Not Playing Ball: Apple Unlikely to Move Into Development, Expert Says

The web was awash with talk earlier this month that Apple itself was considering moving into game development, adding its own franchises to the App Store’s already bulging line-up.

Apart from the eagle eyed who spotted that, technically, Apple has already done so, its own launch app Texas Hold ‘Em still popular to this day, the speculation was rife amongst many due to a job posting on Apple’s website looking for ‘a skilled software engineer who wants to work as part of a small highly motivated team to work on interactive multimedia experiences on the iPhone and iPod Touch.’

A definite sign of a move into development, right? Well, apparently not. Speaking exclusively to us at Slide to Play, games industry expert Rob Fahey has claimed that such stories are more as of a result of over-enthusiastic journalism than any basis in fact.

‘It’s leaping to conclusions to assume that Apple’s hiring suggests a secret internal game development team,’ Fahey told us. ‘What’s altogether more likely is that, having accepted that the iPhone is now a major gaming platform, the company is scrambling to make sure that its APIs and development platforms are game-friendly– and for that, they need programmers with gaming expertise.’

According to Fahey, Apple moving into development would upset the balance too much to be worth it. It could cause burgeoning development teams to be outshone by the platform’s own creator.

‘Even if Apple did have ideas about entering game development, it’s hard to see how they’d make it work,’ he continued. ‘They’d end up alienating and annoying their developer community– not new ground for Apple, admittedly– and would face accusations of favoritism for their own titles in the App Store, no matter how scrupulously they obeyed their own rules.

‘Moreover, Apple doesn’t own any meaningful games IP and has never demonstrated any desire to become an IP owner. It’s happy to own the platform and the portal for music and movies, and I don’t see things being any different for games.’

Fahey isn’t angry at journalists for following such a line of inquiry, however, adding that it’s ‘certainly interesting to speculate on Apple becoming a first-party publisher, but I just don’t think that’s how the world looks for the guys sitting in Cupertino.’ He concluded, ‘Games industry people see a platform holder and assume that first-party publishing must look attractive on some level, but it would be an extremely awkward fit with Apple’s business.’

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