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Expansion to Apple's Mac helps Steam hit 30M active users

post #1 of 29
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Cloud-based game selling service Steam saw its sales increase more than 200 percent year over year, thanks in part to the platform's expansion to Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

Valve, the maker of the Steam service, announced Monday that game sales increased more than 200 percent over the last 12 months. In addition, new users increased by 178 percent, and the service now has more than 30 million active accounts.

"Steam is on track to record the biggest year in its six year history," said Gabe Newell, president of Valve. "The year has marked major development advances to the platform with the introduction of support for Mac titles, the Steam Wallet and in-game item buying support, and more."

"We believe the growth in accounts, sales, and player numbers is completely tied to this work and we plan to continue to develop the platform to offer more marketing, sales, and design tools for developers and publishers of games and digital entertainment."

Steam for Mac launched this year in May, bringing with it top-tier titles like Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2. Its availability to Mac gamers has also caused game developers to port their titles for users of Apple machines.

Though some of the growth in the last year is attributed to the Mac, Apple's hardware represents a relatively small share of the total users on Steam. The September 2010 Steam Hardware & Software Survey found that 2.36 percent of users were running Mac OS X 10.6.4, while another 1.59 percent had Mac OS X 10.6.3. In addition, 0.51 percent ran Mac OS X 10.5.8 as their primary operating system.

The Mac initially made a splash in the worldwide Steam presence when the platform was first launched. In May, the first full month of Steam's availability on Apple hardware, the Mac represented 8.46 percent of gamers.



The latest survey found that a majority of Mac users -- 46.78 percent -- are on a MacBook Pro. Another 23.18 percent accessed Steam on an iMac, while 20.25 percent used a low-end MacBook. Rounding out the survey were the Mac Pro (5.41 percent) and Mac mini (3.44 percent).

Mac users are also equipped hardware-wise to run the latest games, as more than half of all users have 4GB of RAM. Another 7.99 percent have more than 5GB of RAM in their system.
post #2 of 29
So they doubled usage in part due to the Mac which is derided as not being able to play games and only has 10% market share. Very strange ... Perhaps Macs aren't so bad after all?
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post #3 of 29
I didn't think they would be very successful but I have to admit I was wrong. Apparently Mac users are starved for native games.

I remember Aspyr served us loyally for many years and then bugged out (or at least scaled back drastically). Apparently at exactly the wrong time!
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

So they doubled usage in part due to the Mac which is derided as not being able to play games and only has 10% market share. Very strange ... Perhaps Macs aren't so bad after all?

From a serious gamer who owns both pcs and macs, macs are pathetic at playing games. The PC I have cost £1500 to build, if I wanted to match that with a mac I would have to blow like £7000 on a Mac Pro.
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post

From a serious gamer who owns both pcs and macs, macs are pathetic at playing games. The PC I have cost £1500 to build, if I wanted to match that with a mac I would have to blow like £7000 on a Mac Pro.

I'm hoping Steve will look at the numbers and realize there's a market for a gamer Mac. As long as it comes headless, with a decent graphics card and price tag, I would buy one. I currently use a PC for gaming.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post

From a serious gamer who owns both pcs and macs, macs are pathetic at playing games. The PC I have cost £1500 to build, if I wanted to match that with a mac I would have to blow like £7000 on a Mac Pro.

I assume your PC has server-grade parts and heat sensors everywhere?

No?

So don't compare it.

Problem is, Apple doesn't have any computers with access to full-blown upgradable graphics other than the overkill Mac Pro.

That's why "Macs suck at games"

iPhone 4S 64GB, Black, soon to be sold in favor of a Nokia Lumia 920
Early 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4GHz, soon to be replaced with a Retina MacBook Pro, or an Asus U500

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iPhone 4S 64GB, Black, soon to be sold in favor of a Nokia Lumia 920
Early 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4GHz, soon to be replaced with a Retina MacBook Pro, or an Asus U500

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post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post

From a serious gamer who owns both pcs and macs, macs are pathetic at playing games. The PC I have cost £1500 to build, if I wanted to match that with a mac I would have to blow like £7000 on a Mac Pro.

How much will it cost you to buy a PC system equivalent to your self-build off the shelf?

Does your £1500 include the time spent researching and sourcing components, assembly, testing etc?
Does your self-build come with a warranty or support should it not work?
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

I assume your PC has server-grade parts and heat sensors everywhere?

No?

So don't compare it.

Problem is, Apple doesn't have any computers with access to full-blown upgradable graphics other than the overkill Mac Pro.

That's why "Macs suck at games"

He's not claiming that it does. He's saying that the 1,500 pound PC he built cannot be touched for gaming until you get to the fancy Mac Pro.

Marketing 101: no one gives a shit about features. It's benefits that matter.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post

From a serious gamer who owns both pcs and macs, macs are pathetic at playing games. The PC I have cost £1500 to build, if I wanted to match that with a mac I would have to blow like £7000 on a Mac Pro.

That's hard to believe without seeing specs and prices of both but I'm willing to be convinced .... convince me.
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See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post

From a serious gamer who owns both pcs and macs, macs are pathetic at playing games. The PC I have cost £1500 to build, if I wanted to match that with a mac I would have to blow like £7000 on a Mac Pro.

I am a serious gamer too, I belong to a clan (82ndAB) with a membership above 100+ members and played last season TCC League CoD4 bracket and we got to second place. I did pretty nice considering I run an "old" iMac with an ATI 2600 HD. I am aware and recognize that a newer machine with faster graphics could mean a lot of difference but at the end if you don't have skills is a waste of money.
I pwn on daily basis players from USA near to the server with rigs worth beyond 3500K with dual 5870's.

Maybe for single player on games like Bioshock, ARMA II, MW2 or the newest MOH that are eye candy is needed a very nice card. But I run all those games, have fun, get good scores.

My gaming screen name is <82ndAB>PVT.FrOg if anyone like tactical realism we play CoD2, CoD4, CoD5, ARMA II, Starcraft among other titles, and I am not the only one with a Mac. A lot from us that used to play on Game Ranger migrated there.

Have Fun!
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post

From a serious gamer who owns both pcs and macs, macs are pathetic at playing games. The PC I have cost £1500 to build, if I wanted to match that with a mac I would have to blow like £7000 on a Mac Pro.

Be that as it may it doesn't detract from my statement that Macs must be better than many make out. Not all games require that level of horse power.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daemonk View Post

I'm hoping Steve will look at the numbers and realize there's a market for a gamer Mac. As long as it comes headless, with a decent graphics card and price tag, I would buy one. I currently use a PC for gaming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post

From a serious gamer who owns both pcs and macs, macs are pathetic at playing games. The PC I have cost £1500 to build, if I wanted to match that with a mac I would have to blow like £7000 on a Mac Pro.

that is quite the exaggeration as far as spending money. I do realize a brand new iMac 27" is not going to be at a 'powerhouse' level of gaming, but if you really wanted something 'expandable' the Mac Pro is amazing as far as hardware is concerned... you don't need 8 or 12 cores for gaming, a quad-core is going to do the trick, upgrade to a 1GB radeon and you're set... and no you don't have to spend $10,000 to match PC.

The main issue is the gaming platform for mac, not the market for hardware.

Once they bridge that gap, I do believe there's a market for a general-moderate gamer, but to request one for a 'serious' gamer, I wouldn't hold your breath.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The latest survey found that a majority of Mac users -- 46.78 percent -- are on a MacBook Pro. Another 23.18 percent accessed Steam on an iMac, while 20.25 percent used a low-end MacBook. Rounding out the survey were the Mac Pro (5.41 percent) and Mac mini (3.44 percent).

A majority indicates a number that is more than half: >50%.

46.78% is a plurality, the largest subset of the group.

#proofreading

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post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by domerdel2 View Post

that is quite the exaggeration as far as spending money. I do realize a brand new iMac 27" is not going to be at a 'powerhouse' level of gaming, but if you really wanted something 'expandable' the Mac Pro is amazing as far as hardware is concerned... you don't need 8 or 12 cores for gaming, a quad-core is going to do the trick, upgrade to a 1GB radeon and you're set... and no you don't have to spend $10,000 to match PC.

The main issue is the gaming platform for mac, not the market for hardware.

Once they bridge that gap, I do believe there's a market for a general-moderate gamer, but to request one for a 'serious' gamer, I wouldn't hold your breath.

I agree. I also suspect the term 'serious gamer' is a self anointed title by many (not all, but many) that equates to a socially challenged teen with a DIY heap of crap. It's on par with the young guys that feel their hand painted black 1980 Honda with go faster exhaust, furry dice and airfoils makes them super cool. Except the latter to actually leave the basement . (ready to be flamed!)

On a serious note, XPlane is one nasty beast to try and run on high settings. Even my 8 core MacPro and a GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB chokes.
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post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

That's hard to believe without seeing specs and prices of both but I'm willing to be convinced .... convince me.

Well, I personally have a Macbook Pro, and use bootcamp to play games.

That's basically a Mac with the exact same specs and price as a computer running Windows...

And games in Windows do kick the games' ass on OSX.

In Steam, basically the only "heavy lifting" games available via steam are Civ 5 and Left 4 Dead 2, which both run about double the framerate when booting from windows. And neither of them approaches the Call of Duty series or Crysis games in terms of demands on the computer.

Windows accesses the NVidia graphics card much more deeply and effectively than OSX, and the Mac platform doesn't have anything that approaches DirectX 10 or 11 (or 8 or 9 for that matter), so the framework just isn't there for serious modern gaming.

Of course, it doesn't help that companies don't sink too many resources into the mac platform doesn't help, but Microsoft has made most developers' lives a lot easier and the platform more powerful via DirectX and being much more open with Windows' APIs. I mean, Valve is putting a bit of effort in, but their OSX version of HalfLife 2 (which is now about 7 years old on the windows platform) isn't nearly as good as some of the Wine ports made by the gameportingteam 4-5 years ago, which is just ridiculous.

There are also about 100x more PC games available on steam than Mac games, so trying to claim serious responsibility for the big increase in Steam sales is pretty retarded. The gaming industry has seen a huge shift towards online content delivery instead of people shopping for physical copies of games, and the fact that so many hit games like the Call of Duty series, Left for Dead, Borderlands, Civilization, etc etc are mainly bought for their online components, coupled with Steam's fantastic online support means that the platform has really taken off, and has basically taken over the industry (aside from Battle.Net).
post #16 of 29
For many of us, Macs (native—not Boot Camp) are FAR superior for games. Because games should be fun. And maintaining/securing/updating a Windows PC is the farthest thing from fun to many people. Ditto for building your own computer and thus providing your own service when something fails: an excellent cost-cutting measure, but one that carries a heavy price in time and aggravation.

(And I’m not alone in that, since it’s one of the key reasons to get a console! Which is indeed a nice option, if only I didn’t care about first-person shooters enough to demand a mouse.)

For gaming, give me a top-end iMac. It’s not the top-end graphics possible in the world (which very few people own anyway) but it’s excellent, and you get a great machine to game on AND use for the rest of your computing. Then resell it (they hold their value!) and buy another when you feel like it. Forget the anti-virus and troubleshooting costs that my Windows friends face over and over. You’ll be amazed how low your computer expenses are over time. (Not to mention, I priced out a Dell to match my next iMac and the Dell cost $1000 more when you look at ALL the specs without cherry-picking.) The myth of Macs being too expensive is just that.

Although no computer company can compete on price alone with something you make yourself. I do respect that option, but it’s not for most people. (And it generally leaves you without OS X!)
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiA View Post

How much will it cost you to buy a PC system equivalent to your self-build off the shelf?

Does your £1500 include the time spent researching and sourcing components, assembly, testing etc?
Does your self-build come with a warranty or support should it not work?

a 10 year old can build a nice computer in no time these days. takes a day to order parts from newegg. a few hours to put it together and install Windows 7

in the 1990's it was kind of an arcane art where you had compatibility problems all the time, but these days everything just works 95% of the time
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Using both I have to say this is the one area that Apple is far behind. Its not even remotely close. The new titles even titles that are a year old simply play much better on a PC and most aren't even available for the Mac.

However not everyone is into serious gaming and these days many of us including myself use a console and have move away from PC gaming to some degree.

There was a very interesting article here in AI last year about DirectX relating to this topic. The claim being MS basically hijacked the gaming market. Hopefully times will change and games soon will run just as well on OS X.
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post #19 of 29
The DIY build argument is pointless anyway. Even if you look at premium pre-built gaming PCs with support (e.g. Alienware), you can get a machine for $1500 to $2000 that'll be much better suited to gaming than a Mac Pro.

That's the niche that Apple should be hitting with a gaming PC. I don't care if they weld the case shut to prevent competition with the Mac Pro. As long as you can buy a decent spec for no more than a 20% premium over Dell.

Apple, I want to give you my moneys! Why oh why won't you sell me a gaming Mac?
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

a 10 year old can build a nice computer in no time these days. takes a day to order parts from newegg. a few hours to put it together and install Windows 7

in the 1990's it was kind of an arcane art where you had compatibility problems all the time, but these days everything just works 95% of the time

Yea, a ten year old can put it together, but can they choose and select decent parts and put it together well?

As for everything works 95% of the time, that's not been my experience putting my own systems together and not the experience of those on the Linux and Windows forums.
post #21 of 29
The biggest problem isn't the hardware, it's the fact that DirectX blows OpenGL away for games.

My 2010 15" MBP runs Team Fortress 2 fantastically under Windows 7 (60 fps+) but really struggles under OSX (10-20 fps, sometimes dropping further).
post #22 of 29
I bought the bundle of Left 4 Dead 2 and Left 4 Dead. Problem is, Left 4 Dead is PC only and is not supported on the Mac platform. It would have been nice if they told me this BEFORE I finalized the online purchase. When I contacted their support to return L4D, Steam told me that the price NOW for L4D2 is more than the bundle price, so they couldn't refund me for the game I can't play (nor sell or even give to someone else). Not a happy customer.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Though some of the growth in the last year is attributed to the Mac, Apple's hardware represents a relatively small share of the total users on Steam.

Personally, I'm not terribly surprised. The way Portal looked on my Macbook (which I freely admit I didn't buy as a gaming machine) was kinda sobering (not horrible, but also not as shiny as I had hoped), and most of the major releases seem to be Windows-only anyway. The initial rush (Orange Box, Civ 4 Collection at a decent price) was nice, but after that, I just didn't see the appeal beyond a few minor titles (like VVVVVV).

Sure, it's a lot better than NOT having those games, and I presume that it's going to be a lot more awesome with a better setup. But having now seen the Steam selection for Windows, I'm actually just tempted to build a <500 Euro PC for occasional gaming instead of waiting for a few scraps for my Macbook.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Turbo View Post

I bought the bundle of Left 4 Dead 2 and Left 4 Dead. Problem is, Left 4 Dead is PC only and is not supported on the Mac platform. It would have been nice if they told me this BEFORE I finalized the online purchase. When I contacted their support to return L4D, Steam told me that the price NOW for L4D2 is more than the bundle price, so they couldn't refund me for the game I can't play (nor sell or even give to someone else). Not a happy customer.

You mean this bundle? The one where it clearly shows the Windows-only icon next to "Left 4 Dead"? And the bundle itself only has the Windows icon in the shopping cart. So unless they drastically changed the way they display bundles, or if you took some drastically different route to buy it, you might need a pair of glasses =P
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChibiR View Post

Personally, I'm not terribly surprised. The way Portal looked on my Macbook (which I freely admit I didn't buy as a gaming machine) was kinda sobering (not horrible, but also not as shiny as I had hoped), and most of the major releases seem to be Windows-only anyway. The initial rush (Orange Box, Civ 4 Collection at a decent price) was nice, but after that, I just didn't see the appeal beyond a few minor titles (like VVVVVV).

Sure, it's a lot better than NOT having those games, and I presume that it's going to be a lot more awesome with a better setup. But having now seen the Steam selection for Windows, I'm actually just tempted to build a <500 Euro PC for occasional gaming instead of waiting for a few scraps for my Macbook.



You mean this bundle? The one where it clearly shows the Windows-only icon next to "Left 4 Dead"? And the bundle itself only has the Windows icon in the shopping cart. So unless they drastically changed the way they display bundles, or if you took some drastically different route to buy it, you might need a pair of glasses =P


Yeah, I wanted to buy some games as well but I ended up with just the free ones I got coupon for when upgrading my graphics card. The collection of Mac games on Steam is . . . . very poor. I wanted Mafia 2 so much but there is no Mac version so far. :-( So until they put decent games for OSX it will be just an online alternative to already available off shelf Mac versions.
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post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Well, I personally have a Macbook Pro, and use bootcamp to play games.
That's basically a Mac with the exact same specs and price as a computer running Windows...
And games in Windows do kick the games' ass on OSX.

Sorry, I guess I wasn't very clear on what I was looking for. What I was looking for was a reply to this specific partial quote : PC I have cost £1500 ...... to match that with a mac I would have to blow like £7000 ... that's the part I'm having trouble with. I have no problem with anyone saying that high end games suck on a mac ... altho' that is changing, Mac has never been known to be a gamer computer. What I do see 'tho is that the iPad is fast becoming a very popular gaming device ... not for the high end games so much, but just because it is so portable. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes down in a few years.
See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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post #26 of 29
You mean this bundle? The one where it clearly shows the Windows-only icon next to "Left 4 Dead"? And the bundle itself only has the Windows icon in the shopping cart. So unless they drastically changed the way they display bundles, or if you took some drastically different route to buy it, you might need a pair of glasses =P[/QUOTE]


1. No. That link takes me to a LOT more than the bundle I bought.

2. Yes, they do drastically change the bundles. That was there excuse for not returning my money. It was a one (possibly 2) day special I got from dealmac.com.

3. Yes, I do wear glasses. Sorry my vision isn't perfect.

4. Do you work for these guys or something?
post #27 of 29
If they get Civilization V and Total Annihilation 2, and some other newer games those numbers will probably spike quite a bit!

I'm hoping I won't have to dual boot into Windows for the above two games much longer! Civ V should be within the next couple of weeks. TA2 would be nice if it happened in that same time frame!
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

For many of us, Macs (nativenot Boot Camp) are FAR superior for games. Because games should be fun. And maintaining/securing/updating a Windows PC is the farthest thing from fun to many people. Ditto for building your own computer and thus providing your own service when something fails: an excellent cost-cutting measure, but one that carries a heavy price in time and aggravation.

I don't understand what you mean, I don't spend any time, maintaining/securing/updating my Windows PC, it does it all automatically, it isn't very hard.

Macs are terrible for games, steam is a brilliant example for this, why does the OSX version need specs so much higher than the Windows version? My iMac under Windows plays the steam games fine, under OSX I can't play any of them. Not very fun at all.

And why bother building you own PC, Dell sells PCs which are fine for gaming very cheap, just get one of them.
post #29 of 29
I think we all agree on some points here:

1. Apple needs to work on their drivers and Mac OS X to optimize it for gaming. That's very obvious when you play the same game on the same machine in Windows and Mac OS X.

2. Apple doesn't offer a Mac that is attractive for gamers. Gamers need a high end graphic cards and those consume power and generate a lot of heat. Now since Apple tries to build very small and slim computers, it is natural that their options for graphic cards are very limited.

That said, I don't think it is that big of a problem. I personally used a PC (C2D 3 GHz, GF 8800 GT) solely for gaming and a MacBook hooked up to a shared 20" display to do everything else. Two months ago I sold both, put in another 200,- and bought a 21,5" iMac (i3 3,2 GHZ, ATI 5670). The performance is about the same (faster in some games even) and while I can't play Crysis on maximum details, it's enough for 95 % of the games out there.
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