When Steve Jobs temporarily stepped down as Apple CEO in January 2009, pundits were out in full force predicting the demise of Apple, as if the company consisted solely of one man as opposed to thousands of talented and highly skilled individuals. Now Apple, of course, isn’t too keen on its employees being out in the open talking about what they’re doing, or hell, even blogging, but once in a while we’ll get wind of an Apple employee that sheds some light on just what type of extraordinary talent Apple is housing over in Cupertino.
When it comes to gaming, Graeme Devine’s resume is at the top of the heap. Devine started working at Atari at age 16 where he helped port Pole Position over to the PC. Following that, he’s dipped his hand in all sorts of porjects, form creating games like The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour to helping design Quake III Arena, Doom 3, and Halo Wars.
For the past year, Devine has been holed away working at Apple where he was responsible for taking gaming on the iOS platform to an entirely new level. This past Friday, however, was Devine’s last day with the company.
As part of Apple’s iPhone Game Technologies division, Devine tells Kotaku that he was responsible for making the iOS platform more gamer friendly to help attract even more big name and/or quality titles to Apple’s slew of iOS devices.
“My job there was basically to make gaming on the iOS devices fantastic,” Devine explained. “Basically that meant looking at the technologies involved and making sure the software played well with the hardware, to look at upcoming hardware/API and say ‘Yup, that is a good thing’.
“Apple didn’t have an in-house game designer before me so I think it was pretty unique, game technologies touch everything from the graphics stack to touch latency to push notifications. No other app type covers so many technologies and having someone there to validate and help shape that was basically my day job. It was pretty kick ass.”
Now Apple has never been terribly enthusiastic about gaming, but the success of the iTunes App Store all but forced them to jump in head first. As the battle for smartphone supremacy rages on, competing app stores amongst mobile OS’s take on even greater significance as it’s now more about the software you can run than it is about the hardware. So Devine’s departure notwithstanding, the prolific game developer is still confident that Apple will continue to sail along just smoothly in his absence.
“Apple has the smartest and most talented group of people I have ever worked with,” said Devine. “Every day I would walk in and feel I was working alongside geniuses and I the guy with crayons in the corner.
“I can’t comment on what’s next inside Apple, but I can tell you, they really do ‘get’ gaming.”
So with all that said, what prompted Devine to up and leave the famed fruit maker? Well like most developers, Devine wanted to go back to doing what he does best – developing software. And going forward, Devine notes that he’s going to focus primarily on developing for the iOS platform, and in particular, for the iPad.