Steam on Mac!

I'm sensing a slight parody here. XD (Image by Valve Corporation)I think it goes without saying that I really love Steam. I wrote a little piece a while back on the pros and cons of digital distribution in regards to Steam, and I’m still finding it cheaper, faster and easier than anything else. On that note, Valve blessed us with another couple of huge additions to Steam this week…

Steam now has a Mac client, all Source engine games (and some third party ones) are being ported to it, and it’s free for PC users who already own the games. :D (And just to be super-awesome, they made Portal free for a limited time to celebrate. XD)

Just to put it out there, I don’t think mere words can cover how truly epic this is. This is a pretty epic thing. XD

When it comes to PC gaming, Macs usually aren’t the first things that come to mind. ^_^;
I was raised exclusively on Macs all throughout my childhood and school years, and I can really attest that the gaming experience on Macs compared to PCs is really horrible. :(

Normally, if you own a PC, there’s really never been any point at all to buy the same game on Mac. Before I bought my PC, I had a modest collection of Mac games (LucasArts Adventures, Total Annihilation, Elite Force), and since I bought my PC, I had to pretty much re-buy all of those games. Some games have hybrid capacity (Blizzard are an extremely awesome example of this), but it’s something I learnt not to count on, since only a very limited number of titles actually had it.
And now that I own a PC, the cost of buying a Mac with the same gaming performance would be so high, I’d never warrant buying a Mac as a dedicated gaming machine and then buying the specific game versions for it.

But with Steam on the Mac as well now, that might actually change. :)

This new concept of instantly buying both Mac and PC versions of games on Steam is insanely cool. I have a lot of games in my account that don’t require epic hardware to run, and now suddenly being able to load those ones onto my Mac without having to switch to Boot Camp is reeeally convenient. Steam was basically the reason why I installed Windows/Boot Camp on my Mac, so this may be the tipping point for me to uninstall it.

I’m also wondering what this could potentially mean for game developers out there. Suddenly a way easier system has been set up to allow distribution of both Mac and PC versions of games that gamers would be interested in. It may even show a shift in game development technologies being employed to allow easier portability (ie, more people might start going for OpenGL over Direct3D)

Either way, I’ve only had a quick play with it so far. I downloaded Torchlight and gave it a spin, and while it looked just as good as my PC, sadly my Steam Cloud save-game didn’t load up. I’m wondering if this was a one off event, or if it actually means that Mac and PC games can’t share save-game files. I guess we’ll see.

I’m hoping more third part companies jump on board with this too. There are a lot of games on Steam with Mac versions that haven’t actually put their Mac version up there yet. Hopefully this is just a matter of time. :)

Either way, I just have to say. Valve is definitely my most favourite game company of all time. They’ve done great services for the gaming industry as a whole, and just keep going out of their way to do even more. Thanks a lot Valve! :D