What Steve Jobs Meant for the Video Game Industry

Jobs' legacy in the gaming industry isn't huge, but it's memorable.

By , Contributor

With Steve Jobs' passing, his final legacy will be the reinvention of the smart phone and the innovation of the tablet, incredible pieces of technology that will live on and change the way we communicate.

But, Jobs' gaming influence began earlier than a million apps floating around in cyberspace. In 1974, Jobs joined Atari, then an up-and-comer surviving on profits from Pong. Rather famously, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell challenged Jobs to remove as many circuits as possible from the upcoming Breakout machine to cut manufacturing costs.

Uninterested, Jobs ended up passing the duties onto Steve Wozniak, also with Atari. Ever the businessman, Bushnell promised $100 for each chip cut from the board, Wozniak canning 50 of them. Jobs and Woz split the bonus in half, although as the story goes, Bushnell only handed over $700.

pippin.jpgAfter leaving Apple to form NeXt, Apple would issue the Pippin, based on the same business model as the ill-fated 3DO. Apple never produced the Mac-based hardware, but instead licensed it, and Bandai would be the only company to ever jump in stateside (Katz Media produced a version for Europe).

In the US, barely 40,000 units sold of the $599 hardware and a paltry 18 games were released. Without Jobs influence, Apple's gaming division, what little of one they hand, totally floundered.

Of course, Apple would eventually become a player under Jobs, not with their flagship Mac product, but the iPhone and iPod Touch. There, portable gaming would change, the dominance of Nintendo in that same market questioned and challenged with force for the first time. What was once unbreakable become broken, and the path follows back to Jobs.

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Matt Paprocki is a 13-year veteran of the video game, movie, and home media scene. He has written thousands of reviews, has been published on a variety of websites, and contributes his thoughts daily on a diverse range of topics.

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