Steam vs App Store...

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by DieBeachballDie, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. DieBeachballDie macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2015
    I already see what seems a clear winner, but how exactly does Steam work? Can i pay with my iTunes account/credit? or is a credit card involved. I only want a couple games, i need a time waster for when my internet goes out, so thinking of Civ 4 Complete. Any reasons why this might not work? I like simple and quick.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 19, 2016 ---
    My main concern is about payment. I see nothing on their site about how i actually pay for anything.
  2. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    Steam is a separate platform that requires payment either by credit card or PayPal.

    iTunes credit can be used on software in the Mac App Store, but no place else (aside from iTunes, obviously).
  3. kaioshade macrumors regular


    Nov 24, 2010
    Steam also has the benefit of being cross platform. Most (if not all) games on steam for Mac also have windows versions. If you ever have a Windows machine down the line, any game you purchase on Steam for Mac will also give you the Windows version.
  4. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    Steam works the same way as any other store--you have to give them your credit/debit/gift card information. There's no way you could use your information in iTunes to pay Valve, Valve doesn't have access to Apple's user data.

    If you can't find out how to pay for games... I'm honestly really confused. Do you miss all the prominent 'buy' buttons? You do have to have a Steam account, and your games are tied to that email and username.
  5. Daisy81 Suspended


    Dec 29, 2015
    This is the primary reason I buy games through Steam over the OS X App Store.

    Another reason is that the multiplayer portion of the games on the OS X App Store tend to be broken.

    Overall I prefer Steam.
  6. Irishman, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016

    Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    Steam is, as others have said, cross-platform, which matters more for some than for others. It's not a concern for me, because I do all my gaming in OS X.

    If you're concerned about giving them your credit card, you don't have to. You can buy Steam cards in electronic and gaming retailers (in the US, I know that Best Buy sells them, for different values), then enter the card information into the Steam store to use it to buy a game.

    You do, of course, have to give them account information, but you choose which contact information to use, and as you're used to using Apple services, you probably know it's become de rigeur. The also offer something quite important in these days of electronic commerce - refunds. I've used it once so far, and it was quick and painless.

    I use both. I use Steam for most of my multiplayer games (because most are cross-platform and many more people are playing on Windows, OS X, and Steam OS combined than on OS X alone).

    For titles that are available on both the Mac App Store (MAS) and Steam, they tend to be cheaper on Steam - although that's not always true. Sometimes, a title is only available on one or the other - not both. I'm thinking of the first Borderlands game which is MAS only, due to the way that multiplayer is coded in the game.
  7. utterer macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2016
    Steam is a much better platform for game delivery and support on Mac than the built in Mac App Store but it is tied to an active DRM that checks for connectivity to Steam by default unless you prepare for "Offline Mode" prior to loss of internet where you live. If your internet goes out and you didn't set games up for Offline Mode (instructions here), you won't be able to launch games from Steam unless you prepare for it ahead of time. Despite this, I would still purchase any games for your Mac off of Steam as opposed to Mac App Store.
  8. DieBeachballDie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2015
    Okay then. I'm still a bit confused though. Am i not buying the game outright? Is it not mine and could i not use it anytime i want? I shouldn't need internet to play say, Civ against the computer. I have zero interest in online gaming/multiplayer/PvP stuff, etc. Also have zero interest in Windows or PC's. So i'd be good? Just want to clarify this.

    And also, if i can buy a Steam card and use it like an ITunes card i'm more than happy. Just pisses me off because i still have enough Apple credit to buy a couple games (which would keep me busy for years and years). The App Store has the games, but Steam has complete versions... which i like a lot better.
  9. bhonder macrumors member


    Feb 24, 2010
    Maybe you will not need a PC to play but steam embraces Linux too, which is good. Buy once, use everywhere.
  10. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    The Steam version of Civ requires Steam to play, but like others have said you can use offline mode. You don't need the internet to play. You can buy Steam cards in stores. I'm pretty sure the Mac version just doesn't have Mac/PC multiplayer, though, so if you don't care about that...

    The Steam version gets massively discounted all the time, though. Use isthereanydeal to track it. You can usually get the complete edition for $12.50.
  11. utterer macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2016
    In the world of digital downloads and software licenses, no one owns their software anymore in the technical sense. You still own it with steam, just their version of DRM is different than the Mac App Store since it requires a dedicated connection or planning ahead for downtime with offline mode. It still is very functional with these restrictions. For gaming, Steam is the dominant platform for games. As mentioned above, you have access to a wider range of people to play with online Mac and PC along with faster access to updates without it having to go through the Mac App Store vetting process. Also there is a wider array of titles on it that aren't on Mac App Store. As another user pointed out, there are also regular sales on Steam where prices drop for a lot of things over 80%. It is worth the time to at least set up an account on it, browse their selection and features and then decide from there where to purchase from.
  12. utterer macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2016

    The games you are looking to buy are now coincidentally part of the current Humble Bundle ( If you pay the average amount (currently hovering around 10$ right now) you can get a number of Firaxis games like Civ 4 and 5, XCom and others. If you pay 15$ it gives you access to even more. This deal is time limited. The games are all delivered as Steam keys. Just an FYI.
  13. Washac macrumors 68020


    Jul 2, 2006
    Humble is OK cheap enough, but I stopped using them because i did not see game updates.
  14. -BigMac- macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    I have 0 "serious" games on the app store. Just angry birds etc.

    and 23 "serious" full blown games on steam.

    I also have agaming pc, so i prefer Steam.
  15. DieBeachballDie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2015
    Delivered as keys...

    I'll never figure this **** out.

    I'm just gonna get a Steam card, register and pull the trigger on a couple games. Hope it works.

    One thing... I still have this Apple card with some credit on it. I could go and buy Sim City 4 (love this game on my older iMac, cant play it on the new) with my existing credit. It gets bad reviews on App Store, yet awesome reviews on Steam. Is there any reason to think there'd be anything wrong with it if i buy it from one site and not another?
  16. kaioshade macrumors regular


    Nov 24, 2010
    As far as i know, both the Steam and App Store version are identical. From looking at reviews, most of the negative reviews seem to seem to stem from the last update breaking most, if not all mods users had installed.

    DRM = Digital Rights Management. This is, at its core, copy protection. Both the App Store and Steam are differing forms of DRM. Your usage of the software (Civ IV in this case) is determined by your account on those services. The game is bound to your account, same as an iOS app is tied to your Apple ID. When you purchase from Humble Bundle or various other retailers, your purchase is given to you as a key. Think of this as essentially the product key, not unlike Microsoft Office or any other program of that nature.

    Once you receive your key, you would Download the Steam application, and log in using your credentials (you will need to make an account if you havent done so already) and enter that key into Steam. The game will then be added to your library. You can download it from the Steam app on any device that the game is compatible with, and even if you get a new Mac, you can download steam on that computer, and redownload your purchases. Same as with iOS and other ecosystems.

    Feel free to add me on steam if you have any other questions. Same username as here.
  17. Aspyr-Blair macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2012
    Austin Tx
    Sim City 4 Deluxe is identical on the App Store. Our last update caused users to THINK they lost their modded content, so they took to the reviews to let us know their displeasure. Unfortunately, the App Store doesnt allow us to respond to comments or we would easily let everyone know how to get their content back that they "lost".
  18. kaioshade macrumors regular


    Nov 24, 2010
    Thanks for that information. Definitely would have been a good thing, so users didnt have a meltdown about their mods.
  19. interstella macrumors regular


    Sep 29, 2013
    Suffolk, England
    I recently signed up with Steam as I wanted to play a couple of games (e.g. X Rebirth) that are not available in the app store. I've no complaints so far, in fact quite the opposite. For a complex game such as the one I've just mentioned, having a forum immediately available through the Steam app is invaluable. The range of games is incredible compared to the app store and I now feel I've been missing out as I didn't realise there were so many games on Steam that are not in the app store. The Steam app is easy to use and offline mode works fine which is important for me as I work in the offshore oil industry (or what's left of it!) and a reliable internet connection isn't always available.
  20. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    I used to be vocally negative about oppressive DRM, where you could buy a game but not be allowed to sell it to someone's else. I still feel that way, but these days with streaming as the likely method of content delivery, I have thrown in the towel whining about it. :p Steam does offer some good deals even if I can't sell my ownership of a game.
  21. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    What is going on with C&C Generals, Black OPS and Duke Nukem in El Capitan? I forget now but I read a disconcerting "if" about one of them getting fixed at all on the support pages, I think it might have been in reference to Black OPS crashing in El Capitan.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 24, 2016 ---
    To answer your question: you say that you like simple and quick. Additionally, you already have iTunes credit to spend. For these reasons, I would recommend sticking with the app store so you do not need to be involved with downloading and using the Steam client. It isn't hard and you can set it to run in offline mode once you've run a game one time (this is true in Windows - I don't know if you need to do this on Mac) and then you can play but it will always require loading the client first before your game starts. You may or may not find this an annoyance but you I wanted to make you aware of it in case you would. As you know, buying something on the App store results in it just starting up without needing to start the app store first, etc. So you go directly to your game without delay. Many don't feel this is a big deal and I will not voice any opinion either way. This is just an FYI for you.

    I didn't check the game in question but often additional content for a game is purchasable as in-app purchases to get the full version with all DLC, etc. It is true that more often than not Steam is cheaper IF you catch stuff on sale but where you only want a very small number of games and already have store credit I don't know how that should really matter that much. It's up to you of course.

    For someone like yourself, I consider the App Store ideal.
  22. kaltsasa macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2002
    Kellogg IA
    C&C Generals Multiplayer is still broken which is very disappointing for a game that is 90% a multiplayer game. This new release is under a year old. I don't know if it's Aspyr's fault or Apple's but I'm out 20 bucks on a game I can't play.

    it's been a long time since I fired up Duke Nukem but last I heard you had to DISABLE your internet connection or it would crash.
  23. txa1265 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2002
    Corning, NY
    Totally get that - I switched very early to digital games (was using Direct2Drive before Steam came around) and knew exactly what that meant ... and also that it would change how I bought and played games. Before then I could resell games and therefore the loss for a 'crap buy' was <50%, now it would be 100% ... so I wasn't so impulsive on new releases.

    Now I have way too many games to ever finish on Steam, GoG, D2D, GamersGate, App Store, and so on :)
  24. DieBeachballDie thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2015

    Well, i tried the app store, and paid bloody $20-something for a game i already goddamn OWN (Sim City 4, bought from store years ago for older Mac), and it was quick, painless and easy...


    Stupid thing has a glitch in it that zooms the city in and out randomly, and at the worst possible times. Its pretty much unplayable. Haven't had time to bitch about it to anyone yet, not that i expect much recourse. This is EXACTLY why i dont like this stupid method of buying games. I'm pissed.

    Anyways, HOPEFULLY i/we can figure that one out so i can at least play the damn thing, but i wont have the expendable income to pick up Steam or anything from it for a while. I still have iTunes money, but right now i'm turned right off spending it at the App Store.

    And another reason i dont like the App Store, is that Steam has the same games, plus more versions, and they also have the expanded versions. App Store does not. Yet, they charge the same. Not cool. I want the 'complete' versions, if i can get them.


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