Apple appears candid in the job ad. The company wants someone to work on “interactive multimedia experiences” (read: video games) on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The right person must be a “passionate gamer” with three years of industry experience, at least one shipped AAA title and knowledge of a few programming languages, among other skills.
Normally, I wouldn’t care much about job openings at Apple, but this particular posting has me wondering, “Why?” Apple only sells four in-house apps on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and just one of them, Texas Hold’em, is a game. My understanding is that the App Store is primarily a hardware seller for Apple, and with so many third-party games available, it just doesn’t seem worthwhile for Apple to compete.
The Apple Blog’s Liam Cassidy, however, has an intriguing suggestion: Apple’s really looking for someone to develop in-house games for the still rumored Apple tablet. That’ll give the company something to show on stage if and when the large touch screen device is revealed.
In a way, it makes perfect sense. Apple’s tablet is shrouded in secrecy, so imagine the risk of handing off early development to a third-party publisher. All it takes is one well-connected game journalist to blow the story wide open. It might not even come to that — look at how New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller may have slipped up by referring to the “impending Apple slate” during an internal speech. Better to keep development under wraps in Cupertino.
Still, there’s a big hole in I can’t reconcile: If Apple’s only looking for someone to create demo fodder, isn’t this more of a temp job than a full-time position? Indeed, I can’t think of any reason for the existence of this position that doesn’t have at least one good counter-argument. Even the idea of Apple developing a gaming console seems far-fetched and silly.
Whatever the job is, I have a feeling the new hire will be signing a thick NDA upon arrival.