In this article I will be explaining some hard truths to why Apple had nothing to do with revolutionizing gaming. I will go into depth about the failed attempts and quotes from developers themselves. Apple may have revolutionized the way people use smartphones, but not gaming.
It had to start somewhere.
It all started with Bungie, a company in the 90’s that only made games exclusive to the Macintosh platform. Bungie was responsible pretty much for any games that were actually worth having on a Macintosh. Games like Gnop, Marathon, Oni, and Myth. With the success of Marathon Bungie started opening their eyes. Marathon 2 was the first game ported over to the PC and it didn’t stop there. Bungie made enough off of Marathon 2 and the game Myth (which came out simultaneously on both platforms) that they expanded their studio and set off to work on the game everyone knows today as the Xbox’s killer app Halo.
But wait…this is about Apple right?
The year was 1999, the place MacWorld Expo, the reveal Halo. This seemed like it was the final notch to get Apple into the gaming market. By now people knew Bungie as a primary developer for Apple. Showing off amazing graphics, multiple character models on screen and an open world everyone was amazed at what they saw. This all changed though as quoted from Jones “But the chance to work on Xbox—the chance to work with a company that took the games seriously. Before that we worried that we'd get bought by someone who just wanted Mac ports or didn't have a clue." Microsoft owned the title Halo, and had an exclusive deal made with Bungie it would seem that this turned into the final nail in the coffin for Apple being in the gaming market.
What about the Pippin?
What’s a Pippin you ask? Oh it’s just Apple's first attempt to bring gaming to your television set. The Pippin was a Console designed by Apple and Produced by Bandai in 1995. I am not going to go in to spec detail as anyone reading this probably wouldn’t care. It essentially ran a stripped down version of System 7 (Apples OS). The features of the system looked promising as it being a computer essentially it would do everything a computer does with the ease of a video game console. One of the issues with this console was the idea to license out the technology and not produce the console themselves. Apple supplied the tech and Bandai among a few other companies made it (think 3D0). This was a huge flop in fact they sold less than half of what they produced (42,000 in sales and 100,000 manufactured). Another big issue with the system was the fact that out of the box it barely did anything. You needed dongles to get any other functionality out of the console, and the final issue was a limited number of games (Marathon being one and a total of 18 in the US alone). Apple knew its place was not in the gaming market and focused to bring a different product to the masses; elegant computers at a cost. The Pippin was quoted as one of the worst tech products of all time.
Where do we go from here?
From the failed attempt at Pippin to the loss of Halo, Apple shifted its focus for a more well-rounded approach; focus on software while having some games available. They have always been a proprietary company. If you wanted to upgrade your Mac you were either stuck with what you had or had to buy all Apple certified parts. Game developers cringed at this idea. With such a different OS over Windows and not having the same tech that PC’s had on top of a completely different architecture developers lost interest in trying to make faithful Mac ports of PC games. A PC gamer is not defined by how good they are at a PC game; they are defined by the ability to create what they want to run what games they like. Want better graphics get a better GPU, want faster processing get a better CPU. PC gamers had the option to do all this where Mac users either didn’t have or were severely limited to what options were available. Apple wasn't affected by this, they had a cult following for a certain type of user. We all know them, we’ve all seen them, and Apple was ok with this. They simply didn’t care because gaming was no longer a priority. If not for Gabe and Steam, Apple users would not be able to take advantage of what PC gamers have at their grasp. Where is the innovation in that? A 3rd party developer making it easier for Mac users to game, someone point me to it because I don’t see it.
So what did he revolutionize? …Time to get a little bias
After reading ridiculous articles about how the Apple products such as iPad, iPhone, iPod has paved the way to bigger and better gaming experiences is just plain atrocious. For one you are comparing current tech with 5-6 year old consoles, you have journalist saying filth about how the mobile graphics will rival consoles I mean come on! This is the most outlandish crap I’ve read in the past few years. Granted Jobs died and while I commend him for making devices like the iPhone and iPod, I certainly will not commend him or Apple as a whole to revolutionize gaming. The reason games are good on these devices have nothing to do with Jobs or Apple, it’s the developers making the games on this platform. The innovation was not what’s outside of any type of system; it’s what a developer can do with what’s inside of it. What people fail to realize is that technology is obsolete as soon as it is released. You cannot credit a man who failed with a company so hard at joining the gaming market and then say because of a device he essentially made for “better living and ease of convenience” all the sudden became revolutionary for gaming. Handheld consoles have been out for a long time, many variations of fun games. Where will Apple be when the Vita comes out? How would they compare to the graphics of that? What about the fact that when you spend 40 dollars on a game it’s worth it. These 10 dollar tech demos you buy on the iPad are exactly that, a tech demo. Flexing a muscle that doesn’t matter, the gaming scene has not been impacted or influenced by any garbage that fell out of Jobs' mouth. He is an innovator of already made innovations.
To conclude this ridiculous article
I commend Apple for trying to enter the game market and trying to compete with the big names (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo), I just simply can’t point innovation to their favor. What they are doing with “gaming” has been done for many years before that. There has been no shift in the market because of Apple; there has been no change in the way people do gaming because of apple. I do not want to tilt my iPad to race; I do not want to use a virtual joystick to control my "want to be" Gears of War character. As a gamer I know this is not innovation this is simply a means to another market, an area to drive sales of games in another light. Each platform has their own diamonds in the rough (Think Pippin and Marathon). That doesn’t mean that they have changed anything. Steve Jobs has helped stream line a lot of peoples lifestyles but will never ever change the way a gamer looks at games.
Thanks for reading