back to article Steve Jobs named most influential game guy – ever

Who has been most influential person in gaming history? The late Steve Jobs. What is the product that has most influenced game development? The iPhone. No, those aren't the opinions of mere fervid fanbois; they're the considered conclusions of 1,000 gaming-industry executives surveyed in the run-up to next week's London Games …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But thats the dumbest fucking list I have ever seen. Sounds like it was actually a list of who we need to keep sweet....

    1. Arctic fox

      Re: "....the dumbest fucking list........."

      "No, those aren't the opinions of mere fervid fanbois; they're the considered conclusions of 1,000 gaming-industry executives".

      Not surprising its dumb it is after all the opinion of a thousand or so managerial/executive types - and the smartphone/pad that type usually owns is a......?

      1. Eddie Edwards

        More to the point

        This is basically a mobile/web gaming conference. Ask the same thing at GDC or E3, where actual games happen, and you'd get a pretty different answer. Steve Jobs has had absolutely zero influence on gaming outside the casual market, and neither has the iPhone, iPad or Mac. Mark Zuckerberg likewise. And Berners-Lee? WTF?

        The only surprise in that list is the inclusion of Valve and Nintendo - it's kinda cool those guys have heard of them from inside their web tech bubble.

        The most influential person in gaming today is clearly Dan Houser. Most people at that conference would have no idea who he is, but when his next game comes out they'll all buy it ... for their kids.

    2. Rob

      That's the caveat...

      ... they are execs so it's not like they have a clue what's going on in their industry or what's going on with their workforce.

    3. Andrew Moore Silver badge
      Thumb Down


      This is just a true indication that so called 'Gaming Executives' have no awareness of the people in the industry. Hardly surprising given that the 'Executives' in any business these days are nothing more than accountants. Be thankful that they were not asked to list the top most influential games of all time, the top two replies would have been 'Excel' and 'Sage Accounts'.

  2. NoneSuch
    Thumb Down

    Biggest load of bull-plop...


  3. exanime

    Oh please... if they made a survey today about the most influential man in the history of competitive extreme ironing Steve Jobs would be voted in...

    How is this guy more influential to video games than the inventor of the freaking WWW?!?!?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Berners-Lee shouldn't be there either.

      What about the makers of Pong or Spacewar? Or if we're being slightly more modern, Doom?

      1. exanime


        It sounds like Jobs won this "title" because of all the developers that flocked to the iphone as a platform... in that light, don't you think all the game development made for the www is WAY WAY more influential???

        I see your point though, if they are going to have an intelligent debate on people who influenced the gaming industry they should have stuck to game developers!... why is the facebook dude there??? those apps on facebook could hardly even be called games

        1. robin thakur 1
          Thumb Up

          Woah, clearly alot of people that don't read the news here

          The last time I checked, Angry birds had been downloaded 400 million times, the majority on iOS. This makes it the most downloaded game of all time. Possibly the most played. Think about that. Nintendo might have had the democratisation of gaming in mind with the Wii, but the iPhone/iTouch/AppStore made it truly possible for the world and his dog to become game developers, taking care of the dev environment, marketing and accounting necessary to become a developer, selling in low cost/ large volumes. This has not been seen before, and whilst it has now come to threaten the conventional games industry, you need to be able to see the way it is heading in. Being elitist and saying that a flash game is not a game is a bit thick really, it's whatever people want to play.

          The time to scoff at Steve Jobs and Zuckerberg's was when facebook gaming and the App store was announced and untested. Now that both are cleaning up and are now the mainstream way that people play games (whether that's a good thing or a bad thing i'll leave upto you to decide) is not under discussion. As long as I can play FInal Fantasy 3 on my commute in the morning on my iPhone 4S I'm one very happy customer.

          1. Daniel B.

            Millions bought a Wii, eclipsing both PS3 and Xbox360... yet a lot of 'em are now gathering dust somewhere. If you want to make a point about flash games ... those have been around for far longer than Apple's iDictatorship. Newgrounds spawned that genre, even if it was free; some actually pulled off transitioning to consoles (Alien Hominid).

            If 400 million Angry Birds downloads are to count, what about err... Snake? Tetris? Brickbreaker? Mobile gaming is the gaming dev ghetto, you have to sell 'em cheap or give 'em away for free, with an ad-supported version. The only platforms where this doesn't have to hold true are the DS and PSP ones.

            If Jobs and Berners-Lee are influental game guys, we might as well put up Edison right there for providing power to those consoles as well!

          2. El Andy

            Angry Birds?

            @robin thakur 1: Sure millions of people played Angry Birds, but Billions of people have played Solitare on Windows, it pretty much eclipses any other game (even Pacman) by miles.

            It doesn't make it particularly influential though, it's pretty derivative. And even if you wanted to consider Angry Birds as the definitive example of mobile gaming, surely the creators at Roxio had a bit more to do with it than Jobs?

      2. Charles Manning

        Having Berners-Lee on the list makes even less sense than Jobs.

        Jobs at least considered games as part of the design of the iphone.

        TBL only considered the www as a way to connect up computers and deliver fairly static content (he was motivated by sharing research documents, not games).

        1. Rameses Niblick the Third (KKWWMT) Silver badge

          True, but...

          Many people consider the wheel to be the single greatest advancement of the human race. That doesn't mean that the guy who invented it intended for it to be used to allow cars to do 200 mph, or machines to make a thousand paper clips a minute or whatever.

          In the same way, TBL might not have designed the www with a view to people swearing at each other on TeamSpeak, but he laid the foundation upon which the majority of modern gaming relies. Hell, without the work of TBL, we wouldn't have FarceBook and farmville, and all those iPhone apps would have to be bought from high street retailers on CD's or something.

  4. Peladon

    To the lists! Now - where's me lance?

    Sid Meir? Dave Jones? Yes. Undoubtedly. Heck, I'd have placed Ian flippin' Livingstone over Mr Mark.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd probably put

      *David* Livingstone over Mark. FFS.

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        WTF* is David Livingstone

        *W for who

        This Ian Livingstone ????

        Although GW do have some similarities to crApple, a litigatious nature and prior art for what they consider their IP.

        1. Richard IV

          Ian Livingstone - choose your own adventure

          David Livingstone - have your own adventure, I presume

  5. LarsG

    STEVE JOBS the man who......

    Invented penicillin

    Video games

    The biro

    Found world peace

    Walked on water

    Created the world

    Etc etc......

    What a sycophantic world we live in, influential in video games, my a*se.

    Even he would be looking down from wherever he is now and saying 'what a bunch of plonkers!'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      >Even he would be looking down

      This is El Reg, get with the program. Correction for future reference.

      Even he would be looking UP from wherever he is now

    2. exanime


      ...maybe he is looking up?

  6. I Like Heckling


    dumbest list ever


    This pandering to a dead man needs to stop now... it's getting beyond pathetic.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Jobs isn't the only odd choice

      The list seems generally to be misguided — cutting Jobs alone wouldn't redeem it. I'd keep Newell and Miyamoto but I'm not willing to give them much credit for getting two good choices onto a list of five.

  7. Northern Fop

    Oh dear

    That's up there with Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

  8. My backside

    Can you do no better?

    Sir, can you do no better than to use a disgusting, insensitive term such as "commentards"? How would you like it being used in reference to you? It's time to stop all uses of such things as this. It has no place in decent journalism, and is very disturbing for decent folks to see and hear.

    1. alwarming

      @My backside

      Ignore the writard, man.

    2. DavidK

      U mad bro?

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: "It has no place in decent journalism,"

      You're new here, aren't you?

    4. Dr Insanity

      I'm still hoping the line was a concealed application for FotW

    5. Kane Silver badge

      1/10 for getting me to reply.

      You should leave now

  9. HP Cynic

    If by shaped they meaned "ruined".

    1. AdamWill

      well, that's a bit harsh

      I'd say more 'sent back to 1991'.

      i keep seeing the games people are playing on iphones and facebook and wanting to tell them 'I was playing that! On a 286! In my mom's basement! Twenty fucking years ago!'

      But then I remember the laws on verbal harassment and just walk away quietly.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1) Jobs should not be on the first list, 2) PCs (not Macs of course) should be at the top of the second list.

    1. Hud Dunlap
      Thumb Up

      I am a Mac guy

      I have owned one for twenty years and I use it for everything except games. That is what i bought a PC for.

      1. ThomH Silver badge


        The Mac actually wasn't bad for games in 1991. It tended to get ports of a reasonable number of the PC hits but scaled up to work at then-high resolutions (as in, 640x480 sort of stuff rather than 320x200) and not always lazily. So it was like skipping ahead to SVGA. Compare and contrast the Mac and PC versions of Prince of Persia, Chuck Yeager's Air Combat, Wolfenstein 3d, etc.

        That said, even then you usually got games late or not at all. And the window during which the Mac was technologically ahead for games was incredibly brief.

  11. alwarming
    Paris Hilton

    Gaming industry vs Gaming itself.

    The bean counters from the industry are probably talking about who allowed them to make most monies. Maybe we should read how the questions were presented to them ?

    Its like asking music execs who is the most influential muscian ever... (Michael Jackson/Beatles vs Beethoven) ? If the question is framed in such a way that it seems to be asking about the influence on the music industry (not music itself), the music industry guy is probably going to say MJ or Beatles or whatever.

    Paris, who is the most influential figure in enabling large media file internet downloads.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      true, except...

      ...the correct analogy for Steve Jobs is Simon Cowel.

  12. Pete Spicer

    I understand the apparent value placed on Mark Zuckerberg for Facebook being a major portal of freemium quasi-multiplayer games. But I don't think he's influential because it wasn't down to him to make it happen, it was very much a case of relying on 'build it and they will come' - it could just as easily have backfired.

    Dave Jones, yes, I think deserves to be on the list. Sid Meier... though I'm a longtime fan of Pirates! and slightly less of Civ, probably should have been.

    I also think Berners-Lee shouldn't have been on there. Yes, he founded important principles of how the internet as we know it today works, and has received much in the way of recognition and accolades - rightly - for it. However, it wasn't him that made games utilising the internet or sharing them; if you're going down that road, Sir Clive Sinclair is probably more important than Berners-Lee in that respect with getting an affordable computer with serious games potential out to homes at the start of the 'computers in the Joe Average household' time in the early 80s.

    I'm also not sure about Jobs being top of the list. Yes, his vision enabled a whole new generation of casual gaming - but then so did Facebook in its own way and time.

    In that respect, I think I'd have to consider my top 5 people list to be Shigeru Miyamoto, Gabe Newell, Dave Jones, then it's a toss up between Peter Molyneux and Sid Meier, with Molyneux just taking the lead, in my book.

    As for platforms, I won't argue that the iPhone has been a major catalyst in casual gaming, but most influential? No. Top 5? Yes.

    For products to have shaped gaming history, I'm going to have to say the original NES, then the PSOne (or whatever you want to call it), then Steam, then the ZX Spectrum then the iPhone. The first two brought gaming into the home for different generations, Steam demonstrated that brick and mortar stores have something to fear as well as breaking away from some of the inane DRM (though not all of it, I hasten to add), the Speccie for being the formative years of some of the breed of devs over the years, and the iPhone for demonstrating the viability of casual gaming.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sinclair in the UK

      Commodore or... oh fuck, Apple in the US. But I'd give Woz more credit than Jobs for that.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the iphone responsible for vaulting casual gaming into the limelight? you sure it wasnt the Wii and the fastest selling games console in history (nintendo ds) behind the upsurge of casual gamers?

    Also, no love for Matthew Smith (man behind manic miner)? Or how about Clive Sinclair while were at it since his machine pretty much forged the UK gaming industry!!

  14. Northern Fop

    Atari 2600?

    Brought Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and *cough* ET into millions of homes, creating an entire generation of gamers practically on its own.

    1. Rob Dobs

      Dead ON

      2600 was the first widely distributed gaming system in peoples homes.

      Sure there was Pong, but no one really had it or played it much, it was a novelty.

      Odyssey (I, II and III) and Commodore both had their place on the list but it was PAC MAN in the Arcades, and Atari 2600 in the home that got the current generation of GAME MAKERS into gaming in the first place - hence the most influential.

      It got people MAKING and Playing Games - and it was where Jobs and Wozniak first worked BTW, so how is a couple of ex-Atari employees more influential than the gaming company that got them started to begin with????

      Surely leaps above the f*cktard iphone (which basically plays a lot of games similar to the hand held games out in the 80's, just all in one device) that did almost NOTHING to influence gaming! And if its just about wasting time, I am sure Win 95/XP solitaire and Minesweeper have more human logged hours than any games on the planet.

      Windows (and DirectX) as much as I could blame them for conglomerating and ruining gaming in some ways, were clearly more influential

      Toru Iwatani creator of PAC-MAN certainly got more people playing, or even knowing what a "video game" even was and was easily the most popular and most recognized video game and character in the world (Space Invaders creator would be on a short list too) Christ Pac-Man fever the Song with to the Billboard top 100 and sold over a million records - a video game hitting the song charts and selling records in MASS - THATS INFLUENCE!

      Richard Garriot surely deserves a spot on the list higher than other Networking and CEO types that never made or probably even played a decent game in their entire lives. Sid certainly deserves a spot as well.... hell the creator of Oregon Trail was more influential than on people playing games than Jobs, F*uckerberg and Tim BernersLee combined.

      Well said above, "dumbest list ever"....rubbish like this doesn't deserve repeating, other than maybe to point out how idiotic and out of touch 1000 CEO's and marketing types of Gaming companies can be about their own damn industry!!!

      1. stucs201
        Thumb Up

        re: Minesweeper

        If anything can give minesweeper a run for its money on hours wasted it'd be Alexey Pajitnov's creation and it's derivatives. For the hard of memory : Tetris.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Because in Soviet Russia

          Tetris plays YOU!!

  15. Wang N Staines

    Steve the man

    Computer games weren't invented/played until iDevices came along.

  16. Euchrid

    Linkbait publicity

    I remember when C4 did a poll to find the best album of the millennium and amongst the talking heads on the accompanying show was Charles Shaar Murray. As well as making some pertinent observations about the music, he also commented about the poll itself – that such surveys tell you far more about the people being surveyed than what they’re being asked about.

    Sums up my feelings about this survey.

    However, it will give the event some publicity as news outlets will happily reprint in the knowledge that furious readers will want to respond – so I guess it’s been successful on that level.

    On another note, the article states that one thousand industry execs were surveyed, but the story that it links to says it was *over* one thousand. Slightly pedantic I know, but nothing wrong with being accurate... then again, as this is essentially linkbait reporting, why care about standards?

  17. Oli Wright

    Assume that should have read "the conclusions of 1,000 Zynga executives"?

    1. Ben 42

      This was my first thought too when I saw the list.

      Also, no love for Carmack? I mean, he's only largely responsible for the FPS genre that is still kind of a big deal today.

      1. ScissorHands

        That settles it.

        I'd put Carmack at the BOTTOM.

      2. AdamWill

        obligatory Ken Silverman mention...

        ...goes right here.


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