What determines which games are ported to Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by racketeer71, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. racketeer71 macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2010
    Hi all,

    I'm a newly convert - only about 3.5 years in Mac-country. I'm a bit confused about which factors determine whether or not a game is ported/created for the Mac.

    Let's have a quick rundown of the various publishers:

    Blizzard (Activision):
    Supporting Apple as always.

    Dead? At least nothing new since Age of Empires III: Asian Dynasties in 2008.

    FPS games, Civilization and The Sims. Seems to focus on PC Bestsellers and well-known brands.

    Feral Interactive:
    FPS, a range of strategy titles, a few driving games.

    Virtual Programming:
    A LOT of strategy games for the number crunching/masturbating geeks, a few FPS.

    FPS from Valve. A few indie games.

    More or less all of them also pushes crappy puzzle games.

    For some reason, cheap puzzle and crappy "hidden objects" games seems to be the dish of the day for Mac users. Visit http://www.macgamestore.com/ and you'll have a great adventure in finding a quality game and NOT another "Dash" or hidden objects game.

    So, the factors involved in whether or not a game is ported, can be summed up as follows:

    *) Popularity of the PC version / brand
    *) Licensing fee (which increases, I presume, if the game is popular)
    *) There's nothing to indicate that technical aspects play a large role, since all genres are represented

    Am I missing something? Please add to the list, in that case.

    If I'm right, it might also explain why we see so few strategy-titles of the type I like. Feral did Tropico and MacSoft did Tropico 2 - but Aspyr didn't care to do Anno 1701 even though they published it for PC. I believe that 4X games are easier to port, than a FPS game, since you don't need to focus that much on the framerate?

    Finally: What I don't understand, is that the legit companies are not selling a lot of games - for cheap - in a Cider or WINE wrapper. I've seen amateurs making illegal Cider and WINE wrappers and uploaded them (sometimes with, sometimes without the game itself) on illegal websites. When an amateur can make a "Fallout 3" or "Left 4 Dead 2" or "Total Annihilation" version for Mac, why don't we see somewhat cheap (think $10-$25, depending on age) and legal versions of these games?

    Personally, I wouldn't dare downloading illegal versions, and I would happily pay for a 5 year old game (ie. Port Royale 2) if I could get a legit spyware-free Mac version. They seem easy to do, from a technical perspective, so is it just the suits that are to blame?
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    It's the paperwork. The actual porting may not be that hard but it involves a lot paperwork. In some cases, the game studio may not want a Mac version of the game and thus won't sell the rights to another company. Remember that things like pressing and shipping cost a lot money so you don't want to make games that won't sell well enough to pay the expenses.

    Besides, most people still prefer Boot Camp due better FPS
  3. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Dec 28, 2009
    it also comes down to whether or not they think they can make a decent profit by doing it... no matter if they base that on true factual data, or biases like most companies do. money conquers all in the business world.
  4. racketeer71 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2010
    But i.e. shipping costs and other costs associated with physical media are virtually alleviated with digital downloads.

    It's sad people use Boot Camp, because it keeps the chicken and egg paradox going. But I do understand the ones that do, although I don't use it.

    Yes, of course they should make a profit of it. There's no doubt about that. But, in the example of Fallout 3, I don't understand why a Mac developer doesn't say:

    "We'll make a WINE or Cider port of it. We will sell it as digital downloads for $30 a year after the PC version was released. We'll take $15 and cover the hosting costs, you - the original developer - will get $15 per download."

    That /should/ make them some money, especially considering the fact that today they're selling 0 copies for OS X, and the fact that an unpaid amateur can (and find it worthwhile) to create a WINE wrapper that works (and uploads it to torrent sites).
  5. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Then you need excellent servers or you have to pay for 3rd party server. In other words, it's never free.
  6. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Dec 9, 2004
    The last stats I saw said most people don't use Boot Camp, only the more hardcore types. The hassle of getting Windows/installing/rebooting vs. just double-clicking an icon means the majority don't bother, and actually a lot of people still don't even know about it.

  7. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    For any serious gaming, Boot Camp is a must since there are only handful of games for OS X. Want to play Modern Warfare 2? You need Windows. How about GTA IV? Again, you need Windows. However, I think most Mac owners don't use their Macs for gaming
  8. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Just to clarify the "why". :) If it was not for Bootcamp, I would have purchased a new PC. As it is I have my MacBookPro doing double duty. People, including myself use Bootcamp because we don't want to do without, without the game (the many that never get ported), the addons, the timely updates, the restrictions on multiplayer, etc. Valve moving into Mac territory with it's Source titles was a really big deal, but you still hear Mac people whining about it. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. ;)
  9. mongrol macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2007
    Technical aspects do come into it. Most games these days have components or frameworks licensed from 3rd parties. Anything from cut scene player codecs (e.g. blink) to AI and physics engines. For a port to be a success the components have to be cross platform to begin with, licensed for use on multiple platforms and then ported. If not then they need to be replaced by something native to the Mac. Both technical, legal and budget issues can blow this out of the water.
  10. doh123 macrumors 65816

    Dec 28, 2009
    depends how good you want them to run.. lower setting and playable.. or maxed out.

    MW2 and GTA IV can both run through Wine or Cider.
  11. racketeer71 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2010
    That's why I wrote "virtually" :)

    But then hook up with Steam for the distribution. Of course, they would take a piece of the pie as well.

    I must admit, I'm a bit in the Whining-over-Steam group :) It sounded great and everything, but since I'm not really into FPS games that excludes all of Valve games, and that leaves a few indies and Civ4. Nothing bad, but I expected more classic, "legacy" PC titles on Steam - it could be Cider or WINE ports, for all I know. There's a lot of 4+ year old strategy games that could work fine on OS X, and doesn't require a 50+ fps to feel great. Think Patrician III, City Life, Cossacks, Port Royale etc.

    I'm afraid you're right. Even though you say "technical aspects" you follow up with the word "licensed" which turns it - once again - into a business issue :(

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