id Software co-founder criticizes Apple stance on iPhone games

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple has made "horrible decisions" when it comes to third-party iPod game development and isn't very supportive of the iPhone as a gaming platform either, says id Software co-founder John Carmack, who admits butting heads with Steve Jobs over these very issues early this year.



The gaming icon, responsible for titles such as the Quake series and the upcoming Rage, is known for his long vested interest in the Mac platform. This past June, he joined Jobs on stage at the company's annual developer conference to renew his studio's commitment to the platform, announcing plans to release Rage for the Mac alongside versions for Windows and game consoles.



Carmack, in a recent interview with GameDaily, also claims to be open to bringing some of his future titles to the iPod and iPhone. However, Apple's less than ideal iPod programming tools and reluctance to allow any iPhone development until the announcement of a native development kit for February have made writing games impractical for either platform, according to the game programmer..



"The honest truth right now is that Apple's not exactly hugely supportive of [games for the iPhone]," Carmack says. "When they finally allowed games to be put on the iPod... in many ways it's one of the worst environments to develop games for. You have to work on an emulator... just all these horrible decisions."



He also holds little hope that Apple will improve its resources for developers in the future. Carmack provides more details of a heated debate he and Jobs held while at August's developer conference, noting that Jobs at the time defended his company's limitation of third-party apps to the web under the pretext of security. There have since been follow-up sessions where Apple has been briefed on what Carmack considers "mistakes" in iPod development that should be avoided with the iPhone.



Nonetheless, there aren't "any spectacular signs" that these concerns will influence Apple in the next year, he says.



Apple's seeming indifference to id Software and gaming mirrors the experience of Valve Software. The Half-Life 2 producer's co-founder, Gabe Newell, has recently recounted a cycle of neglect from Apple as the latter firm routinely agrees to listen to requests by Valve only to take no action and reportedly act as though it had never spoken before about the matter.



In spite of this pattern in Apple's approach to games as a whole, Carmack confesses that Apple has no reason to pay attention to his particular company's needs, as the current iPhone feature set is already appealing to many of Apple's customers.



"[Apple's] strategy seems to be working just fine from a business standpoint, so I'm not going to second guess them and tell them they're being fools or idiots for not focusing on this," the developer admits.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    As a non-gamer I have to say "Waaah!"
  • Reply 2 of 71
    It's to stop people getting hands on d kits and hacking iPod's & iPhones I guess, The public have already proven they can't be trusted with all the unlocking that's going on.
  • Reply 3 of 71
    Carmack running out of subsidy money on his failing space venture?



    If the man can't wait until February that's his problem.



    Somehow a self-taught programmer thinks Jobs actually gives a shit about his influence one way or another.



    John sure has an ego the size of the Solar System.
  • Reply 4 of 71
    he's right. on both calls. Apple sucks games. Apple has no reason to change that.
  • Reply 5 of 71
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Apple's "not supportive" because the tools aren't ready NOW? It's a brand-new platform. The tools are coming. And Apple has said when.



    As for the iPod--which iPod? A game for one would not work on another. The Touch tools are coming. The wheel iPods have come in a zillion flavors (the recent ones of which do have games) but none of them are the future. No need to bemoan a lack of tools for a disappearing platform, when tools are on the way for a much better one.
  • Reply 6 of 71
    irelandireland Posts: 17,671member
    I applaud this guy for speaking up, Jobs and Co. make some good products, but sometimes they have way too much wax in their ears.
  • Reply 7 of 71
    Yeah, it's really too bad that I won't have constant access to ultraviolent fantasies. I can't have blood, guts and gore while I'm sitting on the crapper at work. I guess the iPhone sucks in that way.



    I'd like to see Carmack come out with a game where scoring is based on hands held, hugs given and verses of Kumbayah belted out!
  • Reply 8 of 71
    While I understand ID's desire to spread the gaming market for themselves and others, I really don't understand why Apple hasn't tried harder to appeal to a larger base of user. I'm a recent Mac Convert, and while I love my MacBookPro, I've been really unsatisfied with the range of games.



    I've only recently switched to Mac because I've become so tired of hardware failures with my past Windows Machines and the lack or true customer service. Unfortunately it seems like Mac is becoming, or maybe has been before, a company more concerned with only a few small NEW endeavors, and isn't as concerned with the follow-up.



    It seems to take a very large push from disgruntled clients to really grab Mr. Job's attention. It's really hard to know where they stand, honoring their products and the people who use them, or profiteering and forgetting about where that money came from. The only reason I say this, is because one day they are bringing out the best invention since sliced bread.... then they betray their users who are honoring the spirit of innovation and trying to open new ways of using products like the iPhone by deliberately sabotaging them because it might hurt their kick back money from a Monopoly deal.



    Well, I guess I'll just put it this way. It makes it hard for me to invest more of my soul into a company that seems to become more morally suspect, the more I look into it.

    This I think is most recently evident, by the way Apple just eliminated their Authorized Business Agent program. Frankly, I find it truly heartless to end it in a way like that. Wouldn't it make more sense to simply, stop issuing new licenses for the ABA program and let it fade out. I can't imagine that http://www.firsttech.com/, in my home town of Minneapolis, MN is really giving Apple retail stores a run for their money. But what they have done, is raise awareness of Mac made products for the last 30 years. (by the way I'll honestly say I think first tech is affected by this decision, but I can't be sure).



    Well, it's getting late around here, and I'm sure you've all read just about enough of me. HAve a great night and Happy Turkey Weekend! (Probably not for the turkey's though)



    -GreenV
  • Reply 9 of 71
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Apple's "not supportive" because the tools aren't ready NOW? It's a brand-new platform. The tools are coming. And Apple has said when.



    As for the iPod--which iPod? A game for one would not work on another. The Touch tools are coming. The wheel iPods have come in a zillion flavors (the recent ones of which do have games) but none of them are the future. No need to bemoan a lack of tools for a disappearing platform, when tools are on the way for a much better one.



    It has been six years since the first iPod. Each individual iPod model has sold millions to sum up to 120m total sold iPods. BAD EXCUSES ARE BAD.



    If a timely API offering is too much to ask, which it isn't, they could have opened up these devices, just thrown some internal code and docs out there with the toolchain, access to the device filesystem and full factory restore, and someone would have found a way to get results with them. APIs, preliminary and frozen, can follow at the pace they become ready.



    I'd certainly have welcomed an outline viewer on an iPod, among other things.



    Apple doesn't care about 3rd party development on its handheld devices. Never has. Maybe in three months we'll see the first extended hand from them - or then we'll see a bunch of anemic widgets that a code signing treadmill makes inaccessible to all but the most wealthy developer.
  • Reply 10 of 71
    pomopomo Posts: 51member
    To my understanding, Apple is trying to sell products that fit to our digital lifestyle. We have music, digital picures, the web, and movies. I do understand that gamers should stick to their gaming systems, but I do feel that gaming plays a big role in the "Digital Lifestyle." I bet that many game developers are bummed out because the iPhone is like the coolest mobile gaming (hopefuly soon to be) platform. Screw the PSP or the DS. Imagine a multitouch game library that is stored right on the device instead of carrying cartidges or discs. That, my friend, would be awesome.
  • Reply 11 of 71
    pomopomo Posts: 51member
    To my understanding, Apple is trying to sell products that fit to our digital lifestyle. We have music, digital picures, the web, and movies. I do understand that gamers should stick to their gaming systems, but I do feel that gaming plays a big role in the "Digital Lifestyle." I bet that many game developers are bummed out because the iPhone is like the coolest mobile gaming (hopefuly soon to be) platform. Screw the PSP or the DS. Imagine a multitouch game library that is stored right on the device instead of carrying cartidges or discs. That, my friend, would be awesome.
  • Reply 12 of 71
    Nice one - that comment certainly made my morning a lot more pleasurable!
  • Reply 13 of 71
    How early do I have to get up to beat all of the Apple apologists into the room?



    Apple's failure to support games on one of the most-hyped and coolest handhelds to date - especially when they're approached by a company of iD Software's talents - is staggering.



    Any the general ambivalence on this board is just shocking.



    If you really liked Apple, and wanted to see them achieve greater market penetration, I'd've thought this would be a match made in heaven. Possibly even taking them to a level to rival Nintendo's hand-held division.



    Imagine sitting on a train home and firing up the handheld version of WoW, or multi-player Quake/Half-Life/AoE/EVE/Sims/whatever!



    But no....'I'm not a gamer so I don't care' said one of the early posters. Brilliant. Well done you.



    That approach was described in Aesop's fables - the dog in the manger - as pure selfishness.



    Fanbois are really starting to change my opinions of the Apple community. And not in a good way.
  • Reply 14 of 71
    ak1808ak1808 Posts: 108member
    I have the feeling Apple just doesn't "get" games.

    Yes, showing off HD pictures from your last holiday is great - if you can afford regular exciting holidays.



    For the masses, a good fantasy game is their holiday, and they have every right to have that "digital lifestyle" supported on the hippest device around.



    Apple is being snobbish about the whole music/pictures/movies thing. As if games couldn't be art, too.
  • Reply 15 of 71
    Well, I think Carmack is right when about the fact that Apple is doing fine without game or 3rd party support. But what I really hate about Apple is that it does not care about developers much. All the problems around closing KHTML code in Safari and breaking the licence, no word about Java 1.6 and no 3rd party for iPhone. It seems like Apple would like to be the only writing the native apps for their platform and everyone else to develop webapps. I really hate agorance of Apple, unfortunately they are the ones who have the best OS on the market.

    Yesterday I tryied playing with Google's Android and the platform seems pretty promising. Development is peace of cake with all the 3D/media/maps/webkit/others APIs. Developers can use Java IDEs that are much more advanced that for any other language (IntelliJ IDEA is my favorite) and applications are secure because of "language level security". I think this is way to go and I believe Apple made another big mistake that will cost it a lot of potential market.
  • Reply 16 of 71
    This is funny and sad. It's funny, beause Steve Jobs is a chess player. He's constantly weighing odds, even while the market is interactively trying to second-guess him. Like Gates said at the D conference, both of them have been around long enough to see the peeks and vallies of things, and they know what they want to focus on to be successful not JUST in the short-term, bt in the long term.



    When you ADD features to something, you ADD expectations. That's why the mainstream hacking of theiPhone has been so disasterous for Apple on the PR front. People were adding expectations to a product and subsequently getting MAD at Apple for no supporting these new expectations! Gizmodo rated the iPhone as "wait" initially. Then, on the eve of rating it a rabid "BUY!" Apple released an update that sent Brian Lam into an AppTap deprivation induced rage. --All while Apple worked towards improving security and adding functionality to the device.



    Meanwhile, Apple is working to launch games, but in a way Apple feels will benefit the large majority of its customers. Moreover, Apple is looking to release the type of games that cater to the type of customer Apple sees as the mass-market... the "casual gamer". If the iPhone gets a rep as a "hardcore shoot-em up" device, it radically changes the image of prestige and branding Jobs wants.



    Recently, in his position on Disney's board of directors (and largest stockholder in the house of mouse), Jobs expressed his opinion that Disney needs to stop doing its direct-to-video sequels of its famous pictures. Like Alladin 2 or Alladin 3... or Lion King 2 1/2, etc. In his estimation, while these sell well, they are gradually eroding the brand. --And guess what? He's totally right! Churning out otherwise decent films as direct-to-video instead of "feature presentations" does indeed erode each of these brands. Its the same reason some movie stars are reticent to appear on televsion or "the small screen", unless they're willfully attempting to re-align their careers or making a fan-tittilating cameo appearance. Does anyone want to see Jerry Seinfeld on the big screen? Nope. How successful has Bill Cosby done in the theatre after the Cosby Show ended (didn't know he had any films, did you?) The jump between the mediums can be extremely taxing on the ego when it comes to public reaction.



    Same thing with products. Apple never says never. EVER. They just wait for the public to speak, work inuitively up to a point... then await feedback. And work on things in quiet... like the iTunes rental system. When they release it, you'd better believe they'd really worked hard to hammer out the experience as seamless.



    Games on the iPhone? Whenever Apple releases a new device, it seems they'd like to do the first applications, or at least chaperone them in. They don't want others defining that experience in a way the makes people acutely aware of the system's limitation, but emphasizes its strengths. --More than that? Apple is EXTREMELY tight-lipped. It's amusing that they're even tight lipped to a developer like id software.



    The gamer crowd is an extremely demanding audience to approach. Highly diverse, territorial, critical, and generally spoiled. While I might anxiously await their rumored Nintendo announcement that may never come... I also accept that we may never see Apple push non-casual games on its multi-touch system. We may never see Apple transform the Apple TV into a game box. We may never see Apple add DVR capabilities to the Apple TV. --Rumors come and go, but the market is always speaking, and sooner or later Apple will respond, whether or not they ever dreamed they would.



    The last thing Apple seems inclined to do, is to be the instigator of unreasonable, unmanageable, and unattainable expectations for its target market.



    ~ CB
  • Reply 17 of 71
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Apple's "not supportive" because the tools aren't ready NOW? It's a brand-new platform. The tools are coming. And Apple has said when.



    In some senses, it was released as a late stage beta. The veneer was good but the code infrastructure probably wasn't finished.



    Quote:

    As for the iPod--which iPod? A game for one would not work on another. The Touch tools are coming. The wheel iPods have come in a zillion flavors (the recent ones of which do have games) but none of them are the future. No need to bemoan a lack of tools for a disappearing platform, when tools are on the way for a much better one.



    Other companies had managed to make devices that had a good amount backward compatibility. It's not always perfect, but 95% is better than 0%. I really don't see why the Classic and current nano couldn't play 5G games. The touch screen devices are probably a very different animal, there's probably not a good way to emulate a clickwheel.
  • Reply 18 of 71
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mitch1984 View Post


    It's to stop people getting hands on d kits and hacking iPod's & iPhones I guess, The public have already proven they can't be trusted with all the unlocking that's going on.



    Maybe if the devices are distributed with a clear disclaimer that the user is only leasing the unit, then that attitude would make sense.
  • Reply 19 of 71
    The whole gaming industry is feeling the pinch now that they are developing expensive games for consoles that are not selling as well as they had hoped. Nintendo's Wii and DS are acting as spoilers to the PS3, PSP and a lesser extent the Xbox360.



    Developers must look at other hardware to develop for and that obviously includes the Mac and iPods.
  • Reply 20 of 71
    suhailsuhail Posts: 192member
    Soon enough Zune will start offering SDKs to developers.



    Then you'll find games and apps popping-up for the platform.



    The developers will market their apps on the internet and magazines, thus indirectly marketing the Zune platform as a product for more than just music.



    Zune sales will top iPod sales.



    Thanx to Mr. Jobs' ear wax.
Sign In or Register to comment.