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Saturday, September 23, 2006

A WTF Moment From Apple

“We’re really glad to see Apple start to take the iPod in this direction,” said Glenda Adams, Aspyr Media’s director of development. “It’s the one big piece of entertainment that was missing. Obviously, we’re disappointed that [Apple] launched it as a closed development system. We had pitched several game ideas for iPod at Apple over the past couple years, but it didn’t lead anywhere.

“We think we’ve got a lot to offer the iPod game market,” Adams continued. “Not only have we worked with Apple on Mac games for 10 years, we’ve developed and published several handheld (PocketPC and Game Boy) games in the last couple years.”

Other developers were less diplomatic. “It was lame of Apple to ignore the guys that have been loyal to them,” said a developer who asked not to be named. “We were ready, willing and able to create anything they wanted.”
-- Mac game makers disappointed by iPod shut-out (via Joystiq)

Seriously Apple, that's cold as ice. Shutting out the hobbyist sector from playing with your new iPod toy is one thing. We're used to that kind of rejection. We've got thick skins and layers of defense mechanisms to keep us warm. Shutting out developers like Aspyr though?

When I first stated that this seemed like Apple is taking iPod gaming more seriously than Mac gaming - I figured it was one of those knee jerk myopic industry outsider kind of statements. You know, the thing that fuels a blog like this.

Now I'm not so sure. I mean, Apple has a long history of controlling the most the things it holds the dearest. Mac hardware, iTunes, iPods and now iPod games. When Apple considers something really critical - they hold it as close to their chest as possible. They are not of the "if you love it, set it free" cult.

However, I firmly state once again that they ignoring the biggest and most successful exception to that rule: podcasts and videocasts. You can barely see The Steve walking on stage these days without him talking about RocketBoom eventually. Where would RocketBoom be if Apple had decided to only allow vblogs from industry insiders like Disney? Frackin' nowhere, that's where.

Apple has the opportunity to try and create a portal for hobbyist gaming literally unlike that we've seen before. With iTunes, they've got a robust gateway into a casual gaming market that adores the synergy between community and media. So maybe it can't be quite as wild west as the podcasts because it's running actual code ... but that's a lame excuse for simply showing everyone the hand.

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