Interview: "no evidence" Apple understands gaming

in General Discussion edited January 2014
On the eve of releasing his latest game, Valve Software co-founder Gabe Newell has revealed his team's repeated frustrations in convincing Apple that gaming is equally as important to consumers as editing home movies.

Gaming news site Kikizo learned of the Mac maker's apparent sluggishness in an interview in which Newell acknowledged that Valve had approached Apple to encourage game-friendly development but rarely achieved any results. In spite of enjoying initial cooperation from Apple, the team behind Half-Life 2 and other titles encountered what it said was only a half-hearted attempt to address game developer requests.

"We have this pattern with Apple, where we meet with them, people there go 'wow, gaming is incredibly important, we should do something with gaming,'" Newell said. "And then we'll say, 'OK, here are three things you could do to make that better,' and then they say OK, and then we never see them again. And then a year later, a new group of people show up, who apparently have no idea that the last group of people were there, and never follow through on anything. So, they seem to think that they want to do gaming, but there's never any follow through on any of the things they say they're going to do."

The pattern has been a staple of Apple's approach for several years, the Valve chief said.

Apple has frequently had a problematic relationship with game developers, which have often either refused to write Mac versions or else have converted existing Windows versions, some of which take months to reach the Mac platform. While a small group of major developers such as Blizzard and id Software continue to create native Mac software, others have been lured away by promises of a larger user base and easier development with either game consoles or Windows PCs.

Many veteran Mac users will often cite the example of game developer Bungie, which had developed many Mac-only or Mac-first games during the 1990s. Apple chief Steve Jobs famously touted the software house as an example of the Mac's gaming prowess during his Macworld New York 1999 keynote speech, showing an early version of Halo -- only to watch Microsoft purchase Bungie a year later and limit the Mac version of Halo to a third-party port, which arrived in late 2003.

And while Apple's switch to Intel processors has streamlined development and encouraged EA to return to the Mac, there was "no evidence" to suggest that even the simplest plans for game development registered in the Cupertino firm's mindset, according to Newell. While Apple has primarily focused its home user efforts on the iLife creative suite, the Valve frontman argued that the company should devote much more attention to gamers if it hoped to attract more Windows converts.

Games are "one of the biggest things holding them back in the consumer space," he said. "If you look at a Macintosh right now, it does a lot of things really well compared to a Vista PC, but there are no games. Why, I don't know. If I were a Macintosh product manager, it would be pretty high on my list."


  • Reply 1 of 192

    Might want to work on that, Steve.
  • Reply 2 of 192
    mrpiddlymrpiddly Posts: 406member

    ok, game applies to any possible type of game, not just video games. Board game, fully online game, and other game in general make up a large part of the search.

    this was entertaining though (along with the zune scene stats which have been steadily going down for the past year).

    oh and anyone know what valve wanted apple to improve?
  • Reply 3 of 192
    able-xable-x Posts: 12member
    I'd imagine part of it is the underpowered video cards in mac mini's/imac's. Playing newer games requires quite the beefy videocard, and most integrated chipsets don't do too hot with them.
  • Reply 4 of 192
    desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    yeah, i want games on my mac... and NEON and chrome and spinners and a little lcd on the tower to run my itunes visualizer. and a plexiglass panel on my case to see the two $800 graphics cards i've got sucking 1400 watts of power, and a digital readout of processor temp, and five optical drive bays. i want - no i don't want chrome, i want plastic that LOOKS like chrome. yeah, and a blacklight instead of neon. OHHH, and make my computer look like an ALIEN! 1337 PWN4G3! YEAH, and give me a 96,000 dpi laser mouse with 37 buttons and four scroll wheels on it FTW!

    come on apple, why can't i customize your industrial design?

    i don't care about games stick with what you're doing 10x better than anyone else.
  • Reply 5 of 192
    mrpiddlymrpiddly Posts: 406member
    If microsoft ever moved past their 80s technology, yes im talking about bios, then most video cards would be made with efi. That would help some

  • Reply 6 of 192
    wasn't this posted like a week ago???
  • Reply 7 of 192
    mimicmimic Posts: 72member
    I don't care if they are purchasing a computer for their digital life, when I suggest a Mac, they ask what games comes with it.

    I'm not talking one or two people, but every single one i try to switch over. Now these are all home users, so Apple does have some options for them. But when i talk to gamers! I get laughed at

    Hard to understand that the smartest OS on the planet can't play the big games well.
  • Reply 8 of 192
    what does the BIOS have to do with gaming on a mac?
  • Reply 9 of 192
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    Originally Posted by rickertb View Post

    what does the BIOS have to do with gaming on a mac?

    Graphics card support.

    I'd very much like to not having to pay for Vista or XP to run the Orange Box, thank you Mr. Jobs.

  • Reply 10 of 192
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Maybe why we don't see Apple putting resouces making the Mac platform an awesome game platform is because Jobs is not a gamer himself. He enjoys his music and video media but games just aren't his deal.
  • Reply 11 of 192

    Very true that it refers to all types of games.

    Just for laughs.

    Only M$ products even register.

    Before flaming: I own a XP laptop, a XP desktop and a Xbox 360
  • Reply 12 of 192
    alanskyalansky Posts: 235member
    Personally, I'm glad that Apple doesn't waste resources on games. Talk about least common denominator! To each his own.
  • Reply 13 of 192
    well, it's going to be a long time before apple wakes from those fake surveys that suggest the mac platform is growing. not it is not, ilife is just not a market driver at all, every windows and linux can do what iLife does, sometimes even better. how much does the average folk spend on iLife anyhow? i just play music on itunes, and sort my photographs once every few months. my ibookG4 is prolly going to be the 1st and only mac i'll own for a long, long time.
  • Reply 14 of 192
    pmcdpmcd Posts: 396member
    The Mac has rarely been a platform to game on and it never will be. There is no reason at this point to even try and keep up in the gaming arena. For the most part gaming has moved on to game consoles (xbox, ps(), etc...) so that a Mac user isn't really missing much. There is a minority segment of gamers who need the latest and greatest video. For this you need a more open hardware platform where you can add multiple graphics' cards, change motherboards, etc... This is clearly not the Mac and never will be. Buying a tower Mac at this point to try to get mediocre high-end gaming graphics doesn't make any sense. So that segment of the gaming community is lost to Mac's. It's really not a big deal as the variations on killing games is hardly what many if not most people want (which is why Nintendo's latest console is number one at this point).

    Apple is on the right track. Forget about high-end killing games. Put out a platform that can handle family friendly entertainment and keep tying th platform into a variety of neat portable devices (iPod, iPhone,etc...). That is where the market is for computers. Extreme gamers just have to accept it. The Mac isn't for them.

  • Reply 15 of 192
    IIRC, PC games are a very small percentage of total game sales. So, although certain people like to complain about the limited availability of games for OS X, the fact remains that most people don't care. If you want to run a lot of games on your Mac, just dual boot. Problem solved.
  • Reply 16 of 192
    As a former pc gamer and alienware pc (high end gaming computer) owner. I see this whole article as a bit misguided really. One thing the article fails to mention is the near collapse of pc games in the market place. Over the last 5 years or so, shelf space in retail stores from EB to Best Buy has shrunk more and more. The future of the $ in the gaming market is in the console games. My friends that still actively persue PC gaming all also have an xbox 360 to suppliment the pc and are paying increasingly high video card/system upgrade costs to have an increasingly small number of titles available to them.

    The article mentions Blizzard, id and EA as companies lured back/still working with apple, short of that, who is left really? I guess as a fan of bioware and some of the licenses they own, that'd be nice, but if I remember correctly NeverWinter Nights ultimately got ported to the mac.

    I guess just to have a "complete" machine, I'd like some games to run on my macbook, but the way I see it - that's what the consoles are for nowadays. Lot cheaper and have a longer lifecycle than the latest nvidia chipset.
  • Reply 17 of 192
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

    Maybe why we don't see Apple putting resouces making the Mac platform an awesome game platform is because Jobs is not a gamer himself. He enjoys his music and video media but games just aren't his deal.

    That's great if Jobs is going to be the sole consumer of Apple computers, but not so great for the real world where people would like to be able to do what the things they enjoy with their computers. As someone who likes games, my next computer purchase will probably be back to the Windows side.

    Someone made the comment on another thread that they thought Jobs would close off Apple computers just like iPods and iPhones if he could and I honestly believe he might. He seems like he's trying to create his own computer ecosystem anyhow. With iLife, iWork, the pro apps trying to cut out the need for Adobe. The iTunes/iPod/iPhone/AppleTV chain. Honestly, Apple only makes one open computer (the Mac Pro) and as the name and price both imply, it's not really designed for the home market.

    Sorry, organizing photos and making YouTube videos isn't my idea of a great time. But that sort of seems like what Jobs has in mind for the Mac.

    I've wondered if one of the first seminars new Apple employees are given is entitled, "Your opinion matters. Just as long as it's the same as Steve Jobs."
  • Reply 18 of 192
    Avie Tevanian was not interested in games when he was with the company and running the software side. I don't know if that culture has changed at all. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple has written off games as something best handled by specialized hardware -- be it an Xbox, PS3, Wii, or tricked-out Windows box. They may also see games as appealing to an audience smaller than the typical consumer. While some are hesitant to switch because of game availability, they may believe that number to be small. Their embrace of games on the iPod is a bit weird.
  • Reply 19 of 192
    s10s10 Posts: 107member
    -The % of people that would buy a Mac for gaming, if titles were available doesn't make up for the amount of money that need to be spend in order to make Mac games.

    -There is no need for yet another gaming platform.
  • Reply 20 of 192
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Originally Posted by alansky View Post

    Personally, I'm glad that Apple doesn't waste resources on games. Talk about least common denominator! To each his own.

    As a a non-gamer I could care less. I play Chess on my Mac and Suduko on websites and Crosswords in the paper. Not exactly something you need a great video card for.

    However, as a shareholder I can how adding better video cards and beating out comparable games in frames-per-second or what ahve you would have bring over more switchers since that seems to be the most important thing to these people and I know many people whose lives are entrenched in WoW. Some to the point of losing girlfriends and leading to divorces. Is it really that addictive?
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