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Thank you Steve Jobs
by William Volk on 08/25/11 11:22:00 am   Expert Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Many of us wouldn't be doing what we do if it wasn't for Mr. Jobs.  What's more, he has changed the world of gaming in a way that is just being realized.

From my first published game, coded the Apple II (Avalon Hill, Conflict 2500) in 1980, to the Mac games I wrote in 1984/5 (The Pyramid of Peril, Mac Challenger) to the first CD-ROM game at Activison in 1988, to the iPhone ... I've always been connected to Apple.

Here's the truth ... I am doing what I do today, helping to create casual/social games on mobile devices, because the iPhone App Store broke the stanglehold the mobile carriers had on content.  To me, this is the most significant achievement.

Apple launched the iPhone in the summer of 2007. Prior to the launch, mobile content (ringtones, wallpapers, apps) were under the control of the operators. Anyone who complains about the iPhone App Store should ask developers what it was like to get an app "on deck" at AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon in 2005.

For all the complaints about approvals ad-nauseum, the iOS App store is the first time an 'open' market for software existed on a mobile device. Hundred's of thousands of apps and billions of downloads later, the historical importance of this is clear.

The idea of a 'meritocracy' for a software market with digital distribution is an idea who's time has come.  It is only a matter of time before all the gaming platforms adopt this as the main distribution method.

Look at the creativity this has spawned.  From the Mario-sized franchise "Angry Birds" to niche games that serve all sorts of play style.  This is very cool stuff.

All I can say is ... Thank you Mr. Jobs.

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Julian Hall
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Speaking as a user of smartphones since 2003 (the O2 XDA II), I've never had much trouble putting non-network-approved content on them. Sure, it was harder in the pre-app-store days (largely because the content was harder to find), but people definitely did it.

William Volk
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Sure they did. I helped launch a S60 app in 2005 that was distributed via a SMS to a short code. The problem was, the vast majority of the users didn't do this. As opposed to the 95% of iOS users who do download from the App Store.