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. Tomato42 Silver badge

      Zynga and Popcap executives

  1. Feralmonkey
    Thumb Down


    Jobs shouldn't even be in the top 50 and the Iphone maybe the top 30 but not the top spot.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'd have put John Carmack up there somewhere, perhaps not top 5, but maybe given i'd say he's had a fairly large impact on all modern pc games (atleast, not 2d).

    Also, why the hell is the iPhone even there? This is like a crazy list, for crazy people. I've probably done more for gaming than the iPhone, that's how little it has done for "real" gaming.

    But yeah, i spose if you can do what flash was allowing people to do before but make it mobile then i suppose that could be counted as a victory... maybe... no...

    1. E Haines

      "Real" gaming? Is that like "no true Scotsman"? Gaming is gaming, and to deny the massive influence the iPhone has had is to be blindly foolish. But putting Steve Jobs at #1 is a bit much. I'd accept top 10 somewhere at most.

      1. Quantum Leaper

        Unless your game is in the top 100 apps, you don't make any money, and you only make the big bucks if it is in the top 10. Yep he done a lot for cheap gaming, Nintendo hate the iPhone, because everyone now wants games under $5 or so.....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You say that...

        But i'm not sat here holding my breath in anticipation of the next release of "angry birds".

        Skyrim next week... a "Real" game. Yes there is a difference, one pushes things along, one is just to make money in the short term.

  3. cloudgazer

    Jobs? Zuckerberg? Tim Berners Lee?

    This list suffers from the classic 'what's important right now' syndrome. Sure right now the most important growth platforms for gaming are iOS web and facebook, but those stand at the end of a long road and you can't ignore the people who built it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eugene Jarvis and Pete Molyneux

    To name but two of the striking omissions from that list. Just goes to show that execs never actually understand the industry they're working in.

    1. cloudgazer

      Molyneux was struck off because of the Fable series - oh and Black and White.

      1. Goat Jam

        And everything else he has done since Populous really.

        1. Yag



          Powermonger was not that bad!

          And I won't even start on Dungeon Keeper.

          But indeed, nothing really interesting since he left Bullfrog... I even wonder if he *really* was the real designers of the former games.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Did they somehow forget the influence of all the great stuff from the 80s?

    Might I humbly suggest the Atari VCS2600 as having had some small influence?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They probably

      weren't born back then.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We're all Doomed!

    John D. Carmack

    He should be up there too.

  7. senti


    Are those "1000 executives", by any chance, 16 years old?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      Much younger. Either that...or their collective IQ is 16.

    2. andreas koch

      @ senti

      yep, and they had a free ipod nano as well.

      Jobs will posthumously also win the Pulitzer price, the Nobel for physics, chemistry and peace, the Turing award, the Hugo and the Nebula, and make Number 1 in the Grand National and at Crufts.

      I just wish I hadn't read that article.

      *applies BrainBleach*

  8. Blitterbug

    Eugene Jarvis

    ...that is all

  9. Chad H.
    Thumb Down


    Look I wouldn't list jobs on a list of influential persons in gaming; but he has more of a right to be there than Berners -Lee.

    1. Jedit


      After all, Tim Berners-Lee only inadvertently created the infrastructure used by modern gaming, whereas Saint Steve made the far more significant contribution of doing absolutely nothing in connection with games design at any point in his career.

      The closest you could say Jobs ever got to being involved with games development was marketing several different platforms that could be used for games - the Apple II and the iPhone (let's forget about the Pippin, shall we?) - all of which merely followed in someone else's footsteps rather than innovate and none of which were as popular as their predecessors.

      1. Chad H.

        No He didn't.

        Tim Berners Lee created the Web; one particular facet of said infrastructure used by modern gaming (the internt). In fact, I'd go as far as to say if the web disipeared tomorrow, there'd be little to no immediate effect on gaming. Multiplayer? Fine - still got Internet even with no web.

        The Web has little if anything to do with gaming - as great as it is.

  10. Simon Ward

    Jeff Minter?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge


      Don't know what medication Jeff Minter was on when he wrote his games, but I felt like I was on medication when I played them.

      Long live Revenge of the Mutant Camels.

    2. Yag


      He is too llama!

    3. ThomH Silver badge

      Good call!

      Even now just look at all the post-Geometry Wars stuff; if that isn't a riff on the Tempest 2000 aesthetic then I don't know what is.

    4. MJI Silver badge

      I forgot Llamasoft

      Some pretty good Vic20 games

  11. SiveR
    Thumb Down

    what a load of old twaddle

    That's a clearly just a list of people who are 'cool and have made a lot of money out of exploiting people with gimmicks'

    Steve Job, gaming? give me a break, also how many Wii's are now sat gathering dust?

    What about the people making sure every day that we can still play the old games? I'd like to give special mentions to Nicola Salmoria, David Haywood, Aaron Giles and the others who work tirelessly on projects like MAME. By allowing us to access a huge back catalog of games they've had a far bigger influence on the development of current ones than anybody in those lists, look at how many current games pay homage to older ones which could otherwise have been lost to time.

    Peter Veenstra and the DOSBox Crew should be held in the same regard again for putting games which were highly influential on PC platforms into the hands of current developers many of whom are too young to have experienced them first hand. What about ScummVM, who hasn't used that? Props must go to Eugene Sandulenko there.

    History is important, lest we forget it, those who help preserve it long after it's commercial value are more valuable and influential to the industry than the current fads. The most influential people are not the most visible ones.

  12. Tom 35 Silver badge

    1,000 gaming-industry executives

    So it's a Bean Counters list, not a gamers list. When I look at it that way the choices are easier to understand.

  13. Naughtyhorse

    considered conclusions

    you mean nothing to do with that he coraked a couple of weeks ago.

    what a load of old bollocks

  14. JeffUK

    Fine by me, Apple invented mp3 players, mobile phones, touchscreens, home computing, laptops, video games and electricity. Why wouldnt' they be No. 1, All hail Apple!

  15. Audrey S. Thackeray

    Tomohiro Nishikado

    Space Invaders was huge, made video games something everyone knew about.

    Also Gunpei Yokoi for Game & Watch and the idea of making games mobile (what does the iPhone add to this idea? At best some aspects of the Wii's control and Steam's delivery - nothing truly innovative).

  16. Levente Szileszky

    WTF, Steve Jobs as a game guy... are you all completely and hopelessly clueless?


    Or was it one of those conferences where following the plenary session all these ugly guys go back to their hotel rooms, get high and, getting bored while waiting for the hookers, fills out a survey like this?

  17. BernieC


    When is the Pope going to make Steve a bona fida saint?

    1. andreas koch

      @ BernieC

      Why would he downgrade him?

  18. David Webb

    How big was the list, and did it have names down? Did they have to pick from 10-20 names or write their own choices down? How many of these 1,000 people actually are developing games for the iDevices?

    Gaming, god, go back to the 80's/90's and people whacking away at code on their ZX, C64, A500 etc. bringing out shareware releases or what-not They had an influence and some probably went on to work for big companies.

    EA, love it or loath it, the guy behind EA has brought out some of the most successful games in history, BF3, The Sims.

    Influencial people, Chris Sawyer (Transport Tycoon, Rollercoaster Tycoon), Peter Molyneux (Black and White, Fable), John Carmak (Doom, Wolfenstien).

    Systems? Why isn't the PC on that list? No PC = no Steam/Facebook, the PC has always been an important machine when it comes to games, one could also suggest that games have been a major influence on PC's too.

    I dunno what the world is coming to, people choosing an Apple platform over a PC platform when it comes to gaming, let's all sell our PC's, PS3's, XBoxes, Wii's, PSP's, DS's etc. and buy an iPhone, we'll get such quality gaming that no other system can compare with.

    What about JRPG's too? Megadrive/Snes, no Snes, no super mario, no Sega, no Sonic, the list is endless, no Nintendo, no Pokemon.... I'm going to stop before I pop a vein.

  19. Ray Pasley

    A steve jobs break

    peanut butter, polio vacine, initial modern speech, as well as the concept of fonts, all should be credited to the grubby lil collegiate. Getting very tiring hearing about the nasty lil prick.

  20. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Tim Berners-Lee?

    Is that because some games use the web? Sheesh! Tossers!

    What about Maxwell or Faraday, since none of these games would work without leccy?

    What about Newton, since Maxwell used calculus?

    What about Fibbonacci, or any number of nameless Arabs or Indians.

    What about the first Neanderthal who found it mildly amusing to clobber things with a big stick.

    Where do you stop?

    To answer my own question, the only reasonable place to stop is when you encounter people who haven't actually done a video game, merely promoted some facilitating technology. So Tim's out, and frankly so is St Steve of Jobs and his phone.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No Geoff Crammond? This list is chuffing nonsense. Fact.

  22. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    David Braben & Ian Bell.

    There is but one true game - it's name shall be ELITE

    1. Medium Dave

      ^ What he said.

      Over at the Frontier Developments website, there's a whole forum of people waiting (probably in vain) for Elite 4. And 30-odd years on, Oolite's still goes strong.

      I still play Elite on my 'droid, courtesy of Marvin....

      (Yeah, I'm a sad F--ker).

    2. Stuart Elliott
      Thumb Up


      And Blue Danube in entrenched in my head for another afternoon.

  23. dave 93

    200+ million iOS devices out there

    in 4 years. That is more than all the playstation 2 & 3 added together. Add in the fact that iOS has brought thousands and thousands of new developers in to the market, and you can see where the thinking of the judges came from.

  24. Daniel Flemming

    John Carmack

    Any list of the five most influential people in videogames that doesn't list John Carmack is pretty dumb. I mean, 3D first-person shooters are KIND OF POPULAR NOW.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As voted for... the under 21's

    So No Atari VCS

    No NES

    No Sega Megasystem

    No C64

    No ZX Spectrum

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Echoes of Princess Diana here.

    Are we now going to have a certain newspaper splashing him across every front page for the next 10 years, and the parents of his lover telling whoever will listen that he was murdered and it was all a conspiracy?

    1. andreas koch

      and Jade Goody.

      ...somewhat useless, but being good at being in the papers.

    2. bobbles31

      He was probably murdered by an iOS 5.0 beta tester.

  27. John Riddoch
    Thumb Down

    As The Damned said

    "Would you be so hot if you weren't dead?" ( - this was about John Lennon, but the sentiment has to carry forward here...

    "Suddenly, you are twice the man you used to be

    Excessive fame in quick death"

    I'd echo the sentiments of John Carmack who did a lot to shape PC games in the 90s.

  28. windywoo
    Thumb Down

    Steve jobs didn't even like games.

    Ever since the mac. It was someone else who suggested gaming for the ipod touch.

  29. James O'Brien

    heh my list

    I don't see how Jobs did Fuck all for gaming. Him, the iPhone and Mark didn't do a damn thing for the industry except maybe allow devs a new medium for distrubition. Hell it could be said that Derek Smart is the greatest thing that has ever happened to gaming and BC3K is the only game you will ever want its that good.........granted in DK's defense he was the reason for the greatest flame war ever.......


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