Apple's Gay Poster Boy

San Francisco's Steve Demeter has gone from Wells Fargo employee to independently wealthy game designer in less than a year thanks to a $5 iPhone game called Trism.

BY Bryan Ochalla

June 24 2009 11:00 PM ET

When the folks at Apple want to show someone how successful their iPhone App Store has become, one of the handful of people they point to is Steve Demeter.

That's because the San Franciscan has gone from low-level Wells Fargo employee -- he used to make ATM software for the banking giant -- to independently wealthy video game designer since the store launched last July thanks to a game he made in about 10 days.

The $5 title, a deceptively simple puzzler called Trism, was a hit from the start, with Demeter earning a cool $250,000 in profit after just two months of sales. The 30-year-old Ohio native shies away from saying how much he's made since, though he admits he "could very well live indefinitely off the interest [and] dividends" of his earnings and subsequent investments.

Demeter didn't make Trism so he could become a millionaire, though; he made it so he could make people smile.

"Don't get me wrong, I wanted to make money," he says, "but I also thought that if just 10 people buy [the game] and one of them says to me, 'I had a blast playing it,' that would be enough. That's all I really wanted."

He was hoping to make himself smile, too, since his previous attempt at creating a game ended in disappointment. Although the title, developed about a decade ago for the Nintendo Game Boy, caught the attention of a publisher, it never made it onto store shelves.

Tags: Business

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