September 30, 2012 by Devin
My first real gaming computer is also the computer I have now. My Macbook Pro that I received as a graduation gift when I got out of high school was the first computer I ever had that could actually run a modern game. What I did not realize when I got this computer was that computer gaming would soon become my main form of gaming and that Mac gaming would receive a bit of a surge in popularity.
The Early Years
When I first got my Mac, there were not many options. The biggest developers for Mac were Blizzard, and I was not interested in paying a monthly subscription fee for a game. I loved playing Team Fortress 2, but the only way to play it was to open up Bootcamp. In addition, there was no centralized place to find games for Mac easily, not to mention that there were incredibly few Mac games out there. The ones that were out were either casual (which is not bad per se), old and overpriced, or World of Warcraft.
However, there was a small advantage in this lack of games, and that was that niche games became much more appealing to me. If a game was on Mac, it was instantly on my radar, which allowed me to find games that I would never have found otherwise. Granted, most of the time these games were not worth finding, but one game that did catch my interest was Savage 2. This game was one of those games that tries really hard to do a lot, to do the things that most gamers talk about but never see, and succeed mildly but honorably. Savage 2 was a multiplayer RTS/action game hybrid where two people were commanders who played the game like an RTS while the other gamers played the units on the battlefield. It even had DOTA-like elements before it became popular to do so. The game was a mild success but never seemed to catch a lot of the public eye, something sad because the game was really worth playing.
However, despite this good experience, Mac gaming was still pretty dry. It wasn’t until later that Mac gaming really took off.
Steam for Mac was released in 2010. For those that do not know about Steam, Steam is a digital download service that allows people to buy games incredibly cheap and download them straight to their hard drive without ever having to go to a store. It started out on PC when Half-Life 2 was released and has grown exponentially since then. So when it was released on Mac, it was kind of a big deal.
The most important part was that certain games bought through Steam for PC would be accessible on Mac and vice-versa. No more overpriced copies of games released years ago (well, for the most part…), and Valve promised to release their games for Mac and for PC at the same time. Macs had become much more popular in recent years, especially with college students, but no one, besides Blizzard, was really giving Mac gamers a chance. Steam felt like it was giving Mac gamers the treatment they deserved, and it was a brilliant move on Valve’s part. By releasing Steam, they became the center of Mac gaming, and their example encouraged others to do so as well. The Mac section of Steam has been… well, gaining steam ever since then with lots of publishers and developers putting major AAA titles there. Lucasarts and Ubisoft began releasing their games on Mac as well. Even despite the middling quality of some of these points (Splinter Cell: Conviction is like playing in molasses), the interest in gaming on Mac is only growing.
To the Future!
Steam set the groundwork for Mac gaming, and now others are starting to follow suit. Minecraft was on Mac before it was cool. Guild Wars 2’s Mac client is currently in beta. Planetside 2 is coming to Mac eventually as well. It was actually news when League of Legends didn’t come to Mac. Ubisoft’s push for converting games to Mac may be a sign that it will focus more on them in the future. While it is far from standard, more and more games are coming to Mac, either through Steam or otherwise, giving Mac gamers plenty to do.
And with Windows 8, there may be an even stronger push for Mac gaming. But that’s a blog post for another time…
So, are you a Mac gamer? Do you think Mac gaming has any future at all? Sound off in the comments below.