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Apple Finally Getting Its Game On?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the nice-change-of-pace dept.

176

Gamespot reports on the possibility that, in some way, Apple is making moves to develop games. From the article: "This week, GameSpot learned that there may be more to the Apple-game rumors than mere Mac-mad daydreams. A tech-sector recruiter contacted the GS NewsDesk with an interesting story of a prospective hire that got away. Recently, when said recruiter made an offer to a software engineer, the engineer turned the offer down--saying he was being 'heavily recruited by Apple.' According to the engineer, an Apple hiring manager named Mike Lampell is heading up a group inside Apple's storied iTunes division. The group is specifically hiring for 'C/C++ coders with a gaming background.'"

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Nice move... (4, Funny)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419982)

"The engineer says the project in question was described to him as "super secret," and Apple would not even tell him the exact nature of it until he had been hired and signed a non-disclosure agreement."

Anybody want to place bets on his chances of being hired now?

Re:Nice move... (1, Interesting)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420065)

I could also place a wager on it being an intentional leak . No trade secrets to protect here , but letting a little slip at a time could build up some hype , perhaps push shares up and sales.

Doesn't sound like Apple, though (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420831)

If this were any other company, I would think about it being an intentional leak. That doesn't seem to be Apple's way of doing things (under Steve Jobs). Apple seems to prefer to present finished projects out of the blue when they're ready for us to buy them.

David

Rumor management (2, Insightful)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420891)

If it's an intentional leak, it is to spread confusion. This rumor won't increase any sales.

Think of it this way: It's impossible to keep rumors of new and important products from happening. Too many people are involved. But if you can drench out the true rumors with tons of false ones, it's gonna be very hard for the public to sort out which ones to believe in. And your product announcements will still be newsworthy and surprising.

Somtimes I think 90% of the crackpot "Art Bell" theories slushing around on the net and other places are planted by the US government in order to cover up the 10% that are actually true.

About Time (5, Interesting)

DingerX (847589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419992)

Easy here: apple develops a bunch of simple, casual games that run on ipod/with interface, and sells them for a couple bucks a pop at ITMS. Nothing fancy, and nothing that taxes resources (as so many phone games do).

With the money to be made, the market share to be exploited, and the minimal investment required, I'm surprised they haven't already done this.

Re:About Time (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420036)

My thoughts exactly. Develop a bunch of casual gamer games (a la PopCap) and offer them for sale through iTunes. Even better if they run on both Macs and iPods.

Re:About Time (2, Informative)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420048)

Small form gaming devices (as with mobile phones) is currently an incredibly booming market at the moment. It's so serious that game developers are co-developing lightweight java versions of their games as they produce major titles.

This might just save java too.

Re:About Time (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420321)

This might just save java too.

I'm a little confused as to what you think Java needs saving from; it may not be popular round these parts, but out in the real world, its in huge demand, at least in the web. Increasingly it's also to be found gluing web fornt ends to legacy systems and even replacing those systems altogether.

Yeah, it pretty-much died a death on the client, but that's hardly indicative of it requiring "saving" from anything.

Re:About Time (1)

Nicolay77 (258497) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421496)

May be he meant Java's reputation as being slow.

Re:About Time (1)

scolby (838499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420050)

Yes, but couldn't one just as easily distribute episodic game content through ITMS, similar to the plans for continuing Half Life 2 and some of the things happening with XBox Live?

Re:About Time (1)

renelicious (450403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420081)

This makes far more sense than actual games for the MAC. With codeweavers work on getting crossover office working on MACs it probably won't be long before Windows games run fine. Not that that better than native ports, we all know, but at least they will be avaliable.

However the iPod idea seem like it would be a money maker. People spend tons of money on cell phone games, why shouldn't apple get in on it. Hopefully they will also open it and the ability to sell through iTunes to others as well.

3D visualisations for itunes? (3, Interesting)

JensR (12975) | more than 8 years ago | (#15419999)

What if they just want some 3D visualisations for iTunes? Something that requires experience with character animation, skinned models or complex shaders?

Re:3D visualisations for itunes? (1)

n8_f (85799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420291)

Think Front Row. Front Row is very much like a video game menu system. Although it looks pretty and I like to use it, the functionality blows. They have a lot of work to do with it. Or maybe they want some better games for their new video iPod. One this is for sure, the iTunes group aren't developing games for the Mac platform. They want some people with lots of graphics experience, probably for some custom GUI stuff (every game has it's own widgets).

Wise move (-1, Redundant)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420000)

Mac was lacking in games.

The Mac DOES Have Games! (1)

TheZorch (925979) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421098)

You can play a number of titles that are right now some of the hotest in the PC market on the Mac.

Unreal Tournament 2004
Battlefield 2
World of Warcraft (You can't get any bigger tban tbat)
and many more.

Goto the Mac section of your local CompUSA story if you are in the US and you'll see them.

Re:The Mac DOES Have Games! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421317)

The difference is that, pc does not have only 'some' of the hottest titles on the market - it has ALL of them, and more.

Re:The Mac DOES Have Games! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15421602)

The difference is that, pc does not have only 'some' of the hottest titles on the market - it has ALL of them, and more

No the 'PC' (that is to say, a personal computer running Microsoft Windows) does not have 'ALL' of the hottest video games titles on the market, by a very long shot.

That honour belongs to consoles, sales of games for which outstrip sales of hot games for Windows systems by an order of magnitude.

Re:The Mac DOES Have Games! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421741)

But then this question arises : "are the games on consoles hot because they are specifically built for the console, and being a competitor of a narrower platform (narrow as platform variety but with many numbers), so the console players' numbers make them count as 'hot ?"

Ie, they are in a relatively unflexible and closed circle, so the high number of console players make the market count these titles as 'hot', not the titles CAN compete with the ones in the pc market and so legally claim the title.

Re:The Mac DOES Have Games! (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15422113)

"Goto the Mac section of your local CompUSA story if you are in the US and you'll see them."

You'll also see that the Mac section is much MUCH smaller. My cousin is a Mac addict. He's got a great setup, wonderful laptop, and I'm envious of the ease of use. But man, we went game shopping, and it was rather depressing. Apple makes fine products, but please don't kid yourself. If you're a gamer, Macs are disappointing. Just like Windows is disappointing when it comes to up-time.

a thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420005)

Apple portable music gaming device?

They called me... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420015)

I've been called by an Apple recruiter as well, maybe 6 - 8 months ago. The person I spoke to said that they were looking for people with my skills. I've been in the games industry since I was 18, I've shipped around 3 dozen titles for consoles and handhelds, so my resume basically shows that I'm perfect for one thing: getting games out the door. For personal reasons I wasn't even slightly interested in the job, but the call itself was vastly intruiguing. I've been waiting eagerly ever since to hear what the heck Apple is up to.

Re:They called me... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15421030)

Apple often wants people with graphics experience, and typically their recruiters will ask if people have 'games' experience. Among other things, such people have been hired to do OpenGL acceleration in Quartz Extreme, CoreImage, 3D effects in Keynote and FrontRow, slide shows in iPhoto, and effects in PhotoBooth.

In short, they're not really looking for people with games experience, they're looking for people with OpenGL experience. 'Games' is just a useful keyword for finding the resumes they're looking for.

Re:They called me... (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421181)

If I post as AC I could also bullshit my fellow slashdotians into thinking I am in the know with the latest Apple Development.

Re:They called me... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421742)

He didn't claim any such knowledge. He just said that a recruiter from Apple had contacted him. What's your issue with that?

-jcr

Excellent news! (5, Funny)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420037)

No doubt Apple is tired of seeing Microsoft dominate the games market. Look out for the all-new iPippin [wikipedia.org] . With an Intel chip inside, it's twice as fast as the PowerPC-based XBox 360!*

* May not actually be twice as fast outside the Reality Distortion Field. But who cares? You know you'll buy it anyway.

Re:Excellent news! (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420256)

That controller looks awfully... familiar.

Re:Excellent news! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420389)

and GAM 950

Re:Excellent news! (1)

goodenoughnickname (874664) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421403)

Costing US$599 on launch, and touted as a cheap computer, in reality the system was commonly identified as a video game console. As such, its price was considered to be too expensive in comparison to its contemporaries.

Hmmmm... I don't see this happening ever again.

Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (4, Interesting)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420056)

I'd actually argue that Mac's are ideal gaming platforms. There's only so many different configurations available, so it's more or less like programming for a game console (you know what you're programming for and optimise it for a specific hardware set), except everything is in x86 on a Linux platform. So really, no new hardware and api's need to be learned...it's pretty much all pre-existing. And with the number of game engines readily available, I bet Windows gamers would be pretty impressed with what you could do on a Core Duo Mac.

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420195)

so it's more or less like programming for a game console, except everything is in x86 on a Linux platform.

Yes, except for the machines out there that are still PPC (you know, the real gaming machines-the desktops). Oh yeah, and they don't run on a Linux platform at all. Aside from these two major errors, your analysis is 100% correct.

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (1)

bitkari (195639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420203)

The main problem with writing games for the mac isn't the platform itself, however.

The real reason why mac gaming hasn't taken off is the very small audience. The PC already has a large install base, an established audience and still only finds a small segment of the whole games market.

Any mac game venture could only hope to gain a small improvement over its currently modest array of titles, unless some serious money was put in to convincing developers/publishers to port more games to the platform the only thing that would be gained from this would be a few more [brace yourself] "switchers". For many games remain a major reason why they would never even consider buying a mac - removing that barrier would certainly add a few more people to the ranks of apple users.

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420784)

There's only so many different configurations available, so it's more or less like programming for a game console

Macs come with all sorts of CPUs and GPUs; a game written specifically for the Radeon X1600 in a Macbook Pro isn't gonna work well on the Intel chip in the Macbook/Mac mini or on the NVidia chips in a Power Mac (or Mac Pro, as it may turn out). I don't think Macs are really any more standardized than PCs as far as game programming goes.

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (1)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420795)

The hardware is accessible through an OpenGL interface so programming is largely hardware independent.

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421077)

Well, yes, that was my point. The grandparent was trying to say that Macs were ideal game machines because they had standard hardware and could be programmed down to the metal like a console, and I was saying that that wasn't the case; Macs have differing GPUs and have to be programmed just like PCs, with abstraction layers such as OpenGL.

No (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420832)

Not only is the mac base relatively small, but it is split between two different chipsets (powerpc/intel). Meaning you can market you game for 90% of the market, or 1% of the market.

And nothing stops a mac guy from putting a radeon x1900 in his mac.

That's really not an issue... (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421555)

For one, it's only a very recent issue, so it doesn't go anywhere towards explaining anything about the history of lack of interest in writing mac games (marketshare issues do). Also, most reports I've heard say that Rosetta runs programs about as fast (on Mactels) as their PPC counterparts, so you approach your marketting strategy from the same place every other game developer has done: either develop for only the most current, up-to-date system (the Mactel) and screw everyone else, or take a performance hit and code for machines going back a few years (PPCs & Mactels). This is the reason I don't play Computer games, because most developers I've had the misfortune of wanting to buy from, choose to take the first route, alienating 90% of the population just to get a needless graphical boost. Secondly, Universal Binaries currently are the standard for apple coding, and compiling for the two chipsets, while probably a little more work, pales in comparison to the time spent in development and doing the majority of the code (the work that goes into games is now about only 5%-10% coding anyway, and 90% art/graphic design/sound/conceptualization).

--
My consoles for the next generation: Wii and PS2

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (1, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420833)

"I'd actually argue that Mac's are ideal gaming platforms. There's only so many different configurations available, so it's more or less like programming for a game console (you know what you're programming for and optimise it for a specific hardware set), except everything is in x86 on a Linux platform. So really, no new hardware and api's need to be learned...it's pretty much all pre-existing."

Ideal, except Macs with a graphics card worth a shit start at 1999USD (and even then it's a MacBook Pro with a small screen, no mouse included, and 512MB of RAM). And since when have small hardware variations mattered in games? DirectX/OpenGL take care of that.

"And with the number of game engines readily available,[...]"
What game engines? Are there better ones specifically for the Mac and not the PC? Care to point them out?

"[...]I bet Windows gamers would be pretty impressed with what you could do on a Core Duo Mac."

Apart from a few exceptions (Quake 4, WoW, UT2004, Halo), which are on Windows anyway of course, most Mac OS X games [apple.com] look like they've been scavanged from the $10 or less bin at EB.

PC gamers often like to swap hardware around, upgrade processors and GFX cards; this is a major PITA on Macs. The same hardware available for OS X can be used on Windows, the gaming API available on OS X, OpenGL, is also available on Windows. Why would Macs be ideal again?

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (4, Informative)

RemovableBait (885871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420924)

There are actually quite a few decent games available on the Mac, you just need to look in the games section of the Apple Store [apple.com] instead of the Mac OS X download area [apple.com] .

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (1)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421680)

Someone with mod points should flag this Informative. I've been a Mac owner for a few years and never thought much about games other than Mahojongg and Myst, since I do all of my gaming on consoles. But I checked the list and it's not bad. Halo on a Mac? Whoda thunk it? I wonder how many other people are as blind to the Mac's gaming side.

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15421781)

That one seemed to be more Microsoft fulfilling a promise than anything. There, I said it, something semi-positive about MS. =)

Don't forget that Bungie was the preeminent Mac games developer before Microsoft bought them out. Halo was initially demo'd running on Macs, and (IIRC) even at a MacWorld conference. It was initially going to be a computer game, but the buyout entailed a plan change. Bungie still said they were going to release the game for Windows and Macs, but not until the XBox version was taken care of.

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421067)

Macs with a graphics card worth a shit start at 1999USD

IIRC, the iMac has the same X1600 as that MBP, and it's cheaper.

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (3, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15422002)

except Macs with a graphics card worth a shit start at 1999USD (and even then it's a MacBook Pro with a small screen, no mouse included, and 512MB of RAM).
You misspelled "$1299," "iMac Core Duo," and "17 inch screen." It's got the same graphics chip as the MacBook Pro (ATi Radeon X1600).

Re:Mac's as ideal gaming platforms? (1)

toddestan (632714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421387)

The only problem is that is the lower and mid range Macs are crippled (by gaming standards) with weak, integrated and non upgradable video adapters. The Macs that don't have that problem cost considerably more and are easily outclassed by a dedicated gaming rig built from commodity hardware.

Oh, and the idea that people are going to install Linux on a Mac to play games is about one of the most absurd things I have ever heard.

Disney? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420068)

Has anyone thought that this may be more an in-house tie-in with Disney/Pixar? It would be quite the coup for them to have control of the kids-game market : If your kid wants to play the next Ice Age game, why not buy the system from that nice company who made their iPod?

Re:Disney? (1)

hexdcml (553714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420550)

Except Pixar/Disney didn't make Ice Age. Or Ice Age 2 for that matter. Blue Sky Studios [blueskystudios.com] did.

Good point though, but I think it's a little bit too niche of a market?, but hey, what do I know, since I'm obviously not in the target audience.

Finally, maybe? (1)

VirionNW (936737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420079)

I could see iPod games, maybe, or at least something more than Chess on the Mac when you buy it (chess is great, but Ma and Pa like Sollitaire, natch.) The real thing that gets me is, if it's for the iPod, why hasn't anyone else figured out how to get games on it? I've hunted and all I've found have been text games that read like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but nothing like what currently resides there. It's a shame really, since I used to load my PDA down with distractions for long trips when it was my music player. If they are making games, maybe they'll take more advantage of the 1-100 read-out on the touch wheel, having a full range of directional control and not just a scroll wheel. The real kicker would be a licensing deal with a company to sell old console games emulated on the iPod, but that's not likely due to the button arangement. Still, I can hope, right?

Re:Finally, maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420997)

The real thing that gets me is, if it's for the iPod, why hasn't anyone else figured out how to get games on it?
 
They Have http://www.rockbox.org/ [rockbox.org]

Think Different... (5, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420084)

Ballmer will be hurling an entire conference room of chairs off the roof when Apple can claim:

One billion games downloaded!

Ok. That the last straw for me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420095)

On that article, I've been server a Macromedia flash ad WITH SOUND.

I mean, I remember when Taco promised that there would be no ad on slashdot.
I remember the first ad, and the appolgy that well, they would be unintrusive and not the kind of in-your-face animated gif that were the norm elsewhere.
I remember the first animated gifs.
And the flash.

But now, fucking SOUND ?

Welcome AdBlock+. Sorry Taco.

What are these "ads" you speak of? (2, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420123)

Try Firefox with NoScript. It makes surfing the web a clean, relatively ad-free experience, and minty fresh too.

Re:What are these "ads" you speak of? (3, Funny)

OECD (639690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420731)

Try Firefox with NoScript. It makes surfing the web a clean, relatively ad-free experience, and minty fresh too.

Feh. Try lynx. Even fewer ads and pages load in a snap.

Re:What are these "ads" you speak of? (1)

Yosho (135835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421360)

Man, why would you use lynx when you can just use telnet? I hate waiting for curses to redraw the screen.

Re:Ok. That the last straw for me (2, Insightful)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420305)

I don't get it why people are complaining about ads so much. These web sites cost money to run, you know? These people do this for a living. I find Internet ads to be a lot less intrusive than a couple of years ago. Ok so sometimes you get those crappy flash ads with sound or some that gets bigger when you roll over, but those are the minority, not the norm. I think that websites like IGN and Gamespot or some "real world" news site to actually have a pretty good way of displaying ads. Once in a while you click on a link and there's a full page ad which you can simply skip by pressing a text link over of the ad. And it's like this on most websites I visit. I took an extra click and an extra second to get there. It's like people who strip ads from thei messaging client. Just don't look at them. Anyway, MSN is minimized 99% of the time, so I couldn't care less about the ad that is there 1% of the time.

The only places where you can find ads to be real annoying is on torrent sites and such. Considering people go there to mostly download stuff they don't already own, I have little pity for those who complain. Why should I care that someone is bugging you with those ads? You are already in the process of ripping someone else off. And the saddest part is that those website owners make money off the stuff from other people.

Re:Ok. That the last straw for me (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420648)

1) If I'm paying for something, I don't want to see ads. Like those once-in-a-while full page ads, I find those extremely annoying, even though I'm at least semi-intelligent and have adblock and such installed so it's just an extra mostly blank page to load. But then there's even banner ads ALL OVER the regular pages, even if you have a membership. You have to read the printer friendly version to keep your eyes from bleeding.

2) Torrent sites only have ads to pay for the cost of hosting the torrents and running a tracker and such, any extra income is (usually) put towards the next month's expenses. I've not seen one tracker making actual money from ads. They're usually run by people that themselves hate ads, but need some way to keep their hobby alive.

Finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420122)

Pippin makes a comeback !

New version of minesweeper? (0, Redundant)

madnuke (948229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420128)

Or how about Spider Solitaire! Mac games are good, I enjoyed playing CNC Generals on my mac. Though if your a die hard gamer and a die hard Mac fan you need a windows box for games. As the Macbook isnt a good games machine, I don't know about the Macbook Pro though.

Re:New version of minesweeper? (5, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420168)

Though if your (sic) a die hard gamer and a die hard Mac fan you need a windows box for games.
Or a game console.

Re:New version of minesweeper? (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420864)

Maybe I'm just in touch with a different scene, but even most "casual" gamers generally have multiple consoles or a console and a PC. There are too many platform exclusive titles and user interface issues for most people, let alone "diehards" to limit themselves to one platform.

THat being said, if you play FPSs, RTS, TBS, MMORPGS, or sandbox style western RPGs a console just doesn't hold a candle. If you begind your electronics life as a diehard gamer I'd say there is very little chance you'll ever become a diehard mac fan, it just isn't condusive to the mindset.

Re:New version of minesweeper? (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421219)

if you play FPSs, RTS, TBS, MMORPGS, or sandbox style western RPGs a console just doesn't hold a candle.
But if you like platformers, shmups, on-rail shooters, fighting, traditional RPGs, sports, racing, dance, party, survival horror --- your best choice is a game console.

Re:New version of minesweeper? (1)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420222)

The MacBook Pro plays World of Warcraft very very nicely. Outperforms a dual-core G5 by quite a bit. Also plays UT2004 without a hitch. The other games we've tried aren't as graphics intensive.

The only problem is that it runs so damn hot. With WoW, we got the CPU up to 160 degrees F, and decided to turn it off before we cooked the damn thing.

Mini versus PS3? (2, Interesting)

gozar (39392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420198)

What if they are gearing up for the Mac mini to take on the PS3? Apple has to be looking at the similar price points, and all it would take is to add some wireless controllers [tattiebogle.net] and the DVI-video adapter to the mini.

Yes, the PS3 blows the mini out of the water in performance, but if the Wii takes off, then Apple might want a piece of the action. Plus, it has all the home media hub functions already, and a distribution network for music and video.

The return of the Apple Pippen? Ars technica had a journal article from 2005 about Apple and Sony integrating the iTMS with the PS3 [arstechnica.com] , could Apple just be deciding to do it themselves after they saw the price of the PS3? Remember the sales pitches of the 80's for the Commodores and Ataris? "It not only plays great games, but it is also a full blown computer!"

Re:Mini versus PS3? (3, Informative)

Lysander Luddite (64349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420490)

You're kidding right? An intergrated Intel graphic chip and a 4200 RPM hard drive? A friend of mine complained about how slow the Mini is running DJ apps. The only thing a Mac mini might take on is a Nintendo hand held in terms of games.

Even high end Macs are poor gaming machines because the graphic cards Apple sticks in them are at least a generation or two behind PC cards. I dropped $1600 18 months ago and all I have is a Geforce 5200. At the time it wasn't even that great. Mac users typically have 2-3 upgrade card options available at any time and any of them will cost about the same as a console.

Don't forget that PC games are heavily into the ActiveX camp, which AFAIK still doesn't run on OSX.

Re:Mini versus PS3? (2, Interesting)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421086)

I think you mean DirectX though ActiveX is also important.

MS is pulling some totally insane stuff with DirectX X so people will be looking for alternatives... I'd like Apple to offer some I like gaming, I hate windows.

The transition to Apple drivers, graphics extensions and hardware, might allow some new players into the graphics market, which is getting really expensive these days.

(Lookie I made a comma splice!)

Re:Mini versus PS3? (1)

Lysander Luddite (64349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421378)

You are correct about DirectX. I'm glad somebody knew what I meant. :)

Re:Mini versus PS3? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15422011)

MS is pulling some totally insane stuff with DirectX X so people will be looking for alternatives... I'd like Apple to offer some I like gaming, I hate windows.
Exactly -- why oh why can't game developers just use OpenGL, SDL, etc. instead of DirectX?!!

Re:Mini versus PS3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15421190)

Don't forget that PC games are heavily into the ActiveX camp, which AFAIK still doesn't run on OSX.

I think you meant to say DirectX. OpenGL is getting to the point where its really mature, though developers still have to exist and want to program on the mac.

I dropped $1600 18 months ago and all I have is a Geforce 5200.

I'm a former mac user and programmer. Although its been many years, I've decided not to make the mistake of buying mac hardware again. Apple's APIs are rubbish, they treat developers like garbage, everything's too expensive, and most of the end users look down their noses at you at every chance.

Re:Mini versus PS3? (1)

gozar (39392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421231)

You're kidding right? An intergrated Intel graphic chip and a 4200 RPM hard drive? A friend of mine complained about how slow the Mini is running DJ apps. The only thing a Mac mini might take on is a Nintendo hand held in terms of games.

The mini's actually have a 5400 RPM drive. And yes, the integrated graphics won't win any awards, but even with these defecencies the Mini makes a lot better home media center than a PS3 or XBox 360. It should be able to run slightly older 3d first person shooters acceptably [anandtech.com] (30 fps in UT 2004). Maybe Apple is planning on dropping the lower mini back down to 499 and offer a 599 or 699 mini with better graphics.

And I'm pretty sure a mini blows away a DS or PSP in terms of graphical power... :-) The GMA 950 looks like it could keep up with the PS2/GameCube/Xbox graphics if you're running it at 640X480 like those machines.

Anyway, it's all pure conjecture at this point, although I personally would spend $599 on a mini before $599 on a PS3!

Re:Mini versus PS3? (1)

Lysander Luddite (64349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421405)

When I said Nintendo handhelds I meant more in *type* of game rather than raw power. For example, older type games (80s remakes), many RPGS, puzzle games, etc. Mac Minis are not going to be running Doom 3 or similar high end games at any reasonable speed.

Additionally, the lack of upgradeable graphic cards ensures that a Mac Mini will be unable to "grow" in the future. I'm not sure that a Mac Mini would be able to compete with a console which is where the Mac Mini would compete best. Since it is a computer first most people will compare it to PC gaming, which is in a different market than console games when it comes to what is expected from a machine.

Convergence is what it's all about (1, Interesting)

SalaciousPucker (911419) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420215)

Apple should be in handheld gaming. They should be shooting for the inevitable, a true convergence of the handheld market. That uber-Phone/PDA/Ipod/Gameboy - all in one - that geeks have dreamed about since the Star Trek communicator.

Apple sells the most expensive device in our pockets right now. It has mass storage, a color screen, significant processing power and it's own OS. Of all the pocket based systems, the Ipod requires the least additional work to accomodate the features of all the others. What you have then is the OS of the pocket.

Still, the path to obscurity or to becoming the overpriced but efficient 'niche' product, like Apple computers have always been to the PC, could be Apple going it alone in all aspects. Taking a leap into handheld gaming would mean directly competing with Sony and Nintendo in a cut throat & solidified market. They would have two options really, as I see it. Build the gaming OS/API's themselves (a tough route) or license it from Sony (the PSP) or Nintendo. How open Sony or Nintendo would be to digital distribution of its games or handing off much of the reins to Apple is questionable, but there is definitely some synergy for a collaboration like this.

Apple should move quick on this. The talk about Microsoft's new IPod/XBOX-handheld product is already in the 'when' not 'if' stage. Microft could care less about builiding the different handheld products individually or as a whole -- they want to own the OS it all runs on. They want to be there at the point of convergence. If Apple doesn't secure their position here it could be a situation of deja vu all over again.

Re:Convergence is what it's all about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420405)

Apple sells the most expensive device in our pockets right now. It has mass storage, a color screen, significant processing power and it's own OS. Of all the pocket based systems, the Ipod requires the least additional work to accomodate the features of all the others. What you have then is the OS of the pocket.


The iPod may be expensive, but powerful it is not. It is just vastly overpriced when just looking at the price of the components inside it. Look at cut rate Asian competitors with models that contain the exact same capability for half the cost or less. It's pathetic how overpriced iPods are.

Also, the iPod click wheel is probably not a very good interface for games. You can maybe push one button at a time. Even if you could click both the center and the wheel at once what does that even buy you? Compare that with modern console controllers where each button is independently monitored and you have at least a couple buttons and an eight way directional pad. Even the Wii controller, in its fantastic simplicity, provides an incredible amount of user input from its motion, tilt, speed, and directional sensors.

This is the same problem with cell phones: they are not designed for games. Despite being able to display lots of colors, they have terrible video performance and some cannot even display smooth animation. We had smooth animation back on the NES and Gameboy! Also, almost all phones can only register one button press from the number pad and maybe some combination including the * or # keys. And of course, a jumble of buttons in the middle isn't really something you can wrap your hands around for any extended period of time.

I can see a short explosion of games come out of this like the cell phone market with some quick profits, but in the end the games will be 2nd class crippled versions of casual Flash games.

I'm glad I have my Apple stock, but I'm not about to buy an iPod to play games.

Latest Mac ad (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420274)

(The screen is white, two men stand, full view, in front of the camera. One is middle aged, and wearing a suit. The other is wearing jeans, a "Think Different" T-Shirt, and an iPod. The suited guy is holding a joystick, and making reflexive movements)

Suited Guy (PC): "Woah... out of the way... bang, gotcha! Hahah! Oh no. Oh no! Dudududududu! Ha! Who's your paternal-figure? Hey? Hey? Who's your paternal figure?"

Hip Young Guy (Mac): "Hey dude, whatcha doing?"

PC: "I'm playing a really awesome game. You play a secret agent, and you have to shoot the henchmen, and... hold on... woah! Ok, you want a turn?"

Mac: "Oh, come on! Surely you could be doing something productive, like, erm, burning DVDs? I can burn DVDs. Yeah! Make your own movies, it's cool"

PC: "Yeah, I did that once. Hold on... woah! Gotcha! Haha! Gotcha, what's behind the wall? Oh... hey, it's multiplayer if you want to join in."

Mac: "Oh, games. Aren't those what games consoles are for?"

PC: "Depends on the game. This is an mod someone did for Doom 5, so you'd never see it on a console. You just don't get that kind of innovation on closed platforms like consoles. Hold on, I got it! I got the papers! Now, how do I get out? Er..."

Mac: "You know, you ought to be sorting through the pictures on your digital camera which I can do really easily with iPh..."

PC: "Yeah, that'd be a real fun time. Real. Fun. Time. Yeah. Sure you don't want a game? Hold on... blam! Gotcha! Where the hell did he come from anyway? Ok, through this wall..."

Mac: "Oh no, games are such a waste of time. I'd rather do something productive like, erm, manage my iTunes collection. That's something I'm good at..."

PC: "Me too, you do know I run iTunes right? Aw come on, let your hair down a little. I thought I was supposed to be the stiff."

Mac: "No."

PC: "Wait... I think there's a hidden passage here... read it in a forum somewhere... oh yeah, next to the pot plant, got it, extra health, excellent. Anyway, why not? Why don't you want a go?"

Mac: "I don't want to talk about it."

PC: "What?"

Mac: "I said I just don't want to talk about it, ok? Ok?"

PC puts the joystick down for a moment: "You can't play games. That's what it is, right?"

Mac: "Right. Ok. So I can't play games. What's the big deal? Nobody plays games anyway."

PC: "Sure. Nobody does. Right. Yeah, just me. Just boring, suited, me. Not like I play more games than all the games consoles put together. Right."

PC falls on floor, rolling with laughter.

Mac: "Ok. OKAY! Now let me turn this photo slideshow and jingle I put together in Garageband into a DVD. Not a waste of time like playing games is."

Mac walks off in huff. PC picks up joystick and continues playing.

Fade to black:

"Apple Macintosh"

"The Computer That Can't Play Games"

"But That's Ok Because Nobody Plays Games Anyway"

Re:Latest Mac ad, 30 second spot (0, Troll)

VirionNW (936737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420456)

(Mac guy takes off his "Think Different" shirt and has [Apple Logo] + [Direct X] on it)

Mac: Hey now, pass that joystick over here, buddy, I'll show you!

(Fires up latest Quake 8 Mod, which is supported on Vista, OS X, and Linux)

PC: Wait? What? You're both? Oh geez... I bet you went to that army thing, Basic Training or something, right?

Mac: R... right... Well, I figured I could just run the standard Id games on my Mac side (including that new Doom 5 mod, now as the standard UB), but this is so much more fun to watch die-hard mac addicts cinge at me doing it in Windows! Wait, let me switch back and fire up iGamer and get the latest content segment...

(torrented game network launches, updates, closes, 10.5 sure beats 10.4's improvements)

Mac: There we go, now where was that health pack again?

(Fade to black MacBook)

The new platf...

(Whoops, integrated graphics, fade over to the much better MacBook Pro, there we go)

The new platform for work, games... Life.

(Pop up Apple logo with a controller trailing from it)

Re:Latest Mac ad, 30 second spot (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420652)

There's nothing sadder than a Mac fanboy who needs to prove his lacking sense of humour.

Re:Latest Mac ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420478)

"You just don't get that kind of innovation on closed platforms like consoles."

More truth there than you probably meant.

Re:Latest Mac ad (1)

jdbartlett (941012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420519)

I love working with my Mac, but whenever I see those commercials, I feel drawn to Windows. The PC guy seems so much friendlier and more approachable than the show-off blow-off in the t-shirt. Maybe I should compromise and go Linux.

Plus he's on the Daily Show... (1)

Corngood (736783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420619)

... which is awesome.

Re:Latest Mac ad (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420723)

That was very funny. It reminds me of my peeve about those commercials. I was fine with the one that said that PCs were more prone to viruses, and the one that said PCs crash more, and sort-of ok with the one that said the apps were better on mac.

Was anyone else bugged like heck with the one claiming that Mac had the better device compatibility? No one in their right minds makes a device without windows drivers, and more than a few make windows only devices.

That commercial just wandered off into the realm of blatant advertising lies, and actually made me less likely to consider purchasing a Mac.

Re:Latest Mac ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420863)

I guess you took it a different way. The point of that ad was that hardware "just works" on a Mac. No fussing around, just plug it in and go.

Re:Latest Mac ad (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420957)

I guess, but in my experience stuff just plugs in and goes much better on a PC than on a Mac.

Re:Latest Mac ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420990)

If you're talking about any random product at [insert major electronics store] then I completely agree.

However, if I had to put money on which was going to be easier for my Mother (who is more likely the target of these ads than you or I) to set up--something that's "OS X Compatible" or something that's "Windows Compatible"--my money would be on OS X every time.

Re:Latest Mac ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15421726)

The thing is, it doesn't "just plug in." You install the drivers, may or may not have to reboot, then it "just plugs in." Windows finds the device, "installs" it, and may or may not ask you to reboot. Again.

Finally, you get to use your camera. What happens if you plug it into a different USB port (or at least root hub)? Windows installs it again, thinking it's a different instance of the same device. Try it sometime. Plug your thumb drive into a port you don't usually use, and Windows will take another fifteen seconds of your life as it clutters the device entries of the registry. It may then ask you to reboot.

On the other hand, when you plug a digital camera into a Mac, over the course of a couple seconds, the Mac sees the device, mounts it on the desktop, and begins to launch iPhoto. (In the interest of honesty, I'm admitting here that iPhoto itself could launch a lot faster. ;) ) There's a 99.99% chance that this will be the case with whatever camera you bring to the table.

Re:Latest Mac ad (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420982)

Heaven help you when you're reinstalling Windows and you need to feed it three dozen driver disks though.

I just watched that commercial to see if what you said is true. I don't think it is.

They start off saying that the Mac networks with Windows. It does. It used to be a big thing that a Mac couldn't talk to your Windows network very well.

Then the girl comes in. She's a digital camera. The Mac does have very good connectivity with digital cameras. I have a friend who just returned her new HP notebook for a Macbook Pro. She was asking how to get her digital camera working with it. The solution, plug it in.

So no lies. Macs do all the things in the commercial very well. Without having to pop in a CD (or a FLOPPY!) for each device.

Re:Latest Mac ad (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421528)

As most cameras are just used as a mass storage device, this isn't such a big deal.
The problems arise when they're not that simple, and you need to find a fix.

With Windows you throw in the driver CD, or just do a forum search.

Often for Macs the CDs don't have drivers.
As for forum searches: Noone knows the hardware, noone knows the problem.

Re:Latest Mac ad (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421907)

I've yet to see a camera that doesn't work with OS X except sometimes in the first few months after it's released. Lots of people on forums are quite experienced with any problems that do crop up. Perhaps you're searching Windows forums?

The other thing the Mac does that's nice for beginners is that it doesn't just mount your camera as a mass storage device. iSync lets you customize what you'd like to happen when you mount a device that contains photos. As a default it opens iPhoto, imports them all and presents them to you as the most recent roll.

Anyway, the point was that the commercial doesn't lie. The Mac works just fine with both Windows networks (and Linux incidentally) and digital cameras.

Re:Latest Mac ad (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420950)

That games section at the Apple store must have been my imagination.

Isn't that weird? I see it every time I go in there! I must be suffering from detached retinas or something.

Granted we don't have Half-Life but I'm addicted to RTCW anyway (yes it's older than moses - but between the map-mods and the overall speed from the last great game based on the Q3 engine that cranks decent even on g4's - I'm SO frigging addicted).

Re:Latest Mac ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15421233)

The other is wearing jeans, a "Think Different" T-Shirt, and an iPod.

And his name is "Jimmy Fallon."

Re:Latest Mac ad (1)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421431)

No, it's not. It's the guy from Dodgeball, Justin Long. The PC guy is a correspondent on the Daily Show, John Hodgman.

Swi

Re:Latest Mac ad (1)

Yosho (135835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421346)

Right, because it's not like you can play any of the Doom [macgamefiles.com] games on a Mac. Funny! (but wrong)

Convergence (1)

countach (534280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420409)

I know a lot of people, including me, are skeptical about convergence. But let's face it, convergence is going to happen, the question is when, and who the winners will be. Will it be the Cell phone people (Nokia, Motorola)? Will it be the Palm people (Palm, iPaq), will it be the Laptop people? (Dell, HP, etc), will it be the OS people (Microsoft, Windows CE, their new tablet PC), will it be the games people (Sony, Nintendo) or will it be the MP3 people (principly Apple). Somebody is going to invade the turf of one of the other players, and somebody is going to be badly damaged. Maybe it won't be this year, or maybe it will. Sometime it's going to happen, and probably Apple is worried as they should be.

what makes you think it'll happen (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421383)

it didn't in the computer/game console market. Remember those William Shatner adds where he asked 'why buy just a video game'? Really, why would you. Well for one thing, it's always going to be cheaper to make a device that does one thing well instead of 2, 3 or more things well. Even in the savings are marginal, when you're selling a million of something it adds up. For another thing, it's hard to design a user interface for a pocket size device that's good for playing games, quickly accessing music, managing contacts and notes and playing games. Nokia tried, and failed badly. The more features you have the more complex the interface, if only in terms of options. People are stupid and lazy, they won't work that hard just to save a little pocket room (especially woman with purses).

Add Win32/DirectX to XCode... (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420517)

... This [pbs.org] is making more and more sense. Win32/DirectX should be supported environments within XCode, even if the compile target is only Intel, and even if you have to rebuild the GUI in NIBs.

At the very least, DirectX makes sense given games typically run in fullscreen and don't really care about UI widgets anyway..

Give away some blades; sell razors & blades! (3, Insightful)

martyb (196687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420611)

You've heard the adage: "Give away the razor and make money on the blades." Right? Like game consoles - subsidize the console and make money on the games. Apple is doing something brilliant here: They could give away the games (okay, sell them for $CHEAP and make money on the player (iPod). From TFA:

According to the engineer, an Apple hiring manager named Mike Lampell is heading up a group inside Apple's storied iTunes division. The group is specifically hiring for 'C/C++ coders with a gaming background.' (Emphasis added.)

From: Strategy Letter V [joelonsoftware.com] . (Commoditize your complement)

Every product in the marketplace has substitutes and complements. A substitute is another product you might buy if the first product is too expensive. Chicken is a substitute for beef. If you're a chicken farmer and the price of beef goes up, the people will want more chicken, and you will sell more.

A complement is a product that you usually buy together with another product. Gas and cars are complements. Computer hardware is a classic complement of computer operating systems. And babysitters are a complement of dinner at fine restaurants. In a small town, when the local five star restaurant has a two-for-one Valentine's day special, the local babysitters double their rates. (Actually, the nine-year-olds get roped into early service.)

All else being equal, demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease. (Emphasis added.)

There is a precedent for what Apple may be doing here. Anyone remember the Atari 800? [wikipedia.org] I bought one just so I could play Star Raiders [wikipedia.org] . I bought it at a store outside Boston (IIRC at a Bit Bucket in Newton, MA) which had this set up on a 5-foot projection TV for video and a 100 Watt stereo driving the audio. The salesperson told me: THAT ONE GAME was responsible for something like half of their sales of the Atari 800. At the time (1980 or so), the Atari 800 cost me about $800... and I happily paid it so that I could play a ~$50 game. AND, once I got the computer, I bought many more applications and peripherals. Star Raiders was the "killer app" of its day.

Apple might be looking to do the same. Sell some subsidized games on iTunes for little money so as to encourage additional iPod sales. Once he consumer has the iPod, and has overcome paying its (non-negotiable) price, the barrier to buying more things for it is overcome. Increased iTunes sales. Even MORE profit for Apple. A larger market. Synergistic growth.

Someone else here mentioned about Disney. Kid sees friend playing Disney game on iPod. Kid Wants Game. Kid pesters parents incessantly. Parents buy an iPod for junior to play these nice kid-friendly Disney games. Kids become experienced users of an increasingly dominant platform. [Apocryphally, IBM gave (?) Selectric typewriters to schools to use in Touch Typing Classes. Said students go off into the business world and are faced with klunky manual typewriters. Secretaries all-so-often are the ones who Get. Things. Done. Not too hard to start persuading the PHBs to buy a Selectric typewriter. Lather, rinse, repeat.] Apple has done similarly with schools by offering a significant educational discount for their computers. Microsoft has a student discount for their Office suite. Hook 'em while they're young.

Here, Apple could hook 'em before they even GET to school! Like I said, Brilliant. Absolutely Brilliant!

Re:Give away some blades; sell razors & blades (1)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 8 years ago | (#15420726)

The one problem I see is that (IMLTHO) the current iPod interface blows for anything other than Breakout clones. As a music interface, it's fantastic, but it can barely handle Solitaire.

Now, if the big screen video iPod rumours [engadget.com] turn out to be true, all bets are off, and Sony better watch the PSP's sorry little UMD-using ass, 'cause it'll go the way of the Lynx in a friggin' eyeblink.

Re:Give away some blades; sell razors & blades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15420780)

You've heard of the GBA, right? Costs very little, has a fantastic game selection (Disney tie-ins up to heavy-duty gamer games like Metal Slug, Doom and Fire Emblem), kid friendly hardware (i.e chewable, you can't break the things if you throw 'em at a wall, colorful, few buttons sized for kids). You have to do something pretty fucking special to be better than that*. Give away a dozen good games and you'd get gamers interested (plenty have ipods already but it'd be another plus), but parents won't ever be buying something as expensive and fragile as a ipod for the kids. If the shuffle could play, maybe.

*The PSP and DS both managed it, but many other devices have tried and failed. Mobiles, PDAs, other handheld consoles.

Hmm... Wonder if they can do it... (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421155)

Only reason Microsoft has been successful is because they have an ass-load of money to buy up great game studios (Bungie, Rare, the creator of Final Fantasy, and a variety of others). Although Apple is doing well, I have my doubts they are over-confident enough to try buying some big-name companies......

Re:Hmm... Wonder if they can do it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15421285)

Square Enix is not bought by Microsoft

Re:Hmm... Wonder if they can do it... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15422158)

He was talking about Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of Final Fantasy who started a new company called Mistwalker. Mistwalker is not owned by Microsoft, but they are developing RPGs exclusivly for the XBox 360.

softimage as well (1)

circusboy (580130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421620)

Way back when, they bought Softimage so that they would be seen as a player in the 3D and effects market. As soon as the market was established, they sold it off again.

Good move (2, Interesting)

vga_init (589198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421186)

When I first read the headline, I didn't realize that it was referring to games. Rather, I thought it meant that Apple was getting ready to gear up for hitting the personal computer market. As time passes, they move themselves further and further in that direction; the popularity of the iPod/iTunes, the cheap Mac mini, moving to a different architecture, development and release of OS X. Never has Apple been more attractive to the consumer than they are today.

And what do consumers love? Games. If Apple can roll out some high quality hits, people will love the game first, then notice the publisher. They'll learn to associate Apple with good things, and next thing you know, they'll be buying one.

Sure, this is looking at it optimistically; whatever games they are going to produce are really going to have to take off in a big way for this to have more than a marginal impact, but to me it seems like a small step in the right direction.

The Games Make the System (1)

kninja (121603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15421373)

Looking back on every generation of consoles, the most popular and successful systems had fantastic games, many of them exclusive to the system.

Apple probably won't be able to woo some significant game developers away from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo into anything exclusive, but they can certainly leverage their large installed base of iPods, and create some good first party games that take advantage of the clickwheel and audio/photo features and other unique aspects of the ipod.

I'm curious to see what comes of this.
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