Apple Loses Its iPhone Game Guru

The man in charge of making sure that Apple's popular portable devices play games well is no longer with the tech titan.

Graeme Devine joined Apple's iPhone Game Technologies division last year. Devine tells Kotaku that his last day at the company was Friday.

He says he left the company to return to game development, concentrating specifically on the iPhone and iPad.

Devine held a key role at Apple, a position crucial to helping usher in more robust, more gamer-friendly titles to the successful iPhone, iPad and iPod platforms.

"My job there was basically to make gaming on the iOS devices fantastic," Devine said. "Basically that meant looking at the technologies involved and making sure the software played well with the hardware, to look at upcoming hardware/API and say 'Yup, that is a good thing'.

"Apple didn't have an in-house game designer before me so I think it was pretty unique, game technologies touch everything from the graphics stack to touch latency to push notifications. No other app type covers so many technologies and having someone there to validate and help shape that was basically my day job. It was pretty kick ass."

Since joining the company several developers have said they noticed Devine's positive influence on a company that many have viewed as historically not gamer friendly.

Devine said he can't comment on whether his position will be filled and Apple did not respond to request for comment. But Devine says that gamers into playing on the Apple devices shouldn't worry.

"Apple has the smartest and most talented group of people I have ever worked with," he said. "Every day I would walk in and feel I was working alongside geniuses and I the guy with crayons in the corner.

"I can't comment on what's next inside Apple, but I can tell you, they really do 'get' gaming."

And Devine certainly has an interest in Apple continuing to support game developers, his new company will be focused on creating titles for the iOS and its devices.

" I wanted to get back to the actual business of making games and while I loved my time, the people, and the platform I worked on at Apple I am ultimately a game designer that wants to make games" Devine said. "When I first got an iPad I was sold on it being the ultimate piece of science fiction technology for gaming. I think it is the most interesting new technology product I've worked on in years and I really wanted to make games for it.

"I don't think a lot of people are really thinking yet what games mean on these touch platforms, the joystick is gone, there is no proxy in between you and the screen anymore. When I first saw the photos being rotated and pinch / zoomed on the iPhone I knew things had changed forever, and people are trying to insert something back in there when clearly the best applications are the ones where the screen is a window onto a world that you can touch. I am not a fan of virtual d-pads, pointers, or other crutches, we have an opportunity on these devices to let players hold, move, touch, and feel the game in front of them and I intend to focus on that."

Devine has already started work on his first game, a title for the "Mac desktop." He even provided a clue, this picture:

Apple Loses Its iPhone Game GuruS