EA backtracking on claims of simultaneous Mac game releases

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Despite promises that it would release Mac versions of some high-profile games day-and-date with their Windows counterparts, Electronic Arts has conceded that at least some of these titles have been delayed.



The Mac OS X versions of two brand-new games, Madden NFL 08 and Tiger Woods 08, have been pushed back from their announced August releases to September or October, an EA representative told AppleInsider. The company, however, launched Madden NFL 08 for virtually every other platform on Tuesday.



When pressed for an explanation, the EA spokesperson said there were no definitive reasons available for the delay but alluded to a possible lack of experience with Mac development. This was possibly prompted in part by the company's years-long absence from the platform.



In speaking to AppleInsider, the spokesperson nonetheless claimed that four ports of previously released titles -- Battlefield 2142, Command and Conquer 3, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Need for Speed Carbon -- were already available in stores. As of press time, however, EA was unable to provide the name of a single store at which customers could purchase any of the titles.



A brief survey by AppleInsider of Apple's stores, as well as Amazon and several other leading online retailers, revealed that none had the games in stock while only a few outlets were offering pre-orders. Some online retailers known to carry Mac software, including Amazon, made no mention of the Mac version whatsoever while listing available copies for Windows and several video game consoles.



While EA has yet to address the contradictory reports, the absence of either new or old games on store shelves shows the game maker to have broken the promises made to Mac users at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, where EA's chief creative officer Bing Gordon said onstage that all six games would be available during the summer and that future multi-platform releases would be more closely in step with Windows versions.



The difficulties may stem from the publisher's use of TransGaming's Cider technology, which interprets Windows commands in real-time and is said to provide similar speed on Macs compared to native code. Before a Mac port can be released, the method requires that the Windows version already have been finished to ensure a consistent code base between the two versions; this simplifies the conversion process, but adds to the overall development time.



EA's theoretically quicker but potentially delay-prone approach to producing Mac-native games contrasts sharply with smaller but more focused development houses such as Epic Games and id Software, which have promised to write completely native code for upcoming games such as Rage that can be tested independently from other versions and is not held to any specific release schedule.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    THQ is under contractual obligation to produce it's games for Pixar (now part of Disney) movies in both Mac OS and Windows versions. I'm unsure, but it may even be for simultaneous release. I wonder what special technology, if any, they use. Also, I wonder if this agreement now covers games made for *any* Disney movie.



    Unfortunately, some store staff, e.g., several GameStops that I've visited, are unaware that the Windows version of the Ratatouille game also had the Mac OS version on the disk.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    I wonder if Bing finally got sober and someone told him what he said at WWDC.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    wallywally Posts: 211member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    I wonder if Bing finally got sober and someone told him what he said at WWDC.



    No joke, that guy looked completely hammered during the keynote.



    Anyhow - I personally wasn't looking forward to any of those games myself, but am disappointed as this will certainly disappoint a lot of other Mac gamers. All the more reason to give my $40-50 to ID - that guys seems like he's really for Mac gaming - not some cheasy-ass cider crap.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    wallywally Posts: 211member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ....EA's theoretically quicker but potentially delay-prone approach to producing Mac-native games contrasts sharply with smaller but more focused development houses such as Epic Games and id Software...



    Let's not forget the venerable Feral Interactive. I hear Colin McRae 2005 should be coming out any moment! I can't wait! And it's only 2 years after the PC version!



    Maybe Feral is helping EA with their Mac versions.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    Eh, compared to other release gaps between Windows and Mac versions, September or October really isn't that bad.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    I've seen at least some of the EA games (Harry Potter and C&C3) in the London Apple Store...
  • Reply 7 of 48
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,987member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wally View Post


    All the more reason to give my $40-50 to ID - that guys seems like he's really for Mac gaming - not some cheasy-ass cider crap.



    The guys at ID have always known how to do cross-platform development right. Doom is like a benchmark for porting to any platform (I believe it's already on the iPhone). It helps a lot when your company is run by people who have a real passion for technology and the developers don't have to file a lawsuit to get paid fairly.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lancaster View Post


    Eh, compared to other release gaps between Windows and Mac versions, September or October really isn't that bad.





    Yep, better than nothing too.
  • Reply 9 of 48
    Okay, big whoop. Nothing new here. Mac Games are late.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wally View Post


    All the more reason to give my $40-50 to ID - that guys seems like he's really for Mac gaming - not some cheasy-ass cider crap.



    Okay, maybe you don't know this, but Cider has granted several hobbyists to run PC-only games such as GTA and Oblivion... LINK.



    Fun stuff, no?



    -Clive
  • Reply 10 of 48
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,217moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lancaster View Post


    Eh, compared to other release gaps between Windows and Mac versions, September or October really isn't that bad.



    I disagree because this means different discs. If the PC version price drops because of large sales, I doubt the Mac version will. This means people will have to pay 2-4x the price of the PC version. No thanks, I'll just get the PC version, which the Mac version is anyway if they use Cider.



    If I was EA, I would have maintained the stance of no games ports until Apple start shipping higher quality GPUs with their machines, which is a reasonable stance.
  • Reply 11 of 48
    It doesnt matter because id teck 5/ rage look amazing. I mostly want then for the mod creation tools but the game should be fun too.
  • Reply 12 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    Okay, big whoop. Nothing new here. Mac Games are late.







    Okay, maybe you don't know this, but Cider has granted several hobbyists to run PC-only games such as GTA and Oblivion... LINK.



    Fun stuff, no?



    -Clive



    Thats interesting it would be hard to believe that either game can run on a Mac. Both of those are gpu intensive, even more so Oblivion, I sometimes have issues running that on my gaming pc wiht an 8800 card.



    Strickly my opinion, Macs have never really been gaming systems, they do just about everything else better than pc's other than gaming.
  • Reply 13 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by auxio View Post


    The guys at ID have always known how to do cross-platform development right. Doom is like a benchmark for porting to any platform (I believe it's already on the iPhone). It helps a lot when your company is run by people who have a real passion for technology and the developers don't have to file a lawsuit to get paid fairly.



    ID uses open gl for video other use DX
  • Reply 14 of 48
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,217moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    Okay, maybe you don't know this, but Cider has granted several hobbyists to run PC-only games such as GTA and Oblivion... LINK.



    Hmmm, I didn't see this coming. It seems there are already versions of GTA VC & SA, NFS: Most Wanted, Worms 3D, Another World, GTR2, Colin Mcrae 2005, Battlefield 2142, NFSU2, Far Cry and more online. This is what the Mac games community has been dying to see for years, a simple environment that runs the PC games that are already out. Needless to say, the GMAs are not well supported, though some people report success with them on some games.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by extremeskater


    Thats interesting it would be hard to believe that either game can run on a Mac. Both of those are gpu intensive, even more so Oblivion, I sometimes have issues running that on my gaming pc wiht an 8800 card.



    I've played Oblivion on an iMac under Bootcamp. It still plays and goes at a decent framerate even in outdoor settings but the quality isn't up very high.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrpiddly


    It doesnt matter because id teck 5/ rage look amazing.



    I just found an interesting article about that:



    http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3161743



    "Especially the Mac version. That didn't exist a month before the Worldwide Developer's Conference. [Robert Duffy] wanted to bring it up on a Mac and we started working on it. Then the Apple people were excited to hear about what we were doing. I told [Apple] that they need to fix a lot of driver issues first so on guy came in and literally camped out in my office for a week just to make sure that demo worked. Apple, though, isn't as big a market for gamers. It's not like someone's going to use Id Tech 5 to create a Mac game, but if you just click a check box and get a game out of it there's going to be more likelihood of them shipping it." Then, there's the next generation evolution of the texture engine. You get this wide variety of detail that you can paint into a canyon -- even going down to the individual pebbles. And none of this impacts the game's size, stability, resource utilization, shipping content or performance. "We've never had that before," says Carmack. "It's always been this trade-off of a tight balancing act: we want more textures but we have a finite budget so we have to take something big away elsewhere."



    Curiosity gets the better of me, as I wonder how different this is from, say, the texturing in Enemy Territory. The key, according to Carmack, is a paged virtual texture system. "The conventional way you do texture-swapping is say, 'OK, you've got 100 256 x 256 textures and we can keep maybe 20 of them in memory. So we'll try and figure out which ones we want to use and overwrite some of that.' Most games use that sort of system. But what if you want to use some enormous 2,000 by 2,000 resolution texture? If you need to knock down other texture details -- you need to compromise. Here, everything get chunked up into identical-sized pages. And the engine pieces it all together simultaneously.



    You can have these 64MB textures, but it's bringing them into the game in these tiny blocks at a time. And it make sure that at moments when you don't need some texture details, it schedules everything that is most necessary for image quality. So, for example, you might not have all the details in the world, but the second you stop moving, the engine loads in more textures and detail. Now you really make something look like a matte painting -- and it requires a whole lot let work to create."




    The technology is very interesting and I've always wondered why they didn't use this in more applications. If anyone has ever used a hex editor, you'll have seen that they will easily open files in the order of GBs instantly. This is because it only displays the current page. I think everything should do this - imagine if Pages or Word did this, there would be hardly any memory usage and they could open absolutely massive documents immediately.



    I highlighted the driver section because it's clear that Apple are having issues with their development. I think this is a very serious problem. What good is having a nice clean leopard system if your drivers are poor?
  • Reply 15 of 48
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I had some interest in Need For Speed: Carbon, but other games are coming along. Maybe I won't buy NFS.



    It will be a little bit absurd if Quake Wars reaches Mac before BF 2142. I certainly wouldn't rush to buy BF with QW coming soon to beat BF at its own game (expected in October or so--not long after the PC release).



    EA must be having some serious problems if July can turn into October!
  • Reply 16 of 48
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,408member
    Come on, EA deserves a little bit of a break here. They have been out of the mac gaming market for YEARS. So many years that the API's, Native Coding Language, and graphics libraries have completely changed. It's all a moot point though, because all they are doing is using Transgaming's Cider. Cider is still a bit buggy. Buggy enough that EA may have to wait for another update to produce these games. I know they are working WITH Transgaming to make this happen. Once these games start coming out, I'd expect them to be somewhat closer in release times in the future. It's not like Bing walked up on stage and said yah we're releasing games, and then they aren't going to release any. It would have been one thing if they were ready at the time. IMO they expected the transition to go smoother than it did... it could be Transgaming's fault more than EA's.



    If I have to wait till OCT, I'm fine with that. I'd rather it be done right the first time than have to apply a bunch of updates.
  • Reply 17 of 48
    People.



    There is a real reason for this and it may have nothing to do with technical matters.



    Peter Moore (the Xbox spearhead) is now president of EA.



    EA has been Microsoft happy for a little while anyway. It may also be why PS3 games from EA have no development put into them.



    It is very possibly the reason why the Mac games are delayed.



    the WWDC keynote was made before Moore left Xbox for EA. So that explains the sudden gain and loss of Mac enthusiasm for EA.



    As for Moore, he is still a die hard MS guy, so I would not be surprised to see things happen like Mac games come out, but be so inferior to the PC versions that EA will try to say :Well, only windows can handle such games", etc.. When it is clear that Macs are at least on par with PC's for this purpose from a hardware standpoint. As far as OS goes, Mac Os has superior graphics tools that can be put into games as well. I can't wait to see the fruits of the OpenGL push.



    I hate politics.
  • Reply 18 of 48
    jamesgjamesg Posts: 63member
    Blizzard seems to me to be the only company that does it right. And for the past few years there has always been a synchronous release with Mac and PC versions and patches.



    Cider may be a holy grail, but is as yet unproven.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,987member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    ID uses open gl for video other use DX



    Yup. I believe Carmack was/is part of the OpenGL ARB as well. Goes to show you what someone with a sharp mind and a passion for well architected software and cross-platform, open technologies can do. It's too bad there aren't more people like him in the industry.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    magic_almagic_al Posts: 325member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wally View Post


    Let's not forget the venerable Feral Interactive. I hear Colin McRae 2005 should be coming out any moment! I can't wait! And it's only 2 years after the PC version!



    Maybe Feral is helping EA with their Mac versions.



    I purchase for a software retailer and the distributor of Colin McRae for Mac has listed it for pre-order then de-listed it and cancelled my orders multiple times since 2005. I don't care about the game but I'm sure sick of screwing around with its status at work. They should go into WID mode and stop feeding the channel bogus street dates.
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