Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss
So is GameSpy. Sorry but I am still struggling to understand the significance of Steam, or why anyone cares about it at all.
From what I've seen, it tries to be a combination of store and community.
You can check the list of available games & DLCs, search for games you might be interested in, check forums, download manuals for the games, and get automatic updates to games you have purchased, and the Steam application itself.
I haven't tried it, but there are prompts to start "live" chat with others who are currently online.
For the few multiplayer games which are Mac compatible, you can play against/team with players who are running on Mac or PC.
I just played-though Half Life 2, for the first time - and the game's save files are all saved to Steam's "cloud" each time you quit. So, I can play the game on a different Mac, or a PC, and be able to access all of my saved files - without having to start a new game.
They also have acheivements added to the games, so that any of your online "friends" can see what you have accomplished in the game. Based on my playing of HL2, some of them are basic mileposts that anyone would have to do to complete the game, but some of them are challanges that you would have to go our of your way to accomplish.
I just like the fact that it lets me play - so far - a couple of older PC-only titles that I always wanted to play, without also
requiring me to buy a copy of Windows to install under Bootcamp, or a license to Crossover Games.
It didn't hurt that I got in early and so Portal was free, and HL2 at a slight discount [it was already cheap - since it is an old game].
I downloaded the trial of Crossover Games - to do a head-to-head OSX vs WINE comparison on Portal and Torchlight... and while the WINE version of Torchlight had an extra option in the video setting, missing from the OSX version, and the screen was a little
sharper, I didn't think it was worth COG's $40 license fee to get that small improvement.
Not a lot of Mac titles yet, and a lot of them seem to be pretty light-weight games, so it has been fun to play some new-to-me, inexpensive games while I'm wating for StarCraft 2 to arrive.
If you have access to Windows-only games via Bootcamp, Parrallels, VMware, or Crossover Games - then Steam will be a non-starter for you - unless you like the online community, and save files in the "cloud".