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Electronic Arts, id Software announce commitment to Mac gaming

In what may have been the only unexpected announcement at Apple's annual developers conference on Monday, chief executive Steve Jobs revealed that two of the PC industry's largest game developers are actively working to bring their most popular titles and latest technology to the Mac platform.

In the opening minutes of his keynote address, Jobs invited Bing Gordon, CCO and co-founder of Electronic Arts (EA Games), on stage to announce a commitment to bring EA's portfolio of hit games to the Mac OS X operating system.

Gordon said the first EA Mac titles are slated to ship this summer and include the wizarding adventure Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, racing sensation Need for Speed Carbon, military action thriller Battlefield 2142 and the real-time strategy hit Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars.

Being the first Mac OS X games published by EA, the titles are being ported to take advantage of the Mac’s performance to run with stunning visuals and signature gameplay at blistering speeds, Gordon said.

Later this year, EA also plans to ship Madden NFL 08 and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08 for the Mac in sync with their worldwide launches.

Following Gordon was id Software co-founder John Carmack, who used his time on the WWDC stage to offer the first public demonstration of his firm's upcoming Tech 5 technology running live on Mac OS X.

The new rendering technology, which will power id's new internally developed game (of unknown nature), practically eliminates the texture memory constraints typically placed on artists and designers. It also allows for the unique customization of the entire game world at the pixel level, delivering virtually unlimited visual fidelity, Carmack said.

Combined with a powerful new suite of tools designed to specifically facilitate and accelerate this content creation process, id Tech 5 will power games that contain vast outdoor landscapes that are completely unique to the horizon, yet have indoor environments with unprecedented artistic detail.

While shown for the very first time running in real time on a Mac, id Tech 5 will also support the Xbox 360 and Playstation3 console platforms as well as the PC.

Before departing, Carmack said he'd have one more Mac related announcement to make during this July's E3 Media and Business Summit in Santa Monica, Calif.