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Briefly: Apple seeks game artists; Apple TV prep begins at retail

post #1 of 30
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Apple has cast its net wider in the hunt for game developers. Meanwhile, batches of Sony's LCD flat screens are accumulating in Apple retail shops ahead of the company's Apple TV roll-out. And Fibre Channel Utility 2.1.4 is now available.

Search expands for in-house game dev staff

Not satisfied with its existing teams, Apple has begun canvassing schools in a search for junior additions to its swelling game development workforce.

Students at the Savannah College of Art and Design reported today receiving an e-mail from a recruiter working directly for Apple, Inc., who appears to be actively tracking down skilled graphics designers among those enrolled in the school's Fine Arts programs. Those hired for the summer program would be tasked with creating "consistent, high quality 3D and 2D art for games," the message said.

Conspicuously absent from the notice was any mention of a specific platform for the games in question.

The Cuperrino-based Apple has shown a steadily burgeoning interest in games ever since it revealed its first two homemade games for the fifth-generation iPod, Texas Hold'em and Vortex, back in September.

Prudential analyst Jesse Tortora claimed to have caught Apple expanding its staff in December. In turn, a slip of the tongue by a former Microsoft alumnus turned PopCap Games exec has also pointed to casual games as a new feature of the Apple TV, which may include first-party titles.

Sony sets in Apple stores point to Apple TV launch

Speaking of Apple TV, Apple's retail stores this week began receiving small batches of Sony LCD TVs in preparation for the device's launch a bit later this month. Sneaking past a retail outlets' storage area, an intrepid shopper snapped this photo of several 32-inch sets from Sony's Bravia line that will soon become part of the retail stores' Apple TV displays.

32-inch Sony Bravias arrive at Apple retail stores.

The particular model showing up at the stores, Sony's premium KDL-V32XBR2, is the exact same version used by Apple to promote its eponymous Apple TV wireless streaming video hub through its website. The XBR2 was also used to promote the Apple TV device at Apple's booth during the January Macworld Conference.

The shipments appear to corroborate Apple's recent claim that it will not stray from a February release. An exact timeframe for the arrival of the devics remains up in the air, however.

Fibre Channel Utility 2.1.4

Also this week, Apple released Fibre Channel Utility 2.1.4 [500K], which provides the ability to configure the Apple Fibre Channel PCI Cards including the Apple Dual- and Quad-Channel 4Gb Fibre Channel Card.
post #2 of 30
It's about time!
post #3 of 30
I don't really see the need for Apple to be developing games here, surely there are plenty of advanced companies in existance to do that...is there really a large enough market to justify the expansion?
post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThinkExpensive View Post

I don't really see the need for Apple to be developing games here, surely there are plenty of advanced companies in existance to do that...is there really a large enough market to justify the expansion?

Well, the video game industry is a multi billion dollar industry, and if Apple wants to get into it, they probably want to do the same thing with the iPhone, just take little bites out of it. Not to mention if Apple eventually has the intention of taking on hardcore gaming, Microsoft has their own game developent team as well.
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post #5 of 30
One of these days those Sony boxes will be Apple Inc. boxes.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #6 of 30
Hmmm.... I guess we can write off HDMI and scaler on an updated ACD in the near term.
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post #7 of 30
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Originally Posted by Bacillus View Post

Hmmm.... I guess we can write off HDMI and scaler on an updated ACD in the near term.

The ACD was never meant for the living room.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #8 of 30
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Originally Posted by Bacillus View Post

Hmmm.... I guess we can write off HDMI and scaler on an updated ACD in the near term.

My thoughts exactly. I was hoping that at least more than DVI input on the next get displays. I'm hoping the timing is just off and the AppleTV is early/ontime and the displays are just to late to delay the ATV.
post #9 of 30
What is fibre channel?
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post #10 of 30
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Originally Posted by bikerdude View Post

What is fibre channel?

........
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #11 of 30
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Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

........

Thanks Ireland
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post #12 of 30
I hope they get these up soon so I can go to the store and play with the setup!

Why did apple choose tvs from an immediate rival? Why not tvs from sharp or samsung whom they seem to love.
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post #13 of 30
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Originally Posted by ecking View Post

I hope they get these up soon so I can go to the store and play with the setup!

Why did apple choose tvs from an immediate rival? Why not tvs from sharp or samsung whom they seem to love.

Steve likes Sony and their TV's. I have a Bravia myself.
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post #14 of 30
There really is not much room for growth in the core gaming market. And entering that market requires a willingness to incinerate cash which Apple does not have.

But the casual gamer market has massive room for growth.
Many people who don't own a console *would* pay a few dollars to play a game, if the experience of buying it and installing it was easy. Perhaps as easy as buying a tune in the iTunes store.

The AppleTV is a trojan horse for games, but that's not its main function.

C.
post #15 of 30
So, in others they would like to creative games for the iPhone and appleTV while still not giving two hoots about the gaming situation on the Mac.
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecking View Post

I hope they get these up soon so I can go to the store and play with the setup!

Why did apple choose tvs from an immediate rival? Why not tvs from sharp or samsung whom they seem to love.

Perhaps it is because of the following, Jobs' 2005 Macworld Keynote:

"Jobs declared 2005 "the year of high-definition video" and announced Final Cut Express HDHe spent a bit of time talking about how Apple and Sony have worked together over the years, dating back to Apple's adoption of Sony's 3.5" floppy disk for the original Mac. Then, in a major surprise, he welcomed Sony president Kunitake Ando on-stage, who mostly talked about how Sony's camera and camcorder products worked with the Mac."

http://blogs.business2.com/business2..._jobs_k_2.html
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecking View Post

Why did apple choose tvs from an immediate rival? Why not tvs from sharp or samsung whom they seem to love.

I recently researched and purchased a 1080p LCD television, so the answer is obvious to me.

The Sony LCD televisions have LCD screens made by Samsung, and probably the finest electronics package of any mainstream LCD set. Not only do you get the great Samsung images, but the Sony filtering and image enhancement system upconverts images it receives to provide a fantastic picture.

I bought a 40" Sony Bravia XBR2 on New Year's Day 2007. During the month I waited for an HD cable box (thanks, Charter Communications) I appreciated the way that the Sony TV rendered standard broadcasts. People who didn't know that the HD wasn't working yet complemented me on the high-quality picture. Now that I am getting HD, the picture is absolutely stunning.

Apple is trying to sell Apple TV units, so they want to have the best looking demo they can get. Having the Sony package on a relatively small screen (32 inches) will provide optimal results.
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

There really is not much room for growth in the core gaming market. And entering that market requires a willingness to incinerate cash which Apple does not have.

But the casual gamer market has massive room for growth.
Many people who don't own a console *would* pay a few dollars to play a game, if the experience of buying it and installing it was easy. Perhaps as easy as buying a tune in the iTunes store.

The AppleTV is a trojan horse for games, but that's not its main function.

C.

Great, just what we need. Another version of Bejeweled or Zuma.

Apple doesn't need to enter the gaming market. What it needs to do is show that the Mac is a viable gaming platform. How many potential Mac buyers have been turned away by the fact that they can't play the latest games that are already available on Windows? Or the fact that there is little or no hope the game will be ported to the Mac?

By way of example, I knew a guy at work who I tried to convince to buy a Mac. He said that he would have except he needed a computer that could play the Star Wars MMORPG for his son. So away from the Mac he went and off he went to buy a PC. I'm sure lots of people here could recount similar stories.

If Apple really wants the Mac to take off, it needs to either start producing ports of PC games itself, work with the companies that produce the games in the first place to get them to release simultaneous PC and Mac versions, or work with the companies doing the port so that they can come at at the same time or close to the PC version (and 3 months to over a year later). Or Apple could produce its own must-have game like Microsoft did with Halo for the X-Box (I bought an X-Box primarily to play that game).

Not this nickel and dime crap they've got going on now. Yippie! Someone paid $5 for another copy of Zuma for the 5G iPod!
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

Not this nickel and dime crap they've got going on now. Yippie! Someone paid $5 for another copy of Zuma for the 5G iPod!

I haven't bought any of the iPod games, but I've got to say that where I checked, the iPod versions of the game is cheaper than the same game on any other platform, be it mobile phone, PDA or PC.

I hope that Apple offers a way to allow a wider range of developers to work on the iPod platform. I don't think the current secret society system really cuts it.
post #20 of 30
Quote:
Hmmm.... I guess we can write off HDMI and scaler on an updated ACD in the near term.

Quote:
The ACD was never meant for the living room.

Right on. Despite the name, they simply aren't TVs, and are poorly optimized for that use.
post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Right on. Despite the name, they simply aren't TVs, and are poorly optimized for that use.

I would have gave a further off date, but I now think it's possible Apple Inc. will realease its first TV's before 2008.
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post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

By way of example, I knew a guy at work who I tried to convince to buy a Mac. He said that he would have except he needed a computer that could play the Star Wars MMORPG for his son.

Yeah .... for his son, right.
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post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Perhaps it is because of the following, Jobs' 2005 Macworld Keynote:

"Jobs declared 2005 "the year of high-definition video" and announced Final Cut Express HDHe spent a bit of time talking about how Apple and Sony have worked together over the years, dating back to Apple's adoption of Sony's 3.5" floppy disk for the original Mac. Then, in a major surprise, he welcomed Sony president Kunitake Ando on-stage, who mostly talked about how Sony's camera and camcorder products worked with the Mac."

Oh I didn't know that happened. I know apple has a close parts relationship with samsung, I just forgot they also had one with sony.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Askew View Post

I recently researched and purchased a 1080p LCD television, so the answer is obvious to me.

The Sony LCD televisions have LCD screens made by Samsung, and probably the finest electronics package of any mainstream LCD set. Not only do you get the great Samsung images, but the Sony filtering and image enhancement system upconverts images it receives to provide a fantastic picture.

I bought a 40" Sony Bravia XBR2 on New Year's Day 2007. During the month I waited for an HD cable box (thanks, Charter Communications) I appreciated the way that the Sony TV rendered standard broadcasts. People who didn't know that the HD wasn't working yet complemented me on the high-quality picture. Now that I am getting HD, the picture is absolutely stunning.

Apple is trying to sell Apple TV units, so they want to have the best looking demo they can get. Having the Sony package on a relatively small screen (32 inches) will provide optimal results.

That makes a lot sense. Putting that many pixels into a 32" space will probably make the appleTV look amazing in store.
Personally I liked the Sharp 46" 1080p screen and was looking into that, but now I'll look into the Sony as well.
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post #24 of 30
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Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

Great, just what we need. Another version of Bejeweled or Zuma.

Apple doesn't need to enter the gaming market. What it needs to do is show that the Mac is a viable gaming platform. How many potential Mac buyers have been turned away by the fact that they can't play the latest games that are already available on Windows? Or the fact that there is little or no hope the game will be ported to the Mac?

By way of example, I knew a guy at work who I tried to convince to buy a Mac. He said that he would have except he needed a computer that could play the Star Wars MMORPG for his son. So away from the Mac he went and off he went to buy a PC. I'm sure lots of people here could recount similar stories.

If Apple really wants the Mac to take off, it needs to either start producing ports of PC games itself, work with the companies that produce the games in the first place to get them to release simultaneous PC and Mac versions, or work with the companies doing the port so that they can come at at the same time or close to the PC version (and 3 months to over a year later). Or Apple could produce its own must-have game like Microsoft did with Halo for the X-Box (I bought an X-Box primarily to play that game).

Not this nickel and dime crap they've got going on now. Yippie! Someone paid $5 for another copy of Zuma for the 5G iPod!

I recommend Macs to everyone, unless they are gamers.

Hardcore gamers are not going to be attracted to a platform where games are less available, and I guess that's where the Mac is. Although Bootcamp means that occasional PC gamers can switch and still get their fix.

In fact my kids have Macs in part because they don't waste their time playing games, but do stuff instead, like stop motion and art stuff. I am allowed to say games are a waste of time because I work in the Games Industry.

The casual gaming market has growth left in it. So it's not dumb for Apple to invest.

But hardcore gaming is not going to happen anytime soon. Games technology is very expensive to develop. Apple's hardware and APIs are pretty good. But trust me that developing games can lose a lot of money. Only hit games actually make money. A hit game is 400,000 units plus. My limited figures show that ported games to Apple would be lucky to sell 20,000.

Why so few? 1. There are less Macs out there. 2. Game buyers don't own Macs. So Mac owners don't buy many games. I know I don't.

The only way forwards is getting Macs to run PC titles ( Parallels / Crossover / VM Ware etc.)
or technology that reduces the cost of producing a Mac port to under $90,000 (Cider)

C.
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

I recommend Macs to everyone, unless they are gamers.

Hardcore gamers are not going to be attracted to a platform where games are less available, and I guess that's where the Mac is. Although Bootcamp means that occasional PC gamers can switch and still get their fix.

The casual gaming market has growth left in it. So it's not dumb for Apple to invest.

The only way forwards is getting Macs to run PC titles ( Parallels / Crossover / VM Ware etc.)
or technology that reduces the cost of producing a Mac port to under $90,000 (Cider)

Virtualization is ABSOLUTELY NOT the answer to Mac gaming. What's the point of buying a Mac if you're going to run Windows anyhow? Most of the people who would be willing to spend $1500 on a computer to play games aren't going to settle for the performance hits, however slight, that virtualization imposes. Even Cider involves a performance hit. And switching back and forth via Bootcamp would get old really quick.

Apple needs to encourage game studios to make simultaneous PC and Mac versions, like Blizzard does. Not send the message that if you want to play games, buy Windows. If it took somewhere around 90K to produce a Mac port, would that really be anything but a drop in the bucket for Apple to throw at a company to encourage them to do just that? Wouldn't it be a boon to Apple to be tout the latest first person shooter or role-playing game is available for both PC and Mac, and not just the PC and maybe, eventually (but probably not) the Mac? I mean, really, if a studio can simultaneously produce PC, X-Box 360, PS2, and Gamecube/Wii versions of a game, how hard could it be to add a Mac version to the list. Apple should encourage this, even if it involves throwing money at the game developers to do it.
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

Apple needs to encourage game studios to make simultaneous PC and Mac versions, like Blizzard does. If it took somewhere around 90K to produce a Mac port, would that really be anything but a drop in the bucket for Apple to throw at a company to encourage them to do just that?

The target for most PC style games is the Windows PC. See Market share
Most developers will use Visual Studio, Direct X, Open GL, Max / Maya / Softimage. C++.
There is not one thing Apple can do will change that.

If a developer sets out to support mulitple platforms, then they will use OpenGL.
But multi-platform development is harder. So they set out to follow the path of least resistance, (Direct X) and once on that path, becoming multi-platform is virtually impossible.

At that point, porting a game to Mac is not $90k but suddenly $250k. The port involves your lead programmers who are needed to do lead programmer stuff. And the financial people say that we'd need to sell 50,000 units to make this port profitable. They do more maths and decide to sell the rights to a specialist porting house instead. The porting house wait to see what the sales are like, if the PC version sells less than a million, they pass.

The best Apple could do is sponsor strategically significant developers, the same way that NVidia and ATI do. That way Apple could ensure that Key Titles appear on the Mac. But the thing is, Key Titles already do appear on Mac. It's the other games that do not.

Personal computer gaming will not come back to the Mac until the Mac has at least a 30% market share.

C.
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

Virtualization is ABSOLUTELY NOT the answer to Mac gaming. What's the point of buying a Mac if you're going to run Windows anyhow? Most of the people who would be willing to spend $1500 on a computer to play games aren't going to settle for the performance hits, however slight, that virtualization imposes. Even Cider involves a performance hit. And switching back and forth via Bootcamp would get old really quick.

Apple needs to encourage game studios to make simultaneous PC and Mac versions, like Blizzard does. Not send the message that if you want to play games, buy Windows. If it took somewhere around 90K to produce a Mac port, would that really be anything but a drop in the bucket for Apple to throw at a company to encourage them to do just that? Wouldn't it be a boon to Apple to be tout the latest first person shooter or role-playing game is available for both PC and Mac, and not just the PC and maybe, eventually (but probably not) the Mac? I mean, really, if a studio can simultaneously produce PC, X-Box 360, PS2, and Gamecube/Wii versions of a game, how hard could it be to add a Mac version to the list. Apple should encourage this, even if it involves throwing money at the game developers to do it.

If they want that they either need to greatly increase their marketshare or use some of their money to buy Transgaming and cider and then basically give it away like they do xCode. Yes it does have a performance hit, but it pretty similar if not fast thana tradition port without all the effort. Most of the hit comes from a DX to OGL conversion which is required in just about every game.
post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

The target for most PC style games is the Windows PC. See Market share

At that point, porting a game to Mac is not $90k but suddenly $250k. The port involves your lead programmers who are needed to do lead programmer stuff. And the financial people say that we'd need to sell 50,000 units to make this port profitable. They do more maths and decide to sell the rights to a specialist porting house instead. The porting house wait to see what the sales are like, if the PC version sells less than a million, they pass.

The best Apple could do is sponsor strategically significant developers, the same way that NVidia and ATI do. That way Apple could ensure that Key Titles appear on the Mac. But the thing is, Key Titles already do appear on Mac. It's the other games that do not.

I understand that a company is going to target the biggest audience, hence Windows. But it's a chicken-and-egg scenario for Apple. If games aren't coming to the Mac, how are they supposed to get gamers to buy Macs?

And even if it costs $250K for Apple to support a simultaneous PC/Mac version, is that really anything to Apple? I wouldn't say it was viable for all games, but as you mentioned it would be a very good thing for key games. For instance, if there is to be a Sims 3 it would be in Apple's best interest to have a Mac version published simultaneously to the PC version especially considering this games wide demographic appeal. Or the next installment of the Elder Scrolls series. Or all the Tom Clancey games. And on top of this, they have to support cross-platform multiplayer where applicable. And maybe in return for the financial support, they could get the game developers to show the games running on a Mac in their advertising so that the Mac is shown in the light of a gaming machine.

And even now, not all of the key games make it to the Mac. How many have died because the companies that would port it can't afford the cost of licensing the physics engine? That's somewhere else Apple could (and probably should) step in to help out. And six months to a year after the game has been available to the PC crowd is not acceptable. PC and Mac games must be available at the same time. What gamer is really willing to wait for a game that long?
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

The target for most PC style games is the Windows PC. See Market share
Most developers will use Visual Studio, Direct X, Open GL, Max / Maya / Softimage. C++.
There is not one thing Apple can do will change that.

Please. If Apple was all that serious about gaming it wouldn't be that hard to make a statement to that effect.

It would take a bit of investment into Emergent and get them to do an OpenGL/Mac version of Gamebryo/Emergent Elements. It's a business decision not an engineering one and one that Emergent (or at least Dan Amerson) has said in the recently that it would consider if anyone cared enough ($$$) for them to allocate the engineering resources for the Mac platform.

Then poof...your title can be cross platform for the mac where the majority of the heavy lifting is done by the middleware...as long as Apple holds up the hardware end of the bargin. Then its tuning for the platform and for a secondary market like the Mac that can be as meager or intensive as you like.

Other middleware companies are the same. It takes a bit of investment and persistence on the part of Apple but it can get top level games for the platform if they want it by investing into the tool chains to make porting to the mac easier...that means native support in the tool chains...and mac ports of those tool chains that are as well thought out as other Apple pro products...

I don't think that Emergent would turn down Apple's help in terms of usability...or their money...

Vinea

PS I do all my DX9 (MDX) coding on a Mac Pro...running BootCamp of course...too bad MDX is dead. I guess I'll move to XNA when there's a network stack.
post #30 of 30
Apple lost a lot of good developers to Sony over the past few years. They know that Sony is on the same track as them and Steve knows he can't beat Sony at their own game of overpriced, pretty looking home appliances, so he has to join them. The thing is, Sony is just starting to get its head out of its butt hole and will probably lose at its own game in the longterm.
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