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Valve's Steam gaming system may be headed to the Mac

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
Users have discovered Mac OS X specific files hidden in the latest version of Valve Software's Steam distribution engine and multiplayer platform for gaming, indicating a Mac port may be around the corner.

Earlier this week, Steam's discussion boards lit up after users found graphics and menu item resources (below) in its latest update which were apparently designed for Mac OS X.

Steam is currently Windows-only, but it represents a variety of third party software publishers that support Mac versions of their games, including EA, id Software, PopCap, and Take-Two Interactive.

Valve, Steam's developer, also creates its own first party games including the popular Half-Life 2, but has not yet ported its own games to the Mac.



Apple's weak Mac gaming strategy

Back in 2007, Steam's co-founder Gabe Newell detailed his company's interest in working with Apple to support the Mac, but pulled no punches in criticizing Apple for not following through with the kind of support game developers needed.

"We have this pattern with Apple," Newell said in an interview, "where we meet with them, people there go 'wow, gaming is incredibly important, we should do something with gaming. And then we'll say, 'OK, here are three things you could do to make that better,' and then they say OK, and then we never see them again.

"And then a year later, a new group of people show up, who apparently have no idea that the last group of people were there, and never follow through on anything. So, they seem to think that they want to do gaming, but there's never any follow through on any of the things they say they're going to do."

Apple's stance on gaming for the Mac platform hasn't changed dramatically since then, with most attention being directed to the delivery of Windows games for Intel Macs using TransGaming's Cider engine. However, with the iPhone and iPod touch, Apple has created a new mobile platform that has attracted lots of native development from leading game developers.

The iPod/iPhone halo has also helped the company to dramatically ramp up sales of Mac systems. Combined with the Cider engine (which enables game developers to release their existing Windows code in a way that works on Intel Macs), this makes targeting the Mac platform increasingly attractive for PC game developers even without extensive support for native development from Apple.

Introducing Steam

Steam works similar to Apple's iPhone App Store within iTunes, providing a market for PC video game titles and a mechanism for automatically delivering the latest software updates to players.

Additionally, Steam also presents community features including user profiles and both private and group in-game chat services. It also delivers a multiplayer gaming environment that polices the use of cheats to keep players all on an equal footing.

Valve's latest software update for Steam introduced a new user interface (below) and dropped Microsoft's Trident rendering engine from Internet Explorer in preference for the open source WebKit engine Apple uses.

John Cook, the Director of Steam Development at Valve said this move "gives us a bunch of size, stability and performance benefits. This release of Steam leaves us well prepared for another year of strong growth."

post #2 of 55
That would be awesome, to be able to log in to my Steam Account and start downloading my games which have been unused for quite some time.
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post #3 of 55
Absolutely zero chance of this, or reason for Valve to do it. Next article, please.
post #4 of 55
Great. That's all I need. It was a natural check and balance for me to have to Bootcamp it to Windows to play my games. Productivity will drop to zero if I can hit them while in Mac mode.

Must. Be. Disciplined.
post #5 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

Absolutely zero chance of this, or reason for Valve to do it. Next article, please.

Sheesh. Talk about Debbie Downer. They'd never use you to talk someone down off a ledge.

Although I mainly game on my PS3, this could get me to use my MBP for gaming as well.
post #6 of 55
It can only mean one thing: Steam for iPad
post #7 of 55
Yessir, the times.... They are a-changin'.
post #8 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

Absolutely zero chance of this, or reason for Valve to do it. Next article, please.

Wrong. It's been discussed on Inside Mac Games for a month now and has been confirmed by a variety of sources, including Tuncer Deniz, the guy who runs IMG, in his discussion with the folks at Valve. Here's a brief recap of what's been said ...

A month ago Valve acknowledged to numerous media outlets they were looking for senior Linux and Mac engineers. The same timeframe, Tuncer confirmed with Valve that they were indeed bringing Steam to OSX and porting a number of titles as well. Steam employees have also confirmed this on the forums as well.

Steam is a distribution platform, nothing more. Some of the developers on Steam, especially the indie ones like PopCap, 2D Boy, etc already make OSX versions of their games and would love another outlet to sell product. And many of Steam's best-known titles like Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2, Left 4 Dead already run well under CrossOver. I imagine a number of titles added to the ranks of Mac gaming (Ciderized, perhaps, and a few years out of date) but Valve's distribution network has nothing to lose at all by adding OSX titles to their staple.

OSX, Linux or Windows, a cut of a game's price is still a cut of a game's price to Valve. They're the iTunes of digital game distribution.
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post #9 of 55
Not the first and probably not the last game delivery app for the Mac. Having the platform would be nice, but without more game porting or dual development it's just another way to get hold of the crappy Ciderfied EA catalogue, which holds no interest for me.

I can't see that much has happened to change Valve's opinion of developing their own catalogue for the Mac, though the expanded Open GL 3.0 support that should be in 10.6.3 may help. I suppose that having a widely deployed delivery platform like Steam may encourage more development for the Mac, but I don't see it being a game changer.

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post #10 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

It can only mean one thing: Steam for iPad

no interpreted code
post #11 of 55
with boot camp and the DirectX WIndows game API being better supported i don't see the point of buying a Mac port of a game
post #12 of 55
All I want is the new AvP on OS X!

Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

with boot camp and the DirectX WIndows game API being better supported i don't see the point of buying a Mac port of a game

Because rebooting every time you play a game (and buying, installing, securing, maintaining, and wasting disk space on Windows) is not fun. It’s a great option to have if you don’t mind those things, but there’s a good reason why I and many others aren not interested.

I want to be able to play a game by clicking the icon, leaving all my work, my email, my browser, etc. running (and most importantly my scheduled DVR!) so I can get back to them when I quit the game. Not have to re-launch all my apps, re-open all my docs, and waste time. And then, when I’m looking up mods/hints/updates/discussion, I want MY bookmarks, my tools, my filespace, not a separate set in a separate OS. Ditto for emailing/IMing to set up a game. Gaming isn’t always one app in isolation, it’s a part of your life. That’s how I like it.

And I could not live without ControllerMate on OS X, for customizing game controllers. Visual USB driver programming! The custom stuff you can make a mouse (or joystick, etc.) do with it is amazing. My Quake Wars setup relies on it.

That’s one thing people like about consoles: you can game when you want to without hassle. Games should be fun. If I had to reboot I would still game... but I would game LESS.
post #13 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

with boot camp and the DirectX WIndows game API being better supported i don't see the point of buying a Mac port of a game

1) Not having to purchase a full Windows license.
2) Not having to reboot your machine just to play a game.
3) Steam usually has nice bundle deals on games.
post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

Absolutely zero chance of this, or reason for Valve to do it. Next article, please.

LOL. There are plenty of reason's for Valve to do this, they are called dollars.

Casual games are huge money makers and there are plenty for OS X that could be delivered by Steam. I am not saying I believe they will or will not do this, but a business case could be easily made for bringing Steam to OS X.

However, the biggest problem I see for games on OS X is the crappy GPU options on Apple's consumer desktop products. The top of the line iMac only has 4850 512MB GPU for its top choice. That is pathetically bad for a display with the iMac's native resolution. More importantly, you can't even get that card with the less expensive machines.

For casual games, GPU selection will not be a problem. Other than that, I just don't see any indication that Apple cares about the gaming market for OS X.

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post #15 of 55
I wonder if Steam for Mac will come complete with the same annoying copy protection that plagues the Windows version.

Can't I just play my game without having to log in to a service that tracks my usage?
post #16 of 55
So, I'm cornfused. Is Steam a development environment or a piece of software that you download so you can play certain games?
post #17 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

Absolutely zero chance of this, or reason for Valve to do it. Next article, please.

A lot more Macs then there used to be. Plus there's this whole intel thing, a much better OGL implementation in snow leopard (which should be either better in 10.6.3) and cider which makes the process a whole lot easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

I wonder if Steam for Mac will come complete with the same annoying copy protection that plagues the Windows version.

Can't I just play my game without having to log in to a service that tracks my usage?

As digital distribution becomes the form, so will DRM for software whether it be fairplay in a future Mac app store or some other type.
post #18 of 55
well, this would be good news if it actually means more games for mac's and associated devices which are REAL games.

not the crappy iphone app stuff. but real games. that said i understand why they think apple has dropped the ball on game development. they have.

that said, if they supported Steam and getting more games on the mac, more people would buy macs. so they really have alot to gain.

if this becomes reality, and maybe Cider is more affordable for developers. Steam makes it cheaper to distribute games and be less reliant on physical stores. which is helpful when they need to run promotions and keep pricing low. all of this could help drive volume in sales or mac playing. yay.
post #19 of 55
I'd like to point out that the OS X specific files and references are about as hidden as the full moon on a cloudless night.

Valve made absolutely no attempt to hide them and probably mistakenly left them in when releasing the build.
post #20 of 55
OK, I realize I sounded very much like a troll in my previous post, but none of the opposing arguments so far have convinced me otherwise. Rewriting the Steam client for OS X isn't a trivial task (although I'm sure it's nothing like trying to port a game), and they'd be doing it for a handful of existing casual games, essentially providing a place to keep them in a list (which I already do with a stack on my Dock) and keep track of how many hours you've spent on each (which, admittedly, stacks don't do).

I've played Ciderized games, and they're such pale, quivering shadows of their former Windows selves that I'm tempted to say they simply don't count at all. Plus, we can't delude ourselves into thinking that any DirectX-based games would be given any more effort than a quick Cider wrap and boot out the door. It's all that's been happening in Mac gaming since the Intel transition, with the exception of developers like Blizzard and Id who were already developing games cross-platform from the ground up.

OpenGL is a graphics library, which only addresses one portion of what DirectX addresses and from the anecdotal evidence I've seen around the web, DirectX is apparently easier, or more pleasant or something, to program for than OpenGL. The fact that a newer iteration of OGL is being adopted now doesn't change that. The amount of effort needed to rewrite a DirectX-based game engine to use not only a completely different underlying graphics framework, but a whole other set of OS-specific APIs is most likely monumental. As much as the Mac market has grown relative to its old size, it's still very small, making it doubtful whether it's enough to justify that kind of work.

I don't mind rebooting for more serious games (i.e. the HL2 series) because, having played Mac "ports" of them, the speed, graphical performance and hardware support they have on Windows is unmatchable. If Apple gave two shiuhh, hoots about gaming outside of the iPhone OS, this might not be the case, but they've made it painfully clear for the last decade that they don't.

I'm sorry if this makes me a "Debbie Downer". There are many things about OS X that we can be exceedingly proud of. Games aren't one of them.
post #21 of 55
I doubt Steve will be too happy about this, but if I understand this correctly this is a decision that is up to Valve, right? If they decide they can build a good mac experience and have enough customers for those games why not bring steam over to the mac. I still think that gaming should be done on an xbox or a ps3, since they are cheaper then an adequately future gaming proof macbook pro or iMac.
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post #22 of 55
I have virtual machine software (Parallels), and have dual boot (WinXP setup primarily to run Steam!) so I can play games. I would FAR prefer a native setup.

Bring it on...and I'll be there. Thank you thank you thank you.

JB
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

That would be awesome, to be able to log in to my Steam Account and start downloading my games which have been unused for quite some time.

Why would you want to download all your Windows games under Steam for the Mac?
post #24 of 55
I have loved Steam/Valve games---but every single one I played on my old PC played HELL with my OS. Not so much the games themselves (though they tended to be giant resource hogs), but the Valve/Steam update/interface system which played havoc with firewalls and anti-virual programs. I had to reboot constantly and eventually deleted all of them because it was such a pain.

Too bad, Half-Life 2 was a heck of a game.
post #25 of 55
Assuming this does go through, of course:

One thing I liked about Steam was the ability to re-download a game you had previously purchased, even to a different PC. I wonder if they would let you download a Mac version if you had purchased the PC version, or if they will be two separate products?

I had purchased a few older games on Steam that I never finished. I went Windows-free last weekend with the purchase of a Mac Mini. () Loss of those games was my only very small regret... I might have to pick up the original Assassin's Creed for the XBox...
post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

OK, I realize I sounded very much like a troll in my previous post, but none of the opposing arguments so far have convinced me otherwise. Rewriting the Steam client for OS X isn't a trivial task (although I'm sure it's nothing like trying to port a game), and they'd be doing it for a handful of existing casual games, essentially providing a place to keep them in a list (which I already do with a stack on my Dock) and keep track of how many hours you've spent on each (which, admittedly, stacks don't do).

I've played Ciderized games, and they're such pale, quivering shadows of their former Windows selves that I'm tempted to say they simply don't count at all. Plus, we can't delude ourselves into thinking that any DirectX-based games would be given any more effort than a quick Cider wrap and boot out the door. It's all that's been happening in Mac gaming since the Intel transition, with the exception of developers like Blizzard and Id who were already developing games cross-platform from the ground up.

OpenGL is a graphics library, which only addresses one portion of what DirectX addresses and from the anecdotal evidence I've seen around the web, DirectX is apparently easier, or more pleasant or something, to program for than OpenGL. The fact that a newer iteration of OGL is being adopted now doesn't change that. The amount of effort needed to rewrite a DirectX-based game engine to use not only a completely different underlying graphics framework, but a whole other set of OS-specific APIs is most likely monumental. As much as the Mac market has grown relative to its old size, it's still very small, making it doubtful whether it's enough to justify that kind of work.

I don't mind rebooting for more serious games (i.e. the HL2 series) because, having played Mac "ports" of them, the speed, graphical performance and hardware support they have on Windows is unmatchable. If Apple gave two shiuhh, hoots about gaming outside of the iPhone OS, this might not be the case, but they've made it painfully clear for the last decade that they don't.

I'm sorry if this makes me a "Debbie Downer". There are many things about OS X that we can be exceedingly proud of. Games aren't one of them.

Good post - for what it's worth I agree. Despite having 3 Macs in my house and two iPhones, as well as an ATV, when push comes to shove, I boot my PC/Windows machine to play games, many of them on Steam.

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post #27 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by iwarriorpoet View Post

I have loved Steam/Valve games---but every single one I played on my old PC played HELL with my OS. Not so much the games themselves (though they tended to be giant resource hogs), but the Valve/Steam update/interface system which played havoc with firewalls and anti-virual programs. I had to reboot constantly and eventually deleted all of them because it was such a pain.

I have a PC sitting beside me that we use for Steam, and we have none of those issues.
post #28 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Yessir, the times.... They are a-changin'.

Right, because every other day this site has an article about some new game studio deciding to fully support the Mac community. Oh, that's right, you don't.

Electronic Arts has dumped a few games onto OS X via Cider, but that's about the extent of non-casual games that show up on the Mac. And Blizzard makes so few games they hardly count at all.

Yep, certainly seems like times have changed...
post #29 of 55
Seriously, if they are looking for senior Mac Developers they better be ready to invest into ObjC developers.
post #30 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

So, I'm cornfused. Is Steam a development environment or a piece of software that you download so you can play certain games?

Steam is basically the Windows equivalent of the App Store for desktop/laptop PCs, except that it is run by Valve (the company behind the hit game Half Life) and not by Microsoft.
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post #31 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates View Post

Steam is basically the Windows equivalent of the App Store for desktop/laptop PCs, except that it is run by Valve (the company behind the hit game Half Life) and not by Microsoft.

...and meant specifically for games. But yeah, good analogy.
post #32 of 55
Porting a game from Windows to Mac, is substantially easier than most apps, as they rarely rely on many OS APIs or GUI. Porting from DirectX to OpenGL is not a major issue - and many engines already support both. Any console-PC port or multi-console game has already been through this porting process, so porting to another platform at the same time shouldn't be a major issue.

From speaking to a number of graphics programmers at work, most seem to agree that OpenGL has a nicer API than DirectX. I've only ever dabbled with DirectX, myself. DirectX covers a number of things beyond what OpenGL covers - input and sound for example, but this doesn't really matter - there are plenty of other libraries that do this, and many games won't use DirectSound even if they use DirectX.

I'm not saying it's trivial, but it's not really that hard - someone with good knowledge of both platforms and their graphics APIs could probably port even a complex game in a few weeks, as the vast vast majority of code is going to be standard C++.
post #33 of 55
This would be way more exciting a development than the ipad.
post #34 of 55
I buy nearly all my games through steam now. That's one every 2 months or so. I would happily buy Mac games through it too, but only if the Mac version was somehow programmed more efficiently (e.g. higher frame rate) than the PC version. Otherwise I will just buy the PC version since it is typically out first.

I don't really like console controllers, despite years of trying to, so I will choose PC whenever possible. Also don't like touch screen games (sorry to my iPhone). The PC mouse really is killer awesome. Until immersive VR comes along of course.
post #35 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by eAi View Post

Porting a game from Windows to Mac, is substantially easier than most apps, as they rarely rely on many OS APIs or GUI. Porting from DirectX to OpenGL is not a major issue - and many engines already support both. Any console-PC port or multi-console game has already been through this porting process, so porting to another platform at the same time shouldn't be a major issue.

From speaking to a number of graphics programmers at work, most seem to agree that OpenGL has a nicer API than DirectX. I've only ever dabbled with DirectX, myself. DirectX covers a number of things beyond what OpenGL covers - input and sound for example, but this doesn't really matter - there are plenty of other libraries that do this, and many games won't use DirectSound even if they use DirectX.

I'm not saying it's trivial, but it's not really that hard - someone with good knowledge of both platforms and their graphics APIs could probably port even a complex game in a few weeks, as the vast vast majority of code is going to be standard C++.

Interesting. Even encouraging, perhaps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I don't really like console controllers, despite years of trying to, so I will choose PC whenever possible. Also don't like touch screen games (sorry to my iPhone). The PC mouse really is killer awesome. Until immersive VR comes along of course.

If they weren't living in Roddenberry's utopian society, the Next Gen crew woulda had some kickass holodeck FPS's. I'm with you about the controllers, though...the keyboard and mouse have always felt roomier to me, more comfortable.
post #36 of 55
Maybe. The PC games market is in terminal decline, outside of World of WarCraft and The Sims. Perhaps Valve see the Mac as a way to replace lost PC sales, for a while at least.

Personally I gave up PC gaming, in favour of consoles, years ago and never looked back. There's no way they can match the sofa/50" plasma/5.1 big speaker surround/ease of use setup I get from my 360 and PS3.
post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

I wonder if Steam for Mac will come complete with the same annoying copy protection that plagues the Windows version.

That's exactly why it's popular with publishers so it has to stay. I'd prefer that than have some software installed that messes around with virtual disk utilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShunnaBunich

Rewriting the Steam client for OS X isn't a trivial task

I don't see how. The purchasing part is essentially a web browser. Their website has the same design. They switched the rendering engine from Internet Explorer's trident engine (which obviously doesn't run on the Mac) to Webkit, which does.

Steam is just an authentication portal. Choose a game, download it. Run the game while Steam reports back that it's legit. The whole app is 1.2MB in size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunch

they'd be doing it for a handful of existing casual games

The Mac has quite a lot of big titles:

Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare
Star Wars The Force Unleashed
older Star Wars game like Jedi Knight 2, Jedi Academy
Lego Star Wars & Indiana Jones
Tiger Woods PGA Tour
The Sims 3
World of Warcraft
Prey
Bioshock
Myst series
Battlefield 2142
Fable The Lost Chapters
Enemy Territory Quake Wars
X3 Reunion
Unreal Tournament 3
NFS Carbon
Colin McCrae Rally
Star Wars Battlefront
Harry Potter
Star Wars Knights of the old Republic
Flatout 2
Tomb Raider games including Anniversary and Angel of Darkness
Cold War
True Crime games
Halo 1
Driver
No one Lives Forever
Fallout 2
Sacrifice
XIII
X-Men 2
Star Wars Pod Racer
Star Trek Elite Force
Max Payne
Heavy Metal FAKK2
Deus Ex
Oni
Tony Hawk 4
Kelly Slater's Surfing
Red Faction
Indiana Jones
Rayman 3
Shrek 2, Cars etc Disney games
Bionicle
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (not GRAW)
NFS: Carbon
Spore
Prince of Persia

But if you go to a retail site like Amazon or Play, those titles are mostly unavailable. Even for Call of Duty 4 alone, this whole thing is worthwhile because they can drive the prices down along with the PC version.

CoD4 sold 13 million copies. If they can get some of the 20 million Mac users who would be able to run the game (Mac user have more modern computers than PC users), it's another few millions copies.

Direct2Drive already has this setup working:

http://www.direct2drive.co.uk/buy-mac-download

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShunnaBunich

I've played Ciderized games, and they're such pale, quivering shadows of their former Windows selves

I don't think they're all that bad. I actually think some work better than Mac ports. I've seen Mac ports that take ages to launch and shut down but Cider games are quick. NFS plays much the same as it does on Windows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCTmFWbGO48

That's an older 8600M GT MBP and although it lags a bit, the graphics shouldn't be up as high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShunnaBunich

having played Mac "ports" of them

That's the problem, they're not officially supported Cider ports and people try to hack various wrappers onto them and configure them properly but typically only manage DirectX 8 support - no HDR reflections etc. FWIW, the HL2 games ran at the same speed for me, just less graphically pleasing. With official support, this would be rectified.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbmcavoy

I wonder if they would let you download a Mac version if you had purchased the PC version, or if they will be two separate products?

It would be good if they charged just a small fee in that case.

If Valve are considering porting their games over, this would be amazing. Portal is a great game and I've played the HL2 games through a couple of times each. It would be a great franchise to have on the Mac.
post #38 of 55
A Mac has power to spare for games like counter strike source, which believe it or not is still quite popular.

I wouldn't have to purchase anything the games I've paid for are linked to my Steam account all I'd have to do is download them, I already have the licenses.

I just haven't used windows for a while.

Steam has made game servers available for Linux for quite some time.

Could this be a nail in DirectX's coffin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

LOL. There are plenty of reason's for Valve to do this, they are called dollars.

Casual games are huge money makers and there are plenty for OS X that could be delivered by Steam. I am not saying I believe they will or will not do this, but a business case could be easily made for bringing Steam to OS X.

However, the biggest problem I see for games on OS X is the crappy GPU options on Apple's consumer desktop products. The top of the line iMac only has 4850 512MB GPU for its top choice. That is pathetically bad for a display with the iMac's native resolution. More importantly, you can't even get that card with the less expensive machines.

For casual games, GPU selection will not be a problem. Other than that, I just don't see any indication that Apple cares about the gaming market for OS X.
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post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Unreal Tournament 3

Hasn't quite made it yet. There was a major issue that couldn't me solved without some extensions from OGL3.0 those might be in 10.6.3. Port has otherwise basically been complete for about two years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

well, this would be good news if it actually means more games for mac's and associated devices which are REAL games.

not the crappy iphone app stuff. but real games. that said i understand why they think apple has dropped the ball on game development. they have.

that said, if they supported Steam and getting more games on the mac, more people would buy macs. so they really have alot to gain.

if this becomes reality, and maybe Cider is more affordable for developers. Steam makes it cheaper to distribute games and be less reliant on physical stores. which is helpful when they need to run promotions and keep pricing low. all of this could help drive volume in sales or mac playing. yay.

The iPhone crappy stuff makes Apple and the Mac more attractive.

Also, spending a fraction of that 40 billion on transgamming might not be a bad idea, especially if it were renamed "gamecode" or something and offered free to developers.
post #40 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

Maybe. The PC games market is in terminal decline, outside of World of WarCraft and The Sims. Perhaps Valve see the Mac as a way to replace lost PC sales, for a while at least.

Correction: The PC retail market is in terminal decline. Online services (such as Steam), casual games, indie games and subscription-based games are showing strong growth. There's also a lot of markets outside of the US where PC games are still king - especially eastern Europe and Asia.

I'm a massive fan of Steam. It's got such a sensible attitude to DRM. Yes, there's DRM but it never restricts my usage of games. In fact, it has benefits as I can re-download games onto any computer at any time. Their sales are also amazing. Over Christmas I picked up a whole bunch of recent and critically acclaimed games for $5 each.

I'll be very happy if Steam is released for Mac OS.
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