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Friday, April 08, 2011, 09:35 pm PT (12:35 am ET)

Apple hiring away PR execs from Nintendo, Activision - rumor

Reports have emerged that Apple has poached two PR executives from gaming giants Nintendo and Activision in a continued push to establish iOS as a dominant gaming platform.

A report from MCV claims that former Nintendo UK head of communications Robert Saunders will leave his position at the end of April for a "newly created role at Apple."

Though the report admits that Saunders, and Apple, have yet to confirm the news, he will reportedly be focused on PR for iPad, iPod and iPhone apps.

Saunders spent seven years at Nintendo, during which time he helped successfully launch the Wii console and DS handheld.

In addition to Saunders, MCV> reports that Apple has also successfully poached PR director Nick Grange from Activision's European division. According to the report, Grange's role, which is also yet to be officially confirmed, will focus on iPad hardware while at Apple.

As gaming on Apple's iOS platform has taken off, Apple has turned to gaming industry veterans for help in tackling the industry's incumbents.

In 2009, Apple posted a job listing for "passionate gamer" with AAA gaming development experience. The position was similar to one filled by 'game guru' Graeme Devine, who worked as a member of Apple's iPhone Game Technologies group for a year before leaving in December 2010 to design his own games for Apple's platforms.

Last year, Apple hired former IGN editor Matt Casamassina as global editorial games manager for the App Store.

Apple's strategy appears to be paying off. According to a December 2010 report by Interpret, smartphone gaming has risen to 43.8 percent of the mobile gaming market, while the number of games played on the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP has fallen by 13 percent.