They’re saying games matter more to Apple than ever before, and this new spark’s confirmed today by former senior iPods and iPhone Apple staffer, Jonathan Kromrey.

"While working at Apple, I was amazed by the renewed passion for gaming that seemed to grow by the day," he said. "The gaming community has never been broader, both in terms of the types of games being played and the audience. This is a great time to be developing games for Apple’s devices."

Until now, Kromrey has been an iPods and iPhone games producer and designer at Apple, responsible for the research, design and development of products/applications on iPod, iPhone, iPod touch and Apple TV platforms.

He was also involved in identifying and planing strategies to support continued growth and showcase new hardware of these products on their release. Now he’s taken a new job at games developer, Namco, where he holds the new post of general manager of Apple Games.

This key hire clearly underlines the renewed depth of interest games publishers now hold in developing for Apple’s platforms.

He’ll be working at Namco to create new franchise opportunities, oversee research, manage design and production and developing new and original content that make best use of what can be done with Apple devices, including the iPhone and iPod touch. Naturally, this suggests Namco’s ready to invest significantly in seizing a slice of Apple’s growing market.

"It’s an exciting time at Namco. We are preparing to usher in a new generation of games that capitalize on changing consumer preferences, like anywhere’ gaming and social games," said Kromrey.

"With the iPhone and iPod touch, Apple has provided truly innovative platforms and is challenging developers to push these devices to their limits. I’m going to ensure that Namco answers that challenge and exceeds consumers’ expectations."

There’s new breeds of socially-connected, web-savvy, internet-friendly games in preparation, or so it appears. Namco’s going to be exploring ways to implement voice recognition, peer-to-peer game play and accelerometer controls in future games. It’s also looking to upgrade existing titles to exploit new features in iPhone 3.0, such as access to iTunes and Facebook Connect.

Kromrey’s not merely an Apple ex-staffer. He has a serious background in the games industry, before Apple he managed production at iPlay, creating games for sundry mobile platforms. Before this, of course, he held various management and production roles at Eidos Interactive, Namco Bandai Games, Mattel Interactive and Strategic Simulations.

With the mention of the Apple TV, it really is enough to make one wonder if games developers know something about that product we don’t – yet – know for sure….

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