Rumors abound today that Apple is shoring up its games division at the expense of Activision and Nintendo. Former Nintendo UK head of communications Robert Saunders has already announced his departure from Mario Land, and today MCV is claiming that he’s headed to a “newly created role at Apple” as soon as the end of this month. “There is no confirmation from Apple or Saunders himself as yet,” the post claims, “but MCV understands that he will be focused on PR for apps across the iPad, iPod and iPhone ranges.”
The UK-based publication is also reporting that Activision’s head of European PR, Nick Grange, will also be joining Apple. A veteran of the gaming industry, including roles at EA and Microsoft, Grange is said to be taking on “a role focussed [sic] on iPad hardware.”
iOS gaming is big business, with recent reports measuring Apple’s share of the mobile gaming pie as high as nearly half of the overall market. With the emergence of wireless mobile-to-HDTV technologies like Apple’s AirPlay, and HTC’s new Onlive-based gaming system debuting on their Flyer tablet, the possibility exists for mobile gaming to extend to a role in the living room, as well. Apple seems content to continue with an iPad/iPhone-based gaming strategy, as opposed to entering the console wars against the likes of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which fits with their emerging vision of personal computers marked by simplicity and touch-based interfaces. That said, it’s hard to predict what Apple might be up to next.
Can Apple continue to rule the casual gaming market with iOS? Are they gearing up to take on the living rooms, as well as the pockets and purses, of gamers? Are you tired of Angry Birds yet?