Namco announced earlier today that former Apple games producer Jonathan Kromrey will head up the company’s newly established Apple Games Business Unit, a division which will obviously focus exclusively on game development for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Namco’s press release on the hire describes what Kromrey’s new role will specifically entail:
Kromrey plans to put an emphasis on developing games that take full advantage of the iPhone’s capabilities. While maximizing how music and graphic rendering is handled, Namco will also evaluate numerous features for every game, like voice recognition, peer-to-peer play and accelerometer control, to ensure that the gameplay experience is top-notch. Kromrey is also committed to supporting existing customers through updates that include features specific to the recently launched iPhone 3.0 firmware, such as access to the user’s iTunes library, Facebook Connect and other components.
Namco is a development company whose most popular iPhone apps are ports of already existing and famous arcade titles, such as Pac-Man, Pole Position, and Galaga. But in an interview with Macworld, Kromrey stated that things are going to get a lot busier at Namco, with plans to not only port over some more gaming classics, but to develop new titles as well. Specifically, Kromrey noted that Namco has “five [iPhone] games shipping in August, and five more to go before the year is out.”
Kromrey, a gaming industry veteran, certainly seems like the right man for the job, having been heavily involved in producing the extremely popular Texas Hold ‘Em app for the iPhone, but he won’t be working alone. In an interview with the Washington Post, Kromrey noted that he brought over with him a number of former Apple employees, and also sees the potential for partnerships with other developers down the line.
Lastly, a statement from Kromrey in Namco’s press release suggests that Apple’s historical aversion towards gaming has done a complete 180 in the wake of the increasingly popular iTunes App Store.
While working at Apple, I was amazed by the renewed passion for gaming that seemed to grow by the day. The gaming community has never been broader, both in terms of the types of games being played and the audience. This is a great time to be developing games for Apple’s devices.