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Tuesday, July 25, 2000
Westlake's Cobb on Apple
11:49 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

Yesterday we ran two news items that seemed to conflict with each other. The first was word from id Software's' Grame Devine, praising Apple's developer support, and the other was a video of Westlake Interactive's president Mark Adams, talking about how his company is moving into other areas of development to compensate for a lack of revenue.

Posts in our forum and email from readers were curious about what was causing this discrepancy in developer opinions about Apple. Is it favoritism on Apple's part? Is Westlake just whining, or do they have legitimate concerns?

Westlake programmer Ken Cobb made a post to our forum, offering an explanation as to why Westalke feels snubbed by Apple:

There are a lot of issues, but here's the main problem in a nutshell: At Apple, they firmly believe that the best way to help Mac gaming is for games to be simultaneously developed on the PC and Mac. And they believe the PC publisher should do the Mac version also. True simultaneous release by the same publisher, that's the ideal. In other words, they don't like ports. Original development on Mac--great, simultaneous release--good, ports--bad.

This is a nice idea, and it would make the Mac look as important as the PC (which is what Apple is really after), but it ignores reality. The Mac game market is tiny ( Does Apple play favorites?

Absolutely. Why do you think id and Bungie are always shown at Macworlds? They fit Apple's vision (well, Bungie did). We do not.

Look at The Sims. You would think Apple would get behind this game in a big way. It's hugely popular on the PC, has a wide demographic appeal, runs well on iMacs, is non-violent. To me it seems like the ideal Mac game. But it's a port. Look on Apple's game page--it's not even a featured title.

At Macworld, one the Apple game evangelists heard that Deus Ex was selling well, and came up to Mark and said something like, "See, simultaneous releases work." Then Mark said, "But The Sims has sold twice as many at the show." No comment from the Apple guy.

Another concern of Westlake's which IMG's Matt Diamond brought up in the forums (and Mark Adams has noted before) is about the transition from OS 9 to OS X. id has already said their next project would be OS X only. Westlake, on the other hand, must worry about supporting both operating systems in order to keep customers happy. Apple's secretive nature doesn't help when they're trying to guess how to make this difficult transition with many elements still up in the air (GameSprockets, graphic API support, etc).

How will this feud between Apple and Westlake play out? Only time will tell. Stay tuned!

Westlake Interactive
Id Software
Ken Cobb Forum Post

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