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In an interview with gaming website Kotaku, John Carmack revealed that top executives at Apple do not look fondly on the growing popularity of games on the iPod Touch and iPhone.
"At the highest level of Apple, in their heart of hearts," Carmack reportedly said, "they're not proud of the iPhone being a game machine, they wish it was something else."
Despite this sentiment, the iPod Touch has seen an increased push as a gaming machine by Apple advertising, calling the Touch "the funnest iPod ever." Apple has gone so far as to directly compare the iPhone/Touch platform to the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP hand held gaming systems, touting that the App store contained 21,179 gaming and entertainment titles versus 3,680 for the DS and 607 for the PSP.
Carmack believes the executives at Apple have had to embrace the iPhone/Touch as a gaming platform as a result of the overwhelming popularity that games have enjoyed at the App store. Apple executive John Geleynse was quoted earlier this year as saying "it's not a phone, it's a console experience."
AppleInsider recently reported that Japanese game maker Nintendo had seen profits nearly cut in half compared to last year, which many attribute to increased competition from the iPhone and iPod touch.
The iPhone/Touch has a distinct distribution advantage over the DS, which relies almost entirely on physical copies of games versus the App Store's entirely digital method of distribution. Furthermore, the average App Store game is in the $5 to $10 dollar range while the average DS game hovers closer to $30.
With more and more established console game companies such as Electronic Arts, id Software, and Konami making serous forays into App store gaming, it seems like the iPhone/Touch will continue to be major players in the world of handheld gaming, whether Apple likes it or not.