Apple’s (s aapl) posted job listings seem to provoke no end of exciting speculation, and one of its latest open calls for applications is certainly no exception. New job postings call for a software engineer for the iPhone Gaming Group, and a video game artist. Last month’s call for a game/media software engineer was somewhat open to interpretation, but this time around, there’s no ambiguity involved.
Not that Apple hasn’t made games in the past, as The iPhone Blog points out. Texas Hold’Em is a game, after all, if not a particularly ambitious one. But that casual game was a one-off, and was probably designed more to get the ball rolling for third-party developers than as a meaningful entry point into the gaming industry for Apple itself.
The new job postings, however, seem to indicate that Apple wants to start taking gaming much more seriously. The skill sets asked for definitely go beyond what’s required to create a simple video poker simulator, at least. From the call for an artist:
The interactive media group is looking for a skilled artist who wants to work as part of a small highly motivated team to work on interactive multimedia experiences on the iPhone and iPod touch. The position on the team is to help design, visualize, enable and implement interface, 3-D characters/environments, animation, texturing as well as original concept artwork.
Requirements also include the “ability to model, animate, texture and produce bump/normal maps for 3-D scene graph environments.” The software engineer position is less obviously game-related, but the description does specifically mention the iPhone Gaming Group, and lists “experience with game development” as an asset:
Please join us in taking the revolutionary iPhone to the next level. The iPhone Games Group is looking for a proactive, highly motivated engineer with 5+ years experience, to share their expertise in application and framework development…You will be responsible for implementing new features in existing applications as well as developing complex applications from top to bottom (user interface design to design and implementation of supporting frameworks.)
Two job calls does not exactly a gaming studio make, but it shows that Apple is thinking about that area. And how could it not, really? It’s been pushing the iPod touch as a gaming device, and witnessed first-hand the success of games on both it and the iPhone, so it knows that’s a space where money can be made. I still believe the primary purpose of any software effort on Apple’s part is selling hardware, so I’d expect to see new games from the company to make especially good use of the newer hardware and software features of the iPhone and iPod touch, including peer-to-peer networking.