There’s an informative article on Cnet about the improving state of games for Mac users. More developers are making Mac titles, Macs can finally (sort of) use Steam, Macs can run PC programs fairly well via Boot Camp, the very popular iPads and iPhones restrict the software that can be run on them, Apple’s Mac App Store helps sell older titles that aren’t on the shelves anymore, Amazon’s got a new digital downloads store for Mac products, and most casual games run via web browsers. A quote:
When it launched for Mac, Valve included an option called “Steam Play” that gave buyers a dual-license to any game they bought so they could install and play it on both a PC and a Mac with Steam installed. At launch, there were just a handful of Steam Play-enabled apps. Since then it’s vaulted to 160 titles, with the company’s own software being released at the same time as their PC counterparts. The first new game to do that was Valve’s own Portal 2, which was released in late April.
The Steam client wasn’t the biggest part of the news, though; Valve also brought its Steamworks suite to Mac. This was the set of tools for game developers to add automatic game updates, copy protection, social networking, voice chat, micro-payments, and other features to their titles. Valve had offered these tools to PC game makers since 2008, but the fact that they weren’t on the Mac meant that a studio making use of those technologies, and that wanted to launch on both platforms would have to ditch those features on the Mac version.
We posted about a similar piece last year, and the comments summoned forth numerous Mac gamers to declare their long time allegiance to Blizzard, largely because Blizzard has been about the only major gaming studio to consistently produce Mac versions of their games. Blizzard is still doing that, but other companies are now joining them.
So, who is planning to play Diablo III on a Mac? Anecdotal evidence suggests that a majority of college students are using Mac laptops and/or iPads, and young people are more likely to be gamers. So while Macs only make up around 10% of the total computer market, I think Macs have to make up much more than one tenth of the computers in the hands of actual gamers.