But Does Apple Like Video Games?

I must have a bad itch for starting my forum post titles with the word "but." I must have done it at least three times now. No, I'm not going to formally introduce this as some notes on why Apple may not hold the video game industry to its highest regard. I'm not that creative today (and I probably never will). I'm just gonna get into it.

(skip to 2:17 if the timestamp doesn't work here)

This 1990 recording is the source of Jobs' infamous "bicycle for the mind" quote. However, it also highlights Jobs' vision of the future of learning, incorporating certain video game logic as part of education as well. Many journalists mistakenly took this as Steve Jobs saying that "video games are the future of learning." However, listen closely; that's not what he said at all. He said interactive computing experiences are the future of learning. He called video games trivial. He saw them as something you could glance over. In fact, his careful wording could imply he thought the video game phenomenon was already over, referring to it as something worth "remembering," not something worth "experiencing." Mind you, this is all before the PlayStation, The Xbox, the Wii, and the 99 cent app store. Still, he thought of video games as a passing fad. He never once tried to qualify himself by making the distinction between video games as a whole, and say the arcade industry, which truly had bombed by that time. He undermined the whole idea of gaming as nothing more than a passing phase of mindless fun in global society. And for whatever reason, he had been "anti-game" for a while.

Perhaps it is a bit trite to talk about his stance on games as of 23 years ago, so lets hop out of the DeLorean into now. In terms of his stance on games, I surely hope Apple still doesn't think of it as a fad, but I'm also certain Apple doesn't think of it as more than mindless fun either. VentureBeat has already gone into enough details about it, probably much more than I ever could. But I will ask this question; how much power does Apple hold over the video game industry? Gabe Newell said that Apple is its biggest competition, and mobile devices have robbed the dedicated gaming market of practical need to exist, but Apple won't let this medium mature. What future will that hold over the entire industry?

Despite all of this, Games are not a part left out of Apple's services. I could only theorize that this is because the device wouldn't sell as much without them, and devices like the iPod Touch wouldn't have been nearly as successful, especially around kids. In fact, a large part of Apple's strategy with game is that it is more of a kid's lane, which explains the "no games with more serious messages" attitude.

Of course, it's not like game developers as a whole have done much to combat this notion, but I don't think that excuses Apple from not having the foresight of seeing the potential of the video game concept, and not just for it's immersion factor, but also how that immersion may affect more artistic elements like storytelling. It's actually very rare to see Apple as a company act so shallow.