Venerable game shop Valve has a number of big-hitting titles under its belt, as well as a clever game delivery and shopping service called Steam that is more or less an iTunes Store for the game world. Since the early days of Half Life, Mac users have been clamoring for Valve to bring its games to Apple's side of the playground. We've always been met with disappointment.
if you're seeking an answer as to why Valve just doesn't do Mac, gaming site Kikizo has posted an interview with Valve MD and co-founder Gabe Newell that provides an answer we've heard all too often from other frustrated game studios. While the interview is primarily about a new Half Life 2 release, some of Kikizo's first questions relate to the Mac and why Valve hasn't opened the door yet.
The summarized answer we've heard time and time again? Apple just doesn't seem to take gaming seriously. Newell mentions meeting with Apple on various occasions to discuss gaming on the Mac and get a few balls rolling, but Apple never follows through. Due to regime changes at Apple and a perceived lack of enthusiasm for the gaming industry as a whole, Valve claims that it keeps getting the cold shoulder from Apple. It has understandably lost interest in courting the company.
Unsurprisingly, Newell cites Apple's confusing stance on gaming as one of the key factors holding the company back in the consumer market. Sure, Mac market share has been consistently rising for a few years now and we're rooting for Mac gaming as much as we can. But even Apple's latest reaffirmation for Mac gaming by bringing major EA titles to the Mac feels more like a half-effort than a truly genuine initiative on both companies' parts.
I completely agree with Newell in that Apple isn't doing gamers any favors by flaking in and out of gaming, but I also see the lack of a customizable mid-range Mac that fits within the typical gamer's price range as another significant deterrent. A $2500 Mac Pro is designed for professional video studios and science labs crunching on terabytes of DNA—gamers need a tower more in line with the iMac's design and price that they can upgrade with a new video card every two weeks with each new game release. (I'm informed by our editor that this is known at Ars as the infamous "xMac.")
Why Apple isn't opening its doors to this flourishing industry and its typically high-paying customers is beyond me, and it's baffling homerun-slugging studios like Valve as well. While our hopes for the Mac gaming market remain… steady, it's looking more and more like we might have to keep Boot Camp and a Windows license around after all.