Valve, Apple worked closely to bring Steam to Mac

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
In anticipation of Monday's official announcement regarding Steam for Mac, AppleInsider spoke with John Cook, director of Steam development at Valve, about the process of porting the online gaming system to the Mac, and the role Apple played in its development.



Valve revealed that it would bring its games powered by the Source engine to the Mac, including Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2. Steam users who own games for the PC will be able to download and play the same games available on the Mac for free, and the new "Steam Play" feature will allow gamers on both Windows and Mac OS X to play online, with or against each other, regardless of their system.



Cook divulged further details on the forthcoming release of Steam for Mac in the Q&A, which follows in its entirety:



Can you share anything regarding timeframe for release, pricing of games, or performance requirements?



Cook: The Steam client and native implementations of our games will ship in April. We expect a number of third parties will release their games at the same time. Each game will have its own performance requirements in terms of CPUs, memory, and graphics and we expect they will be comparable to running on Windows. The Steam client itself is very lightweight.



The first game from Valve that will ship simultaneously on the Mac will be Portal 2 this holiday season. Our future games will ship simultaneously on the Mac.



Will existing Steam users have to re-purchase games for the Mac if they already own them for PC?



Cook: We are using a featured called "Steam Play" which will allow Mac gamers to play against PC gamers and -- for our games and any of our partners who are interested in using the feature -- be able to obtain any game they purchase on either system without the need to purchase two copies. So, for example, if you already own Left 4 Dead 2 on the PC you won't need to purchase it again for the Mac.



Have you been working with Apple, or received any help from them?



Cook: Yes, we've been working with them a bunch as we get more acquainted with their platform. They've been a great partner so far and we look forward to growing our relationship with them over time.







What prompted the decision to support the Mac after Valve has for years been outspoken about its frustration with Apple?



Cook: As an industry we are going through a transition of entertainment as a product to entertainment as a service. This places a bunch of requirements on the platforms - specifically being an open, high-quality Internet client. The recent announcement of Portal 2 that was done in cooperation with the Steam community is a good example of that. The Mac is a very attractive platform for entertainment as a service.



Any projections on what percentage of sales the Mac could represent?



Cook: OVER 1 MILLION DOLLARS! Our projections for Steam sales on the PC were horribly wrong. So, we'll just work diligently, skip the predictions (and embarrassment of guessing incorrectly), and see what happens. One thing for certain is that the Mac market will be a lot less of a mystery to the game industry as we add Mac hardware statistics to our ongoing hardware survey (store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/).



What do you think of Apple's choice of graphics hardware? How well does the company keep up with the latest graphics technology for games?



Cook: As we have extended Source, our game engine, to support OpenGL, we have been working with Apple and the GPU suppliers to make sure we take full advantage of their capabilities. We have also been giving them feedback on opportunities to extend OpenGL to better support our games as well as the third party games that will be coming. The hardware itself is very familiar to us. Obviously gamers and game developers want the absolute fastest graphics hardware and CPUs, which is why game machines have the highest ASP of any category.



Have the iPad or iPhone played any role in your decision to embrace the Mac? Any plans to release titles for those platforms?



Cook: Right now we're focused on the Mac desktop and notebook platforms.



For more, see AppleInsider's additional coverage:



Magazine confirms Steam gaming platform coming to Mac in May

Valve launches teaser campaign for new Mac version of Steam

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



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,353member
    So it sounds like this isn't just some WINE-ish port -- it sounds like they really did do a native Mac port. That's encouraging!
  • Reply 2 of 38
    str1f3str1f3 Posts: 573member
    I'll be on it as soon as it's released. I'm surprised they did a full port.



    P.S.: Seriously AI, can you please fix the linking for the iDevice optimized site? I'm getting tired of clicking on one story and going to another. This has been going on for a long time.
  • Reply 3 of 38
    cbswecbswe Posts: 116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    So it sounds like this isn't just some WINE-ish port -- it sounds like they really did do a native Mac port. That's encouraging!



    It definitely is _not_ a WINE-like port. It's a rewrite of the Source engine with OpenGL as a rasterisator instead of Direct 3D. Great news!
  • Reply 4 of 38
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,353member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cbswe View Post


    It definitely is _not_ a WINE-like port. It's a rewrite of the Source engine with OpenGL as a rasterisator instead of Direct 3D. Great news!



    Does the PS3 also use OpenGL? With Mac and PS3 sales both being much better than they used to be, I wonder if more developers might choose to do OpenGL versions of games....
  • Reply 5 of 38
    cbswecbswe Posts: 116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    Does the PS3 also use OpenGL? With Mac and PS3 sales both being much better than they used to be, I wonder if more developers might choose to do OpenGL versions of games....



    I think I read somewhere that nobody actually knows what rasterisator PS3 uses. It probably wouldn't be OpenGL.. Though I'm sure PS3 supports it..
  • Reply 6 of 38
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    Steampad. IT's coming to an iPad near you. Well, some games would work nicely.
  • Reply 7 of 38
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Is it really necessary to post 5 Valve stories a day?
  • Reply 8 of 38
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    Does the PS3 also use OpenGL? With Mac and PS3 sales both being much better than they used to be, I wonder if more developers might choose to do OpenGL versions of games....



    Yes, the PS3 uses OpenGL.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    w00masterw00master Posts: 101member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    Is it really necessary to post 5 Valve stories a day?



    Yes. Yes it is.







    w00master
  • Reply 10 of 38
    thespazthespaz Posts: 71member
    I wonder if this is why Apple has been adding more OpenGL support to Snow Leopard 10.6.3. If they've been working with Apple, then perhaps Apple is REALLY getting serious about marketing Macs as gaming machines as well. This would further close the gap between Macs and PCs. Why would someone buy a copy of Windows now if the Mac can handle most of the games now? This could be bad for Microsoft because more and more people are going to be able to switch to Apple.
  • Reply 11 of 38
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    I agree, a lack of gaming on the Mac is one of the Windows enthusiasts strongest arguments against Apple.



    It's significant as it shows a breaking of reliance on DirectX which allowed Microsoft the advantage of developer lock-in.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by w00master View Post


    Yes. Yes it is.







    w00master



  • Reply 12 of 38
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Yes, the PS3 uses OpenGL.



    As far as I know, the PS3 supports a version of OpenGL ES, but it's not the API most of its games are programmed to.
  • Reply 13 of 38
    cdyatescdyates Posts: 202member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thespaz View Post


    I wonder if this is why Apple has been adding more OpenGL support to Snow Leopard 10.6.3. If they've been working with Apple, then perhaps Apple is REALLY getting serious about marketing Macs as gaming machines as well. This would further close the gap between Macs and PCs. Why would someone buy a copy of Windows now if the Mac can handle most of the games now? This could be bad for Microsoft because more and more people are going to be able to switch to Apple.



    I doubt that this type of thing is going to drive any switching to mac. PC gamers still value being able to get a cheap box that can handle the latest games. It will allow people who bought a mac for other reasons to also play some of the best games without having to maintain a separate windows box.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    celemourncelemourn Posts: 769member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    I agree, a lack of gaming on the Mac is one of the Windows enthusiasts strongest arguments against Apple.



    It's significant as it shows a breaking of reliance on DirectX which allowed Microsoft the advantage of developer lock-in.



    It's also one of the Mac enthusiasts' strongest arguments against Apple.



    C
  • Reply 15 of 38
    celemourncelemourn Posts: 769member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cdyates View Post


    I doubt that this type of thing is going to drive any switching to mac. PC gamers still value being able to get a cheap box that can handle the latest games. It will allow people who bought a mac for other reasons to also play some of the best games without having to maintain a separate windows box.



    Or having to boot into windows.



    C
  • Reply 16 of 38
    cdyatescdyates Posts: 202member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Celemourn View Post


    It's also one of the Mac enthusiasts' strongest arguments against Apple.



    C



    well said.
  • Reply 17 of 38
    cdyatescdyates Posts: 202member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Celemourn View Post


    Or having to boot into windows.



    C



    Yep. I shoulda mentioned that ;-)
  • Reply 18 of 38
    jadamsjadams Posts: 20member
    It's going to be interting to see how the Macs with their lower performance GPUs running OpenGL will compare with higher performance PC GPUs running DirectX. My feeling is quite well. This is based on my experience running WoW on both PCs and Macs. A 24" iMac with the "upgraded" 7600GT GPU was happy to run at 1920x1200 with all eye-candy on. My daughter's PCs with a 7600GT struggled to run at 1440x900 with most eye candy turned on. My daughter would abandon her PC and use the Mac any time she was involved in raiding.



    I also have a 24" iMac with the ATI 2600 low end GPU in it. It plays WoW acceptably with low eye candy settings.



    My feeling is that Apple's OpenGL drivers take advantage of multicore CPUs as well as the GPU when rendering whereas DirectX doesn't.
  • Reply 19 of 38
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jadams View Post


    It's going to be interting to see how the Macs with their lower performance GPUs running OpenGL will compare with higher performance PC GPUs running DirectX. My feeling is quite well. This is based on my experience running WoW on both PCs and Macs. A 24" iMac with the "upgraded" 7600GT GPU was happy to run at 1920x1200 with all eye-candy on. My daughter's PCs with a 7600GT struggled to run at 1440x900 with most eye candy turned on. My daughter would abandon her PC and use the Mac any time she was involved in raiding.



    I also have a 24" iMac with the ATI 2600 low end GPU in it. It plays WoW acceptably with low eye candy settings.



    My feeling is that Apple's OpenGL drivers take advantage of multicore CPUs as well as the GPU when rendering whereas DirectX doesn't.



    DirectX is definitely capable of taking advantage of multi-core cpu and gpu's.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    blecchblecch Posts: 34member
    So, Steam blows, it's like malware, it starts up unbidden, tries to phone home, drives me nuts, etc., etc.;



    BUT.....



    You can play the PC games you bought on Steam on the Mac without having to re-purchase them?!!!!! That is awesome!!



    This is a beautiful thing, and something that every game developer should do. Many of us have a Mac with Boot Camp, and possibly a game PC as well; it's great to be able to play a game without rebooting your Mac (or using another machine), but the prospect of re-purchasing a game years later at full price just to play it on the Mac is ... unappealing to say the least.



    Congrats to Valve for doing the right thing for people who've already purchased the PC version of the game!



    An a native OpenGL port of their main game engine vs. using a Cider-like DirectX compatibility layer is likely to yield performance that is comparable to the Windows versions running via Boot Camp - also a very good thing!



    I also note that Telltale games has a similar deal - if you buy Monkey Island on-line, you get both the Mac and PC versions. And their game engine has been ported to the Mac, so they say that future games may see simultaneous release, and they are in the process of updating their back catalog, at which point you can download the Mac versions if you already bought the PC versions.



    Now if EA/BioWare would just let me download the Mac version of Dragon Age without purchasing it again (third time, really, since I already have the PC and PS3 versions), my life would be complete.
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