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Steve Jobs' three gifts to gaming

Why gamers should celebrate the life and work of Apple's co-founder...

The news of Steve Jobs' sad death is expectedly dominating news broadcasts, cyber-chatter and office conversations this morning.

Jobs' passing sees a world mourning the loss of both a daring personality in business, an innovative mind in technology and a charismatic man in general.

While the Apple co-founder was a giant in the technology sector his influence has of course spread to our small sub-sector that is gaming.

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Apart from his involvement in the creation of famed arcade title Breakout with fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Jobs hasn't been a figure directly associated with gaming until recently, but the work technology he drove since the creation of Apple in 1976 has always contributed.

While the likes of Peter Molyneux, Gabe Newell and Shigeru Miyamoto are more likely to jump to the fore in gamers' minds when flagging up the industry's biggest players, the contribution of Steve Jobs and Apple has been monumental.

Here are three reasons why the world of video games industry should celebrate the life and work of Steve Jobs:

THE MACINTOSH

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That machine you're sitting in front of right now? The one that you've spent the best part of your gaming career shooting enemy soldiers or levelling up online? The set of boxes sitting on your desktop that is still today considered the provider of the best gaming experience around? You can thank Steve Jobs and Apple for that.

Okay so you're more than likely doing all of the above on a PC but it was the release of Apple's Macintosh computer in 1984 that brought the personal computer to homes.

It was also the first computer to abandon text-only commands and instead used a graphical interface and something called a mouse. We don't need to tell you how important that little gadget was to become for modern gaming.

Gaming may have never taken off fully on the Mac but it was Apple's practical, affordable machine that saw the personal computer become a necessity in homes around the world and, in that sense, the first steps towards a superior gaming platform.

iTUNES

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But that's for tunes isn't it? Surely the clue's in the name? Right you are but it's the principle of iTunes which stretches beyond the world of music, an industry which has been something of a canary down the mine for the rest of entertainment.

In a world where the value of a song seemed to diminish rapidly, where law-abiding citizens everywhere somehow felt at ease pirating the latest singles and albums, iTunes put a business model in place that helped shift momentum back to normality.

Although it has seen the degradation of the CD and bricks and mortar retailers, iTunes proved not only that digital distribution works but that it's the future.

Although the likes of the, Xbox Live Marketplace, Steam, the PlayStation Store and now OnLive may serve a completely different function, it was iTunes that created a world at ease with paying for downloadable data.

THE iPHONE

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Children of the 90s will remember a time when mobile gaming was guiding a line of chunky pixels around a screen in a pursuit for 'food'. Addictive, yes, but today Snake is used as little more than an indicator of how far we've come.

Whether it's the bright, plush and equally addictive Angry Birds or titles like id Software's Rage or Epic's Infinity Blade that look closer to triple A console games, mobile gaming is a dominant force and its explosion is thanks to the iPhone.

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