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Apple Gets Its Game On With EA, ID

With an improved operating system and graphics and a growing user base, the Mac is grabbing the attention of game makers.

Apple on Monday announced a deal with two top computer game software companies in an attempt to gain more credibility with gamers.

Executives at Electronic Arts and ID Software said they're increasing efforts to bring more of their games back to the Macintosh platform. The two companies made their announcements during Steve Jobs' keynote at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Apple's operating system has long been renowned as a multimedia platform, but computer game enthusiasts didn't flock to the Macintosh in the same way that they did with PCs. Current shipments of Macintosh computers come with Big Bang Board parlor games.

That may be about to change with the introduction of Intel-based Macs and the Core Animation features in Leopard. Jobs was also proud to note that there are currently 22 million Mac OS X users of which two-thirds are running the latest version of the operating system.

Former MacSoft founder Peter Tamte, who now presides over gaming software firm Destineer, was recently asked about the health of Apple in the gaming industry. He commented that it's a virtual guarantee that more big-budget games would come to the Mac, and that it's Apple's relationship with Intel that will make that possible.

Hoping to change the hearts and minds of his employees and his two daughters, EA co-founder and chief creative officer Bing Gordon noted that his company would sell Mac-compatible versions of four of the company's marquee titles in July and two more in August.

"I have two daughters, and they live on their MacBooks," Gordon said. "I have friends in business, they live on OS X. Our CTO at EA lives on Mac, and we're seeing EA technologists move to the Mac in droves. And what do they want, in addition to a cinema display? They want to go to Apple stores and see EA games. And so that's what we're going to do."

Gordon revealed that EA will offer its first-person shooter games "Command and Conquer 3" and "Battlefield 2142," along with racing game "Need For Speed Carbon" and role-playing game "Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix" for the Mac in July. EA's two 2008 sports titles, "Madden NFL" and "Tiger Woods PGA Tour," are expected to go on sale in August.

EA said TransGaming has been helping EA convert its games for the Mac operating system. TransGaming also specializes in translating games from gaming consoles and PC formats to run on Linux computers.

Similarly, ID Software's co-founder and technical director John Carmack pledged more support for Leopard. The company, known for its Quake, Doom, and Wolfenstein titles, is now looking for additional players on the Mac OS.

"Since many developers at ID have made the switch to the Mac for their personal use, we decided it was time to bring our core game technology to OS X," Carmack said.

To show ID Software's support for Apple, Carmack demonstrated its next-generation gaming technology called Tech 5.

While shown for the first time running in real time on a Mac, Tech 5 also supports the Xbox 360 and Playstation3 console platforms as well as the PC. ID Software said it plans to show off the completed project in July at the E3 conference.

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