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Why are Mac people always the last to be asked to dance? Is it our turn now?
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Spike
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March 4, 2010 - 4:09 pm
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It appears that Steam is really coming to the Mac.  Irrelevant to those of us who run Windows on our Macs, but a good sign nonetheless.  But it might be a good way for us to get some of the games we can't get easily otherwise.

I especially like the  "...and I'm a PC." image.

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/.....s-for-mac/


[Image Can Not Be Found] [Image Can Not Be Found]

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Steerpike
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March 8, 2010 - 9:27 am
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It's good of Valve to do this. With Steam being such a huge provider, it's likely that other developers/publishers will look seriously at doing native Mac ports of more games.

Valve's advertising cracks me up.  "I hate normal." heh heh.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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geggis
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March 8, 2010 - 10:24 am
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"Why are Mac people always the last to be asked to dance?"

Because it's your house and you're DJing!

I think this could be huge for gaming because the one reason the PC market is such a pain is the unstandardised hardware. Apple machines are standardised somewhat, are apparently easier to use (though as a PC and Mac user I think it's horses for courses) and they are part of the Apple family of popular consumer commodities so will intergrate well with existing customers. The standardised hardware would make developement, troubleshooting and purchasing a lot easier. It could become the new PC gaming platform *shivers*

"I hate normal"? Which ad is that from?

Scout
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March 8, 2010 - 11:20 am
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Didn't Jobs once say that gaming for Mac was not really a priority? Or is that an urban myth I've come to believe to be a fact?

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Steerpike
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March 8, 2010 - 1:00 pm
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He's on record as feeling that games are pointless wastes of time. So it wouldn't surprise me.

Gregg, the "I hate normal" is from Francis of L4D fame - he hates everything. "I hate vans." "I hate small towns." etc. They replaced one of his buttons with an apple logo.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Mat
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March 8, 2010 - 1:10 pm
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I'd be interested to hear Jobs' views on gaming post-iPhone/iPod Touch..

Regarding Steam on Mac, there are literally no downsides to this, really. I also hear Valve are working on bringing the majority of their existing catalogue to Mac too, including the upcoming Portal 2, which would be lovely. Currently my only experience of Team Fortress 2 is the frankly hideous Xbox 360 balls up so.. would be nice to see what all the fuss is about there!

Hopefully the presence of Steam alone will go some considerable way to spurring other companies onto producing for Mac. PC gaming is never going to be my primary gaming source I don't think.. although there are afew games I'd love to have the option to try. 

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Spike
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March 8, 2010 - 1:42 pm
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Mat (Welcome to the Forum), in a change of heart (Or something.  Maybe "the horse is out of the barn" thinking.), Apple really touted the 3rd gen iPod Touch as a gaming device.  The users have been scarfing up games like crazy, so Jobs got on the wagon.  I've loved both my Touches and yes, games are part of that love.

I'm playing Fallout 3 on my Intel Mac in XP Pro.  The game generally runs well, but every couple of days I can count on freezes and/or crashes that I assume occur because there is some very minor incompatibility, or communication problem, between Mac and its hardware and XP.  And the freezes/crashes don't always come at a point in the game where much flashy or loud stuff is happening, so I assume it isn't that my graphics and sound cards are less than adequate for the game.  It's just that OSX/bootcamp and XP can't always play well together.

So having said that, it will be interesting for me to be able to play some of the big Windows-only games on the Mac side.  I have a feeling that I will have fewer incompatibility problems.  I don't like the idea of downloaded games (no hard copy to lend or trade) but in some cases my playing experience might be less glitchy.  A good thing.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Mat
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March 8, 2010 - 1:53 pm
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Cheers for the warm welcome, Spike :)

To be honest I'm something of a fan of digital distribution. Being a predominately console player though, I often get incredibly frustrated by Microsoft and Sony's inability to work out a decent solution for DD. The 360's "Games on Demand" service is OK if you're a fan of 1+ year old games at twice the high street pre-owned value, and Microsoft can sit there and tell us digital distribution is the future until they go blue in the face, but until they lower the price of their Hard Drives to an even competitive rate it's all hot air. The PSP Go is the physical embodiment of what Sony know about digital distribution (read: very little).

I've been a long time, distant admirer of Steam for a while and have cast more than afew envious glances to their range of games, sales initiatives and general approach to digital distribution. Truth be told I've been waiting for this sort of news for a while, and now I know that it's happening, Valve have got me all excitable.

Infact,  I've just read that Counter-Strike is going to be one of the games Valve will be brining Mac compatibility to. That has got me all kinds of giddy, and officially ends my association with Modern Warfare 2 or any other online console FPS. 

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Spike
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March 8, 2010 - 2:32 pm
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Right up front I will admit that I don't have the foggiest idea how much it costs a publisher to print/package/ship a hard copy of a game.  I don't know how much it costs for the publisher to make the files available to a DL service, and then for that DL service to do whatever it needs to do to make the game ready for me, and to "send" it to me.  That said, my gut instinct tells me that if a hard copy of a game is $50, then I should be able to get the DL version for less than $50.  Except for older titles, special promotions or sales, that doesn't often happen, does it? 

Steerpike, or someone who knows the games industry:  assume 2 eagerly anticipated big budget games.  One is available as both hard copy and dlc.  The other only dlc.  Will the dlc-only sell more "copies" because they can't be passed around as can the hard copy?

My son, who loves Steam, would say "You're in the 21st century now, old lady."  At which point I'd give him a virtual ear-boxing and then agree with him.  So I bitch, but I'll be on board soon, I guess.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Steerpike
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March 8, 2010 - 3:32 pm
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Right now, you'll still see greater sales (usually) in titles that are released with both DL and hard copy format, just because many people are still more comfortable with retail buying. Plus it's just a wider avenue for sales - like having an anticipated TV show premiere on two nights instead of just one.

But we'll see that changing. The typical Steam contract is 25/75 - Valve takes 25% of sales off the top and the rest goes to the publisher, who shares with the developer as it sees fit.

A typical retail contract between developer and publisher is 12/88 - the publisher takes 88% of sales until costs have been paid, then sometimes (not always) increases the percentage that the developer receives. In certain cases, the developer will receive special bonuses for performance - an extra X% for a million copies sold, or what have you.

The thing is, Steam is a distribution platform, not a publisher. Publishers do more than just packaging and marketing; they fund the development of the game. It costs $10M+ (sometimes a LOT +) to make a top-shelf game these days, and the dev cycle can be between 18 and 36 months. Few developers have that kind of money lying around, so the publisher typically ponies up 85-100% of development costs, paying out across milestones. As such the publisher is assuming enormous risk should the game fail or be delayed. That's also why they take 88% off the top: they need to recoup their investment. In most instances no one sees any actual money until ROI is achieved.

Steam and other channels will change things enormously. It's made it possible for very small indie developers to make massively successful titles (World of Goo, for example); and since 2D Boy didn't have a publisher, it took the 75% of Steam sales. And Steam's wide reach exposed millions of players to a game that'd never have gotten traditional shelf space and that many would not otherwise have heard of.

Another thing to keep in mind with Steam is that Valve doesn't do things half-assed. Those Steam holiday sales? Very cunning. Often you'll see games that were $40-$60 marked down by 95% or more. Seems crazy, right? Yes, until you consider the data Valve's released indicating that sales of any given SKU increase by around 18,000% if the price is cut 75% or more. After all, who can resist Bioshock for $1.99? They and the dev/pubs see hella profits from those sales, and since Steam is always rotating sales, someone is always making out like a bandit.

Steam sales numbers refer to revenue, not unit. Thus when they released Psychonauts for $2 and it shot up to the #2 bestselling position on Steam, it's not that it was dominating in unit sales. It was the second highest-grossing game that week, despite being only two bucks. So based just on that, you can see the kind of sales power platforms like Steam wield. 

And of course it's only a matter of time before Steam starts funding development. There's just too much money in it for them to stay out of that game. The only question is whether it will stay part of Valve or whether the company will spin it off.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Spike
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March 8, 2010 - 4:01 pm
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Whew!  Thanks for the tutorial Steerpike.  I know more than I did.  When I mused as to differences between costs for hc vs. dl I was only considering printing, packaging and delivery.  Of course there are many other costs involved in the process.  Once all else is accounted for, it seems that the product that is delivered to me should cost me less if it is dl.  No physical packaging, no shipping (yes, Steam has some bit of overhead for that process).  But I could be wrong about that - server space ain't cheap.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Steerpike
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March 8, 2010 - 4:15 pm
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Steam probably could charge a lot less than boxed and still make a profit, but retailers typically bind all delivery mechanisms into contracts so the prices are the same at launch.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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March 8, 2010 - 9:03 pm
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Another plus of purchasing digitally on Steam is that you don't pay taxes. When you consider several factors that can be huge; especially for anyone like myself in Canada who would pay 13% tax on a game at retail. For comparison's sake on how much a difference that can make to someone like me, take for example: I decide to buy a new game for the Xbox 360 whose MSRP in USD is $59.99. That automatically makes it $69.99 here; add the provincial and federal sales tax and that's another 13% of the initial cost added on top. That game will cost me $78.84.

To consider the extreme opposite, let's say I really don't want to spend that much. My immediate best option is to consider, if it exists, the PC version which is automatically $10 cheaper. Add on top of that I have the option to make a purchase from an American digital distributor, like Valve Corp's Steam for another $10 less (to me, the canuck that is). Right there I've taken my $69.99 CAD console game and turned it into a $49.99 USD computer game, and you know the exchange rate of the day will be less than thirteen per cent sales tax. In fact, today that would amount to a final price of $51.42 CAD. That's a saving of $27.42.

Not as impactful for any American customers, but extremely so for myself.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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