A lot of numbers, reports and success stories have been coming out about Apple’s growth and recent dominance in the mobile game space. They’ve been stealing some serious market share from mobile game powerhouses Nintendo and Sony. Since Apple owns the products and processes for playing and distributing the games, I understand why the big success has been largely pronounced for them. I also give them credit for introducing and ‘opening up’ new control APIs to developers to build games with, namely accelerometer and touch. While these features were available in other game systems, Apple opened them up to developers and provided a relatively unobstructed way to distribute the apps, and better yet, generate direct revenue from the sale of them.
All this being said, I still think there’s an absurd lack of credit being given to game developers. One would think that clearly, after decades of video game progress and industry growth, there would be a vacuum of thousands of developers with great gaming ideas and general ability ready/willing/wanting to create their own games. Restricted to the closed distribution model that long-standing game system manufacturers still foster, there was no way for all of these independent game developers ‘in waiting’ to get their idea built and deployed to the masses.
I’m not saying Apple should do something extra special to recognize developers here… there are already some games generating millions for their makers. I think the industry needs to recognize how powerful the developer’s role is in the free-market app and game economy. Apple might be the big winner now, but they won’t be the only player for long. Other platforms, mobile and otherwise, would do well and should always put the developer’s success before their own.