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Valve Confirms Mac Versions of Steam, Valve Games 541

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Gamasutra: "Valve will release a version of its Steam digital distribution service for Mac next month, along with Mac-native versions of its own games, the company confirmed today after days of hints — and owners of Valve games will have access to both platform versions. The Source engine, which Valve uses to develop all its internal titles and also licenses to third-party developers, will incorporate OpenGL in addition to DirectX, to allow Mac support for all Source developers. ... 'We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform, so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360,' said Cook. 'Updates for the Mac will be available simultaneously with the Windows updates.'"
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Valve Confirms Mac Versions of Steam, Valve Games

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  • PS3 not tier one? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:11PM (#31405348)

    Why is valve ignoring ps3?

  • by Andrioid ( 1755390 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:12PM (#31405372)
    Would be nice if they decided to release it for Linux as well, even though it might be a "tier-2" platform to them.
  • by TrisexualPuppy ( 976893 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:16PM (#31405444)
    And what does this mean for us Linux users? OSX and Linux are both Unix variants, a little difference in FreeBSD/Linux kernels, but not nearly the jump to port that it is for Windows. Discuss.
  • by EXTomar ( 78739 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:20PM (#31405496)

    Although getting Source on Mac is fine, Steam is the much bigger deal. Although I don't expect PC game developers to shift their production away from PC as their "first target platform", it does make it easier if one is also interested in distributing games on Mac. It doesn't matter the size of game developer, the Mac platform is a tough nut to crack due to scales of market shifted so far to the PC where an online one can help equalize. For instance, [i]World of Goo[/i] is an excellent game that works great on Mac but it must be hell to sell to just Mac owners. Your best bet in this situation for many publishers is to "combine distribute" the PC and Mac version on one disk which isn't totally efficient and desirable.

    With Steam this gets a lot simpler. You now have a marketplace that goes directly to Mac owners and they get a bunch of the bonus support of Steamworks like version updates and achievement systems. Source on Mac for some games but I really see Steam as the big deal here. Steam opens up a lot to game developers.

    And as a side though: Did Apple dropped a ball here where they could have used their gigantic online store to sell MacOS games? iTunes works great for updating games on iPhone and iPod...would it be so difficult to do the same for desktop games?

  • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:21PM (#31405524) Homepage

    The biggest objections to Apple's computers over the last few years have been a) The cost and b) no games available.

    The cost issue has become pretty meaningless to anyone who is willing to compare oranges to oranges: the cost of a Mac laptop or desktop with X features is pretty comparable to a Windows laptop or desktop with the same feature set, its just that usually the PC side has lower features by default and you can buy the components to raise the level of functionality, whereas Apple doesn't operate in the low end of the computer spectrum and even their base systems have great features and very high quality.

    With this change by Valve it will hopefully signify changes in the attitude of the rest of the games industry and Mac support will grow to the point that its treated as well as Microsoft's products with regards to gaming. I am perfectly content with my iMac 20" desktop for the gaming I am doing, and I would love to play more games under OS/X rather than dualbooting to XP.

    Lastly, if the Mac gains in acceptance, perhaps Linux will follow down the road. Having implemented all of this stuff for OS/X it can't be as far a stretch to include Linux as it was to make the original jump from Windows to OS/X (being a kind of unix after all)?

  • Re:OpenGL (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrugCheese ( 266151 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:38PM (#31405746)

    I've never had any trouble getting any Source games to run under linux, usually faster than then did under native windows.

  • by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:41PM (#31405794)

    Erm... Cocoa is for the UI layer, like toolbars, buttons etc., when did you ever see a standard toolbar in a game? Almost every game uses custom UI, so if steam games are using OpenGL(which is the only accelerated graphics API on the Mac), it should be easy to port it to Linux/BSD.

  • Mac.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NemosomeN ( 670035 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:44PM (#31405828) Journal
    It's not stated, but I assume by "Mac" he means "Intel Mac" and not "Intel and PPC Macs". Anyone know any different? (I have a PPC mac and never intend to buy another.)
  • Re:well no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OverZealous.com ( 721745 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:54PM (#31406020) Homepage

    two or three OS revisions (10.5 Leopard, 10.6 Snow Leopard and possibly 10.4 Tiger)

    Someone mentioned below that they are planning to support OpenCL (assuming they didn't mean simply OpenGL). If that is the case, I wonder if they will only support Snow Leopard. This provides several benefits:

    • Only one OS to worry about (for now).
    • Significantly limits the OS features that need to be supported, since Snow Leopard only runs on a subset of Macs. (i.e.: 64-bit support is required for Snow Leopard.)
    • Guarantees newer hardware (no issues with old computers running slowly).
    • And most importantly, guarantees Intel / i586 processors, seriously reducing the complexity of targeting PowerPC computers as well.

    If that is true, they will probably disappoint quite a few Mac users, who haven't upgraded for one reason or another.

    Of course, Apple will be happy about it... ;-)

  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:05PM (#31406208)

    Mac users are very willing to open up their wallets and pay for nearly anything.

    Linux users tend to rarely want to pay for anything. Even if install base may be similar (this ignore that most macs come equipped with above average graphic chips, while most Linux machines are cheap netbooks,) actual money market share is so insignificant for Linux that it's unlikely (albeit not impossible) anyone would spend much time porting commercial applications to the platform, specially software that must sell massive amount of copies at very low prices to actually make a profit. That's not to mention having to support software for so many different versions of Linux out there can be as taxing as porting for a whole new platform. A Linux steam would be forced to pick one Linux version to support and not spend resources on any other, limiting their market drastically.

    The reason there are not mainstream games being developed for Linux is not the difficulty of the port, it's the non-existing profitability of the market.

  • Re:well no (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:12PM (#31406348) Journal

    Apple hasn't sold a powerpc computer in roughly 4 years (2006). A decent number of programs no longer support powerpc at all (and this has been a growing problem for several years--I think it was the 2008 olympics that required Silverlight to stream, which didn't officially run on PowerPC). I think it's 100% safe to say there will be no powerpc support for Steam.

  • by theghost ( 156240 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:35PM (#31406812)

    It's not that they think no one wants them. It's that they know that not enough people want them for it to be profitable. You and your wife and the (relative) handful of other people who consist of the audience for Linux games aren't a significant market.

    Hell, the PS3 and the Wii don't even make the cut in Valve's book.

  • by olivierva ( 728829 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:29PM (#31408170) Homepage
    Since the iPad is also marketed as a gaming device I wouldn't be surprised if this is the first step towards releasing games on the ipad.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @10:16PM (#31409044)

    Well ok, not crap necessarily, but extremely different. The Cell processor is very unlike what you find in computers or the 360, so it takes a different set of skills to make good use of it.

    The 360 and the PC are essentially an identical development environment, despite the different CPUs. You do everything in Visual Studio and MS makes it extremely easy to go cross platform. So, makes sense there. The Mac is a different platform with different tools, but fundamentally it is the same hardware as a PC and things work in the same way. There are also tools, like OpenGL, that work on both. So while it might be more effort to add support for it than to add 360 support (for a Windows developer), shouldn't be too terribly bad.

    The PS3 though? Completely different dev tools AND a different architecture. Your programmers would have to learn a rather different way of doing things. Makes port costs higher. Couple that with the fact that the PS3 is the minority console and you can see why they might give it a miss.

    One thing people have to remember is that Valve does their own game engine. Many other companies license an engine, and that engine already supports multiple platforms. Unreal Engine 3, which is extremely popular, runs on the PC, 360 and PS3. Gamebryo, another popular one, runs on all those and the Wii too. Well this means less time for the game developers in terms of porting since some of the heavy lifting has already been done.

    Not so for Valve, Source is their own thing (well, it does have a bit of legacy form Quake 1 but not much). They have to do all the work in porting it. So, that means that all the problems with dealing with a PS3 fall on their shoulders.

    This might be worth it, if they made a lot of money on engine sales. That's why Epic ported UE3 to the consoles. They make their money on all the licenses of their engine. However Valve doesn't. When you look UE3 has around 150 games out or in development using it, all of 3 of those are from Epic (UT3, GoW 1 and 2). Looking at Source, you see that there's maybe 30 games, and around half are Valve's own. They do license their engine out, but it doesn't happen all that much. As a practical matter, Epic has superior tools and that makes Source a hard sell to 3rd party developers.

  • Re:So does Stardock (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brkello ( 642429 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @01:47AM (#31410320)
    I think it is encouraging how successful Blizzard and Steam's DRM are being perceived. Yeah, you are going to have die hards that will flip out against any DRM...but when they offer the amazing convenience and functionality, people will get on board.

    My friend was telling me how steam even can do file integrity checks on any Steam game file. If it detects corruptions, it will just update those files with the non-corrupt file and you are back on your way.
  • Re:Linux support (Score:2, Interesting)

    by losinggeneration ( 797436 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @02:45PM (#31429134) Homepage
    Well, for indie games that actually can't afford to not be multi-platform, Linux had pretty much the same amount of sales as Mac: http://2dboy.com/2009/10/26/pay-what-you-want-birthday-sale-wrap-up/ [2dboy.com]
    Also note this was a "name your own price" and if you go by how much Linux users on average paid/donated more for the game.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."