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Potential partnership between Apple and Valve

Posted by Joe McNamara on 20th April 2012

This week, the rumours have circulated that Apple CEO, Tim Cook, was sighted leaving the head offices of game developers Valve.

We outlined in a blog earlier this month that the future of gaming is mobile, and Apple’s advances on this market make a lot of sense. Apple has already experienced success with Angry Birds working alongside developers such a Rovio Mobile.

For Valve, the move opens new doors galore. Given the success of award winning games such as Half Life and Portal 2 for PCs and gaming consoles, mobilising some of its existing portfolio and work in progress using Apple platforms provides access to a huge number of potential users.

The gaming culture of Apple

While a deal with Valve would indeed be a blockbuster partnership even for a company of Apple’s stature to sign – the Silicon Valley giant has a gaming background that stems back to its roots of inception.

Former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, began his technology career at Atari, developers of Pong in 1972, one of the earliest video games to be developed and sold. He was then charged with the development of Breakout in 1976, which became a revolutionary game in its own right.

The earliest iPods even came with a later version of Breakout called Brick Breaker pre-installed – a testament to Apple’s advocacy of simplicity and usability that has infiltrated the mobile gaming industry.

Valve – Breaking the rules

So, if Apple has such a good grounding in mobile gaming already, why would it consider partnering with Valve? Plainly and simply, the mobile gaming industry is moving on in terms of quality and capability. Apple sees that it has to move with it.

Any tech PR worth their salt knows of the Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies fads that has taken the industry by storm. However, advances in smartphone and tablet interfaces and improved amounts of memory mean that the platforms are in place for more sophisticated games to be at the mobile users disposal.

Earlier this month, Football Manager 12, a popular PC game with a powerful and complex database launched for Android OS, after experiencing success on iOS devices itself.

For Valve, this proves the potential of mobilising games that we never imagined would work on a smartphone or tablet. However, with Android devices proving to be a suitable platform for the latest mobile games, will Valve surrender the Android population in favour of an agreement with Apple?