Two recent job listings at Apple seem to suggest that Apple’s relative aversion to gaming may soon be a thing of the past.
First, AppleInsider directs us to a recent job listing on Apple’s website for a Game/Media Software Engineer for the iPhone, a noteworthy move considering that Apple hasn’t shown much of an interest in creating its own iPhone apps aside from Texas Hold’em and a few others like the Remote app.
The job listing is for a full time position, with the description noting that the “position on the team is to help design and implement interactive multimedia experiences on the iPhone and iPod Touch.” Regarding the specific job requirements Apple’s looking for, the listing makes it clear that Apple isn’t just looking for someone who can create games, but rather someone who lives and breathes video games.
The position, for example, calls for someone who is a “passionate gamer” and has at least 3-4 years of video game development experience. The ideal candidate will apparently have shipped at least one AAA game title, which seems to have a few different interpretations on the web. Some claim that a AAA game title refers to a high quality game while others believe it refers to titles that have shipped over 1 million copies. Either way, the job listing suggests that Apple’s attention to gaming is becoming more and more of a priority despite its historical dis-interest in devoting significant resources towards gaming.
Interestingly, the job listing comes hot on the heels of an interview with Doom creator John Carmack who stated that Apple executives, “in their heart of hearts, [aren’t] proud of the iPhone being a game machine.”
That may well in fact be true, but with games representing about 25% of all app store downloads, it certainly isn’t an area Apple can choose to ignore. To say that Apple isn’t proud of the iPhone being a game machine might be a bit misleading. What I take it to mean is that Apple isn’t entirely thrilled that many look at the iPhone platform solely as a gaming device when its capabilities extend much farther beyond that.
Second, two weeks ago Apple posted a job listing seeking a Video Game Artist. The listing reads, in part:
The interactive media group is looking for a skilled artist who wants to work as part of a small highly motivated team to work on interactive multimedia experiences on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The position on the team is to help design, visualize, enable and implement interface, 3D characters/environments, animation, texturing as well as original concept artwork.
Looking for an artist with Maya / 3D Max / Photoshop experience
-ability to model, animate, texture & produce bump/normal maps for 3D scene graph environments
-strong environment & character concept artist
-3-4 years of real world experience, iPhone / console experience preferred
-ability to handle asset pipeline management including XML and source control
Apple obviously recognizes the importance of gaming on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and indeed, it has taken to advertising the iPod Touch as a gaming device more than anything else. But the above mentioned job listings seem to suggest that Apple’s appreciation for gaming is such that it’s now making a concerted effort to attract talented video game talent for its own in-house apps.