Carmack id's iPhone

Doom creator expresses intent to develop for Apple's versatile mobile device.


Although mobile gaming is often thought of as an El Dorado of sorts to tapping the casual-gaming industry, in practicality it has proven to be a quagmire for all but a select few developers. However, with Apple extending its portable-gaming business to its increasingly popular iPhone as of yesterday, the iGiant is putting a new face on the platform, offering free development tools and a 70 percent cut of all sales made through the iPhone's App Store.

Several big-name developers have already expressed their commitment to the device, with EA saying a version of Maxis and Will Wright's Spore is in the works and Sega swinging Super Monkey Ball to the platform. One other developer that undoubtedly needed little urging to jump on board iPhone gaming is id Software, and studio cofounder and technical director John Carmack affirmed as much in a post to tech-news aggregator site Slashdot this week.

"We (id) have put in our application like everyone else, so I don't have any inside information at this point," said Carmack. "I think Steve is still pissed at me over some negative comments I made about iPod development tools a while ago. Just based on the blurbs, it looks very good--a simulator plus debugging on the native device is the best of both worlds, and a 70 percent royalty deal for apps over iTunes is quite good."

Carmack also laid out some of the advantages to Apple's iPhone platform as seen from a developer's perspective. "The iTunes distribution channel is really a more important aspect than a lot of people understand," Carmack noted. "The ability to distribute larger applications than the over-the-air limits and effectively market your title with more than a dozen character-deck name, combined with the reasonable income split, make this look like a very interesting market."

Having created the widely acclaimed mobile games Doom RPG and Orcs & Elves, and with plans to open up a division devoted to mobile gaming in November, Carmack also sees Apple's approach to cell-phone gaming as a welcome change from what the computer giant's competitors have thus far offered. "This type of developer/customer interaction is probably the wave of the future for mobile devices; it will be interesting to see how quickly the other players can react. Based on our experiences with the carriers, I am betting not very quickly."

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