If you’re only slightly following tech or Apple or games or all of the above, I am sure you know that there was another Steve Jobs keynote last Monday at the WWDC 2007. I was slightly underwhelmed. There were a couple of intriguing announcements involving games though.
First of all, Bing Gordon, Chief Creative Officer of Electronic Arts, joined Mr. Jobs on stage to announce that EA is bringing its biggest titles to Mac OS X, including Command & Conquer 3, Battlefield 2142, Need for Speed, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, all to be released in July.
I haven’t read any other thoughts on this yet, but I must admit to being a bit puzzled. Initially I thought the Intel processors in newer Macs makes ports easier, but to be honest I am not sure if that is the case. Has the Mac market grown? Is there some strategic advantage? I haven’t figured it out yet. I would imagine the ROI on Mac ports should be quite decent for a company that is big enough such as EA. (Too bad I don’t have an Intel Mac I guess.)
Second, John Carmack of id Software presented their new technology:
He’d been talking about it for a while, there is a first iteration in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, here was the real deal. No real announcements apart from that video, the game in question will come out for PC, Mac, PS3 and Xbox 360, details to follow at E3 (remember E3?). News-wise, it was cool, but somehow not quite as exciting as Bungie showing Halo for the first time at MacWorld New York 1999.
What does this all mean? Does Apple now ‘get’ games? Or does Mr. Jobs still hate them, as he allegedly does? Although having Mr. Gordon and Mr. Carmack on stage is impressive, I can’t see this as a serious move into games. Strategically, Apple is involved in a fight over the living room (however much Mr. Jobs refers to Apple TV a ‘hobby’) against Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and, I guess, Sony’s PlayStation 3. I don’t quite see how these announcements fit into that struggle. Now, if Apple were to announce a wireless controller for the Apple TV, that’d be different. But the Apple TV is not that powerful, the profit margins on it are low (see previous link), and since they don’t control the software they can’t take a loss on the hardware the way Microsoft and Sony do. So, I am waiting for another shoe to drop.
As a bonus for Mac fans, here’s John Hodgman as Steve Jobs:
(Yes, PC lovers, I have seen the PC vs Mac spoof ads. I even laughed.)