The good folks at GameAgent are running a three-part series on the state of Mac gaming. In the first piece, they’re interviewed Aspyr Media’s VP of Publishing, Elizabeth Howard on the subject of “content acquisition.”
Howard mentions two issues that dramatically affecting Mac gaming and which titles are available on the Mac: 1.) Mac App Store policies and 2.) Apple’s poor OpenGL support:
GA: What other challenges might you encounter when trying to bring new games to the Mac?
EH: There are lots of challenges! The technology in a game could be prohibitive, specifically in supporting the Mac App Store; publishers may not want their game on the Mac or be motivated to support the Mac; there are hurdles present in the hardware and software itself, and Apple’s bug resolution process can take a long time.
GA: You mention Apple, and as the platform holder, they must play a significant role (whether directly or indirectly) in your negotiations. Can you elaborate on how Apple makes (or can make) it easier or harder to publish new content?
EH: I think the Mac App Store is hurt by the choices Apple has made in how content is sold. For a majority of gaming products, and even with some productivity products, the only option on the Mac App Store is to deliver a sub-par experience of what is being sold elsewhere. For a new Mac customer who might not know a lot about the Mac, I think this is a bad user experience; and while on one hand the Mac App Store offers the Apple experience of easy downloads, saved purchases to an iTunes account, etc, it also often prohibits users from getting the BEST experience possible on the Mac. Aspyr will be differentiating content much more on the Mac App Store in coming months because of this difference.
GA: What other ways does Apple influence the game selection and licensing process?
EH: Apple’s support of OpenGL has the opportunity to truly hurt or help gaming. Right now Apple is on OpenGL 4.1 with Mavericks. The gaming world has moved to 4.3 and above, and more attention is being put on utilizing OpenGL. Ultimately if Apple continues to move more slowly than the industry as a whole it will affect the content we can bring over.
Mac Gaming: Still Second Class
Mac gaming has improved so much in recent years with many A-list games coming to the platform. Some, like just announced Elder Scrolls ($80), launch day and date alongside the PC version, which is awesome.
Still, the latest Call of Duty game, PAYDAY 2 and recently released Titanfall are all missing in action.
As noted by Aspyr’s However, Apple’s restrictive Mac App Store policies and laggard OpenGL support (ie Mavericks only supports v4.1 while the industry has moved on to v4.3 or later) hold Mac gaming back.
Sigh. Mac gaming, we’ve come so far…
What’s your take?