerly Apple Computers.

        Mac is not the company name, but a branded product line.
    • Re:Graphics Cards (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moridineas (213502) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @03:22PM (#23341754) Journal
      Ok, I'm 99% sure you're a blatant troll, but to give you the benefit of doubt..

      There's something terribly wrong with your computer. I could crawl along in warcraft with my old Geforce2 on an AthlonXP. Very, very slow, and very low quality, but it could run. WoW ran fine on my powerbook 1.25ghz g4.

      What's the worst GPU that comes with a quadcore? The ATI 2600? With quadcore, 2gb ram (I don't think you can get mac pro with less?), and a HD2600, you should be fine. Probably not max graphics nor max resolution, and I would guess you would dip into the 20s of fps at times if you're pushing your graphical settings, but very playable.

      If you paid the approximately $100 extra bucks to get a Geforce 8800, you should be rolling along at just about any resolution and maxed out graphics.

      Apple offers plenty of good CPUs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I have a Quad-Core 3.0 and I can tell you, with the GPUs that came with it, I can barely play WoW, nevermind any other new games.

      I'm having no troubles running WoW on my 2.16GHz MacBook Pro with only 2GB of RAM. It even works great when I use my 24" wide-screen external monitor at it's native resolution.

      The only time I heard people complain about the performance of WoW, was when they didn't realize that WoW runs natively on the Mac and were running it within Parallels....

    • by pressman (182919)
      WoW. I have a 3 year old Dual 2.7 G5 with the stock video card and I'm a full blown WoW addict and get decent frame rates even standing in the middle of a bunch of mages going AoE crazy.

      Are you trying to run the game at 1200fps or something?
  • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @02:46PM (#23341226) Journal
    If Mac had a stronger stranglehold on gaming and depending on how things go, isn't Apple based off Unix? So wouldn't that cause games to trickle down to Linux via people reverse engineering and other methods, as well? /correct me if I'm wrong, as said I don't know Mac for Jack
    • by larry bagina (561269) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @02:57PM (#23341400) Journal
      Unless you're talking about hunt the wumpus or curses-based tetris, it doesn't do jack shit for Linux.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Culture20 (968837)
        Because those are the next step in OSS gaming? Methinks someone needs to look at Vegastrike or a similar project.
    • by Sentry21 (8183) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @04:47PM (#23342824) Journal
      Mac applications are written in C and/or Objective-C, using the Cocoa or Carbon libraries to provide an interface to the user (and to the underlying OS). Games specifically are usually written using OpenGL with (optionally) a mix of other platform-specific functionality. Accessing the user (via HID), the graphics card (via OpenGL, CoreGraphics, CoreAnimation, etc), and the sound hardware (via CoreAudio) is all platform-specific.

      Most of a specific chunk of code written for a Windows game will (most likely) be relatively portable already (with the possible exception of non-standard types). The bits that need to be rewritten to work on OS X are the same bits that would need to be rewritten to work on Linux. Porting to OS X gains Linux almost nothing.
  • What ever happened to the new pointing device that Apple was supposed to come out with? I instantly though they were going to strengthen their stance on gaming when the rumors about it started circulating.
  • Forget that. I'd like to see a more serious push from them in the desktop/laptop area so I didn't have to use Bootcamp or VMWare to run games only released for Windows. I'm happy to do that given that I find using OS X and the Mac hardware a very positive experience, but I'd be a bit disappointed if they neglected 'us' and focused solely on the iPhone.
  • by cashman73 (855518) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @02:48PM (#23341258) Journal
    Wouldn't it be hilarious if they finally released Duke Nukem Forever . . . available exclusively on the MacOS platform?!?! ;-)

    Sales of Macs would skyrocket! Plus, DNF might actually run!

  • While there are a lot of iPhone users now, I wouldn't call developing mobile games solely for their own hardware a big "Push Into Gaming". Unless they develop games for all mobile devices (highly impractical) or get mainstream games to run on their mobile hardware (not sure on the feasibility of this), it's going to be very niche.
    • by DaveCBio (659840)
      Exactly. Price wise it's not even in the same ballpark price wise as the DS or even PSP to start. People will buy a few games for their iPhone/Touch, but no one is going to buy one just for games.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @03:02PM (#23341496)
      Unless they develop games for all mobile devices (highly impractical) or get mainstream games to run on their mobile hardware (not sure on the feasibility of this)

      I agree there's no way they are going to have a platform for game development for all platforms. Whay would they? Apple wants to sell Apple platforms.

      But Apple is pushing in a very big way for mainstream names to come to the platform. We've already seen demos from Nintendo and from EA, in particular a Spore demonstration. Now those were proof of concepts but it's pretty obvious both parties are interested in extending those relationships into real working games.

      Games on the iPhone will be different due to how control schemes have to be altered. But we'll see names from many big players, and games from big franchises.

      This may strike people as another nGague, but this time Apple is still focused on the core reasons for owning a device - and also making is useful for gaming, which is I think the right mix for a portable device that is not only a game system. I think it will be more successful than other non-gaming mobile platforms, because it has better support for graphics and control and a really good display for gaming.

      • Ok, big name companies/games like that -would- make a difference, but they have to be sure they'll make a profit before they do anything beyond proof of concept. How much money would have to go into Spore to make a production port for the iPhone? From what I know of ports (I helped do some minor alpha/beta testing of the Mac port of A Tale in the Desert http://atitd.com/ [atitd.com]), there's a lot involved in even a simple project with limited hardware like the iPhone.

        Apple had troubles getting big name games/compa
        • The iPhone market is already in the millions of handsets sold, with a pretty obvious growth path, and the mobile games industry itself is already a proven money maker. The fact that EA and Nintendo were working on prototypes already indicates a lot of interest, and there is clear profit to be made by these companies just by leveraging existing concepts.

          I'm not sure the hardware is as limited as you think, it sports a flavor of OpenGL and EA at least simply ported over existing game media to make the protot
    • by omeomi (675045)
      or get mainstream games to run on their mobile hardware (not sure on the feasibility of this),

      There's a NES emulator for Jailbreak...you can play mainstream games from 1985!
  • by DaveCBio (659840) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @02:48PM (#23341272)
    Apple pushes into gaming they flop. How many times have they promised new tools and support for game devs and come up far, far short? They have no passion for it and you can tell that comes from the top.
  • "Big Apple" (Score:5, Funny)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @02:48PM (#23341282) Journal
    "Theorizing a Big Apple Push Into Gaming"

    Phew, I thought New York was going to get into gaming. Had me worried for a new york minute there.
  • Yes, there are mobile phone games, but how big an industry are we talking about?

    Think waaay back before they launched the ipod. There were LOTS of mp3 player brands and Apple can control the entire value chain.

    In the mobile phone space, they've got the service provider standing in the way ready to put the squeeze on Apple when they start doing well.
    • by omeomi (675045)
      In the mobile phone space, they've got the service provider standing in the way ready to put the squeeze on Apple when they start doing well.

      Not at all. iPhone and iTouch games will be distributed via iTunes. They don't have to worry about the service provider at all.
    • Yes, there are mobile phone games, but how big an industry are we talking about?

      Already over a few hundred million and growing, and that's on existing phones with tiny screens and poor processors...

      Think waaay back before they launched the ipod. There were LOTS of mp3 player brands and Apple can control the entire value chain.

      In the mobile phone space, they've got the service provider standing in the way ready to put the squeeze on Apple when they start doing well.


      How exactly can "AT&T put the squeeze o
  • Game developers like consoles because of the preset hardware configurations. They don't have to test their work across a wide array of setups like they do on a PC. Apple could definitely provide a similar lure with the Mac.
  • Ironically (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JohnnyKnoxville (311956) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @03:01PM (#23341484)
    A game that was originally developed for Macs became Microsoft's console's biggest franchise.
    • Actually, no. I'm assuming you're referring to Halo, which was, actually, originally developed for the PC. Marathon, I think, is the game you are actually thinking of and that was a separate game. Halo can be thought of as a spiritual sequel to Marathon in the vein of Wasteland/Fallout(or even a direct sequel if Bungie works harder at making the continuity line up) but it isn't the same game.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by beelsebob (529313)
        Further to the simultanious mac/pc release comment, all the demo videos they ran at E3 originally, were running on 300Mhz G3 Macs with Rage 128s in them. It was because they had to port a Mac game to XBox, and then to PC that it became a performance dog.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ravenscall (12240)
        You are wrong [ign.com]
  • Um, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtechie (244489) * on Thursday May 08, 2008 @03:02PM (#23341500)
    Over the years, Apple has done everything short of spitting in the face of game developers.

    Yes, there will be mobile games for the iPhone. I expect to see a Bejeweled port in short order. No, the iPhone will not be the next handheld gaming device a la Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, etc. It's capabilities will be similar to Windows Mobile, with fewer games. All development will be done by third parties who Apple will do nothing to encourage and whom Apple will end up screwing over (because they always screw over the developers). i.e. "We've just released the mandatory iPhone update X, which breaks all 3rd-party apps, and we didn't bother to tell developers this would happen, and no, we won't tell you what we changed to make it easy to fix your apps. We hate you."

    • All development will be done by third parties who Apple will do nothing to encourage

      That's already different. The very launch of the SDK itself had EA and Nintento both presenting concept games (Super Monkey Ball and Spore respectively). It's obvious that in this realm at least, game developers are being courted and listened to (which you'd also realize if you looked at the SDK and watched it change from release to release).

      "We've just released the mandatory iPhone update X, which breaks all 3rd-party ap
  • Thinking about this, I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a true gamer can feel, a gamer at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain... I hope Apple can elevate the gaming industry. I hope to see Steve Jobs and shake his hand. I hope their new games/systems are as blue as they have been in my dreams.

    iHope.
  • The PC gaming market has shrunken. A LOT. PC (Wintel? Non-Apple? What have you) games are now banished to a corner of any given video game store, rather than dominating it. And the new Apples are using the same hardware as any other computer out there. So now would be a good time to attempt this.

    What they need, though, is something killer. Something that makes people sit up and say "OMG must have OSX!" Something GTA4-level wowzers. What would that be? No idea.
    • by thermian (1267986)
      has it shrunk? Really? You sure it's not just the increase in high street console game sales that make you think that.

      Most of my pc game playing friends no longer purchase from shops. Services like Steam, and sites like play.com have made it almost pointless to go into a shop on the high street for the latest games.
  • yay! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2008 @03:14PM (#23341678)
    I can't wait for my controller with only one button.
  • If it's simple games, I can see the market not having much of a problem buying them for $5 each or whatever. But if these are full fledged games that will compete with the ones released on DS or PSP, then people might have a problem with not being able to buy them in stores as gifts (buying an iTunes gift card will have the stigma of thoughtlessness that giving cash in a card does), or simply not having physical media to lend or trade on used markets.
  • When Doom 4 was announced, I looked at the id Software job postings [idsoftware.com]. Several of the jobs are for mobile game development, including iPhone. It seems many game makers are hopping on the mobile market. Whether that market really takes off remains to be seen.
  • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @03:46PM (#23342074)
    Of course Apple's going to push the iPhone as a gaming platform- they'd be stupid not to. Why? Because it already IS the platform- they're already selling a mobile device with the form factor, screen, and processing power required for a good handheld gaming system. So failing to make it into one simply due to lack of the games themselves would basically be silly. I don't think Apple set out to build a competitor for the DS & PSP, but if they're selling competitive hardware anyway, why on earth wouldn't they want to make it compete? Especially if doing so is as simple as beefing up the SDK with gaming API's and encouraging independent developers to do the rest. And there's really not any question about that, because Apple's already done that. [apple.com] They invited in game developers to use their new SDK, and the game developers say they're impressed with what a great game development platform Apple's made the iPhone. It seems that this is yesterday's news; Apple already announced the iPhone as a portable gaming platform, and already has major game developers on board. This article is speculating that Apple might do something that Steve said they've already done in his last keynote.

    If you want crazy theories about what Apple could do as far as gaming goes... how about, instead of selling Mac Pros with two quad-core Xeons, they start making them with one quad-core Xeon and one Cell. Sure, it would take a mountain of work to make Xcode optimize its compiler to execute code for running on two different architectures simultaneously, especially one as odd as the Cell, but Xcode already generates universal binaries for x86 and PPC at the click of a button, and Apple's got the resources these days to make Xcode optimize as much as possible for the Cell, and make decisions about which code to run on the cell and which to run on the Xeon.

    Why would they try a crazy architecture like that? Well, in the markets Mac Pros are aimed at; video editing, rendering, Photoshop, scientific computing- Cells can, in certain circumstances, run circles around the competition. It could grant a speed advantage for certain tasks that Windows PC's would have no hope of matching. Throw in a quad Xeon, a Cell, and finish up making the OS offload some processing to the graphics card, and you've got a computer with three extremely different and very fast processors to throw at different sorts of problems.

    But wait, didn't I say something about games? Well, if you're selling a computer with a Cell in it already, along with a graphics card, (how long could it be before Apple starts offering Blu-ray on Mac Pros...), could they license PS3 compatibility from Sony? They wouldn't even have to license it, Sony could sell a PS3 compatibility client for Mac Pros. Before you say "Sony would never do that," remember that Sony loses money on each PS3- they're in this for market dominance, not hardware profits.

    Anyway, that's my crazy conspiracy theory regarding Apple gaming, to go with the "already happened so it's not even news" theory regarding iPhone gaming above.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Have Blue (616)
      Universal binaries are easy because the compiler is running two well-understood processes (compiling for x86 and compiling for ppc) and doing a little reorganizing at the end. Compiling for the Cell is a very new field all by itself; targeting both a traditional processor *and* a cell *and* having them interact in such a way as to provide a meaningful performance benefit would be a serious problem for a team of expert humans.

      Apple would be better off investing in GPGPU technology if they do decide to get
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)
      But wait, didn't I say something about games? Well, if you're selling a computer with a Cell in it already, along with a graphics card, (how long could it be before Apple starts offering Blu-ray on Mac Pros...), could they license PS3 compatibility from Sony? They wouldn't even have to license it, Sony could sell a PS3 compatibility client for Mac Pros. Before you say "Sony would never do that," remember that Sony loses money on each PS3- they're in this for market dominance, not hardware profits.

      Charging $
  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @03:57PM (#23342206) Journal
    ...unless DirectX comes to OSX. Mac's make up 10% of the market, something like that, right?

    While I'm sure some games will be cross-platform, you try selling the idea of focussing your coding efforts on 10% of the total market to your CEO.

    Remember too; games written for DirectX just happen to port real easy to the XBox too - that is real margin savings right there for most game developers.

    Oh, and don't even compare OpenGL to DirectX because DirectX does way more than just graphics; it's an entire API set for every element of gaming.
  • Unlikely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Cabri (13930) * on Thursday May 08, 2008 @04:03PM (#23342270) Journal
    The video game market is one of the most expensive and toughest to crack into of all global markets. Only two new companies managed to make it from scratch in more than 10 years : Sony and Microsoft, each of them gambling huge amounts of money over many years. Apple certainly "could" theoretically make it, it has the talent and the cash, but as a business decision it would not make sense for a company that is mostly known for breaking changes and creating whole new markets. As for the "mobile" focus, doesn't make any difference : that field is crowded already, by Nintendo and Sony no less.
  • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @04:29PM (#23342596)
    iConsole: I'm an iConsole
    Xbox 360: And I'm an Xbox 360
    iConsole: Hey Xbox 360, what's wrong?
    Xbox 360: Oh the red ring of death, looks like I have to be replaced
    iConsole: That's too bad Xbox 360, you know the iConsole doesn't have that problem
    Xbox 360: Yeah, you also don't have any games, plus you cost more than the PS3
    iConsole: That may be so, but people appreciate a console that just works, plus no red ring of death
    Xbox 360: Yes well despite that we still managed to beat the PS3. I'd like to know what your plan is?
    iConsole: Well, while you're off getting replaced people can do fun things like make photobooks and watch movies from itunes
    Xbox 360: Fair enough I suppose. I think I'll go play Wii on my week off.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday May 09, 2008 @12:01PM (#23351152)
    Apple has succeeded in areas where they take something complicated and make it easy enough for general public. That has been their advantage The original Mac freed users from using command lines. The current lineup makes things like Wi-Fi making movies easy. iPod made digital media players accessible. iTunes made buying music online for your media player easy. The iPhone made surfing and making phone calls less of a headache. Gaming consoles these days are pretty idiot proof. The games are hard but running the console is easy. There isn't an advantage for Apple.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.

Working...