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AppleInsider Comic: Steve Jobs and Gabe Newell talk Half-Life 2

post #1 of 49
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Apple recently met with Valve Software to discuss porting Valve's Half-Life 2 gaming title to the Mac. The two parties failed to reach an agreement, however, as Valve co-founder Gabe Newell reportedly demanded a whopping $1 million advance just to get started. Our Joel Watson takes a behind-the-scenes look at how the negotiations between Newell and Steve Jobs may have played out in this week's AppleInsider comic.



Joel Watson is the creator of the webcomic, HijiNKS Ensue. He'll be crafting new AppleInsider comics on a regular basis and welcomes your suggestions and comments at joel@appleinsider.com.

Last week's AppleInsider comic touched on the whole iPhone hacking/third-party application mess.
post #2 of 49
LOL, good comic... though I think they kinda made Steve look a bit strange and cross-eyed. \

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post #3 of 49
I don't believe Jobs has that much hair on his head any longer.
post #4 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

I don't believe Jobs has that much hair on his head any longer.

I agree, I think the head and facial hair growth should be about the same
post #5 of 49
In regards to the actual One Milllllion Dollars; I don't think that's much to ask for. Considering the popularity of Half-Life I'm sure they will sell well over a million copies for at least $35 bucks or more, that's at least $35 million right there. Not to mention that Apple itself has a pretty good history on shady business practices. So why are they so surprised when it's thrown back at them?
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post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by polvadis View Post

In regards to the actual One Milllllion Dollars; I don't think that's much to ask for. Considering the popularity of Half-Life I'm sure they will sell well over a million copies for at least $35 bucks or more, that's at least $35 million right there. No to mention that Apple itself has a pretty good history on shady business practices. So why are they so surprised when it's thrown back at them?

A million copies sold on the Mac side is a stretch. It sold 4-5 million copies on the PC side. There's maybe 5% as many Macs out there as there are PCs, and unfortunately a fair amount of those Macs have crappy integrated graphics, with no opportunity to upgrade, i.e. they wouldn't be able to run Half-Life 2, or wouldn't be able to run it well. \

So, you do the math. It wouldn't sell anywhere near a million copies on the Mac, though its possible it could still sell well enough to warrant the $1 million dollars.

One thing I'd like to add though is that $1 million dollars isn't really that much money in terms of game budgets anymore. There are games out there with $20-30 million dollar budgets now, after all.

.
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post #7 of 49
Unfortunately, we only ever hear bits and pieces of the arguments that these guys have. It's rarely black and white in any negotiation. While Valve probably did ask for a Million to begin the port, theres probably much more to it. I imagine it went something like:

Valve:
Your OS is incomplete. There is no "easy" way to port our heavily DirectX game to your platform. We need you to add these things to which have no equivalent in your Operating system.

"Hands a list of changes involving months of work and lots of recources"

Apple:
We have several other Game developers that have no problem porting there Software to our platform, or have only required us to make minor alterations. We see no need to make our software easier to port to.

Valve:
Fine. We'll need 1 Million Dollars to do the job you guys should already be doing.

Apple:
We'll pass.

Both probably have legitimate arguments, but both are also probably tight wads and unwilling to compromise.
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post #8 of 49
^^^ Good post.

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post #9 of 49
Sorry, not funny.

blazeoptimus pretty much summed up the reality of the situation.

Apple needs to step up to the plate and make the platform attractive to developers from a development and financial perspective.
post #10 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

Apple needs to step up to the plate and make the platform attractive to developers from a development and financial perspective.

Best post yet!
post #11 of 49
post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

Sorry, not funny.

blazeoptimus pretty much summed up the reality of the situation.

Apple needs to step up to the plate and make the platform attractive to developers from a development and financial perspective.

Apple certainly doesn't *need* to do squat. You might want them to do it. It might nice if they did it. But they certainly don't need to do it.

1. The vast majority of Mac users are never going to play anything beyond casual games. The only way to change that would be to invest huge resources to make the Mac a more popular game platform. They would even have to make a whole new Mac line. No serious hardcore gamer is even going to consider a platform with the limited upgradeability of the iMac or Mac Mini. The Mac Pro is fine but the expense is prohibitive. The benefits would not come anywhere near justifying the expense of such a strategy.

2. Number two, and far more importantly, Apple is selling almost as Many Macs as they can make already so there is no impetus at all to drastically change the current strategy.

Let's face it "PC" gaming is dead anyway. Dedicated consoles are just too good.
post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattjumbo View Post

Apple certainly doesn't *need* to do squat. You might want them to do it. It might nice if they did it. But they certainly don't need to do it.

1. The vast majority of Mac users are never going to play anything beyond casual games. The only way to change that would be to invest huge resources to make the Mac a more popular game platform. They would even have to make a whole new Mac line. No serious hardcore gamer is even going to consider a platform with the limited upgradeability of the iMac or Mac Mini. The Mac Pro is fine but the expense is prohibitive. The benefits would not come anywhere near justifying the expense of such a strategy.

2. Number two, and far more importantly, Apple is selling almost as Many Macs as they can make already so there is no impetus at all to drastically change the current strategy.

Let's face it "PC" gaming is dead anyway. Dedicated consoles are just too good.

World of Warcraft
post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by eAi View Post

World of Warcraft

Sick post.
post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattjumbo View Post

Let's face it "PC" gaming is dead anyway. Dedicated consoles are just too good.

PC gaming IS likely dead due to consoles but it's not because consoles are 'just too good.' Unfortunately, console users are like people with most technology. 'They' think their RAZR is as good as it gets.
The PS3 might be powerful right now but it's not upgradeable. Therefore, the PC will always be a 'better' gaming machine in terms of performance and graphics. And, it's time we all admitted it, assisted aiming on first person shooters is lame. Cross platform games (PC to X-box) have to be gimped on the console side to ensure those users are not entirely pwned (yes I said pwned). There is nothing NOTHING like actually aiming with a mouse and getting a kill instead of jerk-the-stick, not close enough, jerk, too far, jerk back to the start, firing one inch to the left of, and seeing the enemy go down. Now, if they ever add a mouse, keyboard combo to the PS3, things might change.

As to the comic. Was it the intention of AI to suggest that Steve Jobs really doesn't care about the issue of gaming on the Mac either? Both characters in the strip are shallow and don't really have a clue.
post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

A million copies sold on the Mac side is a stretch. It sold 4-5 million copies on the PC side. There's maybe 5% as many Macs out there as there are PCs, and unfortunately a fair amount of those Macs have crappy integrated graphics, with no opportunity to upgrade, i.e. they wouldn't be able to run Half-Life 2, or wouldn't be able to run it well. \

So, you do the math. It wouldn't sell anywhere near a million copies on the Mac, though its possible it could still sell well enough to warrant the $1 million dollars.

One thing I'd like to add though is that $1 million dollars isn't really that much money in terms of game budgets anymore. There are games out there with $20-30 million dollar budgets now, after all.

.

Exactly Half-Life 2 could probably only move 200k copies with the current state of mac gaming.

I like the idea of a comic though and look forward to more.

Quote:
Apple certainly doesn't *need* to do squat. You might want them to do it. It might nice if they did it. But they certainly don't need to do it.

1. The vast majority of Mac users are never going to play anything beyond casual games. The only way to change that would be to invest huge resources to make the Mac a more popular game platform. They would even have to make a whole new Mac line. No serious hardcore gamer is even going to consider a platform with the limited upgradeability of the iMac or Mac Mini. The Mac Pro is fine but the expense is prohibitive. The benefits would not come anywhere near justifying the expense of such a strategy.

2. Number two, and far more importantly, Apple is selling almost as Many Macs as they can make already so there is no impetus at all to drastically change the current strategy.

Let's face it "PC" gaming is dead anyway. Dedicated consoles are just too good.

You make a decent point but that doesn't mean they shouldn't open the market up. So what if they sell a lot of what they already make? With that attitude things like the iPhone wouldn't exist (We already sell a ton of iPods, we don't need a phone). They need to come out with more models and guess what they have been slowly. Things like the mac mini have shown apple is at least interested in testing new buyer demographics.

I still know tons of people with only 1 computer in the home, the only computer they could possibly buy to fit their needs is a mini or an imac and both of those scare a lot people, and I can't blame them. Like you yourself said upgradability is what scares people (including gamers) away. If they just had something like an xMac just that 1 extra model (flame on! ) could really help push gaming.

Quote:
World of Warcraft

Good point.
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post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicnac View Post

As to the comic. Was it the intention of AI to suggest that Steve Jobs really doesn't care about the issue of gaming on the Mac either? Both characters in the strip are shallow and don't really have a clue.

Dude... it's a comic, chill. Aren't you just the buzz kill.
post #18 of 49
These comics are really stupid, obvious, and not funny at all.

(No offense to the guy who made the comic).
post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duddits View Post

These comics are really stupid, obvious, and not funny at all.

(No offense to the guy who made the comic).

Except for that part where you offended him.
I think it's rather ridiculous they were asking Apple for $1 000 000 dollars to port THEIR game to the platform.
post #20 of 49
Reality check: If you want your games to be cross-platform (Windows, OS X, Linux) then you don't code in DirectX. You code in OpenGL and use OpenAL, etc., for parts that duplicate the Direct3D and other stuff does on Windows.
post #21 of 49
Personally, I thought this one was quite funny. I like how Steve has his cat take a shit in the money instead of paying for the game. It's SO over the top, that it's great!
post #22 of 49
As a cat owner, I love the expression on the cats face it's spot on!
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post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

LOL, good comic... though I think they kinda made Steve look a bit strange and cross-eyed. \

.

He is a bit strange.
post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicnac View Post

PC gaming IS likely dead due to consoles but it's not because consoles are 'just too good.' Unfortunately, console users are like people with most technology. 'They' think their RAZR is as good as it gets.
The PS3 might be powerful right now but it's not upgradeable. Therefore, the PC will always be a 'better' gaming machine in terms of performance and graphics.

Unfortunately, there's no sign of any widely supported PC gaming environment being designed to fit neatly into a living room environment, to be played with wireless controllers from 20 feet away from a 50 inch plasma display.

People who argue about the PCs' performance are just not getting it. This is a point that Mac users should especially understand - that as long as the platform can get the job done, the use environment is at least as important as performance.
post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by eAi View Post

World of Warcraft

If you think world of warcraft is any reason to say that computer games are superior to console games, you need to stop playing that damn game and go experience the real world.

</end rant>

Sorry to be rude but I have a roommate who is basically addicted to that game and it is probably one of the biggest wastes of time I have ever seen in my life.
post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by eAi View Post

World of Warcraft

It hasn't been until the most recent generation of consoles that networking has been a main feature. PCs (and macs) have a big head start in networking, but it's not going to be an advantage for long. Also, consider that Halo 3 sold 3.3 million copies in two weeks. Those kind of figures make Half Life's market seem pedestrian, and there are more Wii's than 360's to boot.
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post #27 of 49
I like AppleInsider, but honestly, this comic is really, I'm not sure why AppleInsider is wasting time with this stuff. Drawing is nice, and I know it is not easy, but I'll stick to JoyOfTech.com for now.

Making a separate AppleInsider article about the comic is, well, weird too.
post #28 of 49
The comic is decent, but I prefer the previous one. (linked in the story)
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post #29 of 49
Vulgar, but not funny or witty, in my honest opinion.

I see AppleInsider is trying to "build value" by adding on additional content. The Leopard articles are good, and do build up value, but this type of mediocre, vaguely-related content only serves to dilute your value. I hope AppleInsider doesn't become a repository for mediocre comics and off-topic articles.
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post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattjumbo View Post

Let's face it "PC" gaming is dead anyway.

That's not really true. The last I saw numbers, which I think was the last thread someone mentioned consoles, "PC" games had about 20% of the game market, games for the other devices the remaining 80%. Among that "other devices" were split among the DS, PSP, Wii, 360, PS2 (yes, still) and PS3, so I'd say that PC games still make up a respectable share of the game market, maybe not beating all the competing devices, but possibly close to the top.
post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

It hasn't been until the most recent generation of consoles that networking has been a main feature. PCs (and macs) have a big head start in networking, but it's not going to be an advantage for long. Also, consider that Halo 3 sold 3.3 million copies in two weeks.

3.3 million copies sold is some nice cheddar (about $200 million in revenue), but consider that World of Warcraft pulls down in excess of $1 billion in revenue EVERY YEAR. So this year's blockbuster console game is effectively dwarfed by the blockbuster PC/Mac game.

That's very impressive, and helps put the lie to the idea that PC gaming is dead. Some other big PC releases to watch for soon are Hellgate: London and StarCraft 2.

Edit: Oh, and Spore, of course. Though that one certainly is taking its sweet time being released.

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post #32 of 49
You miserable buggers.

It's just a comic strip.

Funny. I liked that. Comic shop owner from Simpsons side reference. There's probably a grain of truth in it.

I like that Appleinsider are adding value. As opposed to the past approach of half yearly updates.

Keep the comic strips coming. I liked it.

Lemon Bon Bon.

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WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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post #33 of 49
Valve. Wit their whining... If they wanted to go Mac, they could.

But similarly, I'd like Apple to have a coherant gaming strategy. A mid-tower, an aquired software house like Blizzard (big subsriber base...) and...a more visable communicate approach to games on their webside.

Still, at the rate the casual gaming market is growingand the rate Mac sales are growing...they'll get there by default...

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

3.3 million copies sold is some nice cheddar (about $200 million in revenue), but consider that World of Warcraft pulls down in excess of $1 billion in revenue EVERY YEAR. So this year's blockbuster console game is effectively dwarfed by the blockbuster PC/Mac game.

That's very impressive, and helps put the lie to the idea that PC gaming is dead. Some other big PC releases to watch for soon are Hellgate: London and StarCraft 2.

I think the point should be made that the PC is it's own thing and not dying or dead as the doomsayers suggest. It's share of the market has gone down a little bit, but it's sharing the market with four consoles and two handhelds. Console games doing well doesn't mean that the PC titles are doing badly.

Quote:
Edit: Oh, and Spore, of course. Though that one certainly is taking its sweet time being released.

Spore has been announced for the home consoles too.
post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazeoptimus View Post

Unfortunately, we only ever hear bits and pieces of the arguments that these guys have. It's rarely black and white in any negotiation. While Valve probably did ask for a Million to begin the port, theres probably much more to it. I imagine it went something like:

Valve:
Your OS is incomplete. There is no "easy" way to port our heavily DirectX game to your platform. We need you to add these things to which have no equivalent in your Operating system.

"Hands a list of changes involving months of work and lots of recources"

Apple:
We have several other Game developers that have no problem porting there Software to our platform, or have only required us to make minor alterations. We see no need to make our software easier to port to.

Valve:
Fine. We'll need 1 Million Dollars to do the job you guys should already be doing.

Apple:
We'll pass.

Both probably have legitimate arguments, but both are also probably tight wads and unwilling to compromise.

My sentiments exactly.
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post #36 of 49
Well, if we got HL2, we would probably have gotten Orange Box later, and any other of Valve's games. There goes that chance.
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post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazeoptimus View Post

Valve:
Fine. We'll need 1 Million Dollars to do the job you guys should already be doing.

Apple:
We'll pass.

Both probably have legitimate arguments, but both are also probably tight wads and unwilling to compromise.

Valve has sold over 20 million games in retail, and there are 13 million Steam accounts. It is clear that Valve will rather not have a port at all than have someone plop out a half-assed one and then spend the rest of the year looking at reviews, magazine headlines and blogs saying

Half-Life 2 (for Mac) disappoints all.

It's their reputation and big franchises at stake here. So they'd definitely see to it that the port turned out well, if there was one.

Why would Valve tie up some among their best technical people to make a beautiful and fast-running port happen, when they could have no risk and keep those people working to make the next engine and the next games for their current audience which is vastly bigger? The personnel to do this kind of work does not appear out of thin air, and you can't just hire some new ones off the street and expect results. They need to be absorbed into the company's technical ecosystem, which takes time, which again could be used for more directly profitable pursuits.

Remember, Steam and the latest Source engine running on the Mac means all the mods would be on the Mac too. Other games using unmodified or lightly modified Source would be almost certain to appear on the Mac through Steam, since it would cost them next to nothing to accomplish at that point.

$1 million is peanuts for Steam and Source on the Mac. Valve has no reason to "compromise".

Just for comparison... how cheap do you think one could get permission to make an official sequel to one of last year's most successful and well-liked movies? HL2 received many "Game of the Year" awards.
post #38 of 49
Don't make games with DirectX - use things that are cross-platform compatible such as OpenGL.
post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazeoptimus View Post

Unfortunately, we only ever hear bits and pieces of the arguments that these guys have. It's rarely black and white in any negotiation. While Valve probably did ask for a Million to begin the port, theres probably much more to it. I imagine it went something like:

Valve:
Your OS is incomplete. There is no "easy" way to port our heavily DirectX game to your platform. We need you to add these things to which have no equivalent in your Operating system.

"Hands a list of changes involving months of work and lots of recources"

Apple:
We have several other Game developers that have no problem porting there Software to our platform, or have only required us to make minor alterations. We see no need to make our software easier to port to.

Valve:
Fine. We'll need 1 Million Dollars to do the job you guys should already be doing.

Exactly what about the OS should Apple be doing to make the porting job easier? Making a DX implementation or making a DX wrapper to translate the calls to something Apple does (OpenGL, etc.) is probably going to make Apple a target for a lawsuit.
post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

3.3 million copies sold is some nice cheddar (about $200 million in revenue), but consider that World of Warcraft pulls down in excess of $1 billion in revenue EVERY YEAR. So this year's blockbuster console game is effectively dwarfed by the blockbuster PC/Mac game.

That's very impressive, and helps put the lie to the idea that PC gaming is dead. Some other big PC releases to watch for soon are Hellgate: London and StarCraft 2.

Edit: Oh, and Spore, of course. Though that one certainly is taking its sweet time being released.

I never doubted that PC gaming is a reasonably large market, but nonetheless it's very reasonable to expect future online games (like WoW) will be released for consoles. It seems like the console market is growing much faster than the PC game market, and in certain areas it definitely seems like the console market has taken over: the console is definitely the preferred format for shooter games like Halo, and this wasn't always the case.

I'm a bit confused, though, why there are people who are very defensive about PC gaming (not by any means pointing the finger). If the experience is the same (or close enough), does it really matter?
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