Apple Wants Video Game Artist for 3D Characters and EnvironmentsS

Apple has developed small games in the past, but this new job offer description— looking for someone to create 3D interactive multimedia experiences on the iPhone platform—is hinting at something a lot bigger than just small games:

Job title Video Game Artist
Job type Full Time
Job description The interactive media group is looking for a skilled artist who wants to work as part of a small highly motivated team to work on interactive multimedia experiences on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The position on the team is to help design, visualize, enable and implement interface, 3D characters/environments, animation, texturing as well as original concept artwork. The position also requires a creative thinker who can contribute and comment on the design process as well as being flexible enough to aid in all aspects of production such as asset management and able to work to a deadline.

Looking for an artist with Maya / 3D Max / Photoshop experience
-ability to model, animate, texture & produce bump/normal maps for 3D scene graph environments
-strong environment & character concept artist
-3-4 years of real world experience, iPhone / console experience preferred
-ability to handle asset pipeline management including XML and source control

So, what does "interactive multimedia experiences" really mean? I find hard to believe that Apple would enter the 3D gaming big leagues. That requires a lot of resources, it's an extremely competitive market, and—most importantly—all game companies in the planet are developing great 3D games for the iPhone OS platform. So why would Apple enter this arena when others are doing a great job already? It doesn't make sense.

Sure, Apple has created some simple games in the past—mostly as technology demonstrators to get the ball rolling, first in the classic iPod, then the iPhone—but this job description calls for a lot more: Interactive experiences, user interfaces, 3D characters in 3D environments... My hunch? Apple may be creating something else for the iPhone OS platform, perhaps the equivalent of the Xbox 360 dashboard, an environment in which players can meet and connect to play together online.

The kind of environment that would work perfectly in, say, something like the Apple Tablet? [Apple via Twitter—Thanks Nick Paulson]