Blizzard’s Mac love

Powerbook keyboard

Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

As someone whose had an Apple since the IIe I’ve gotten used to living in a world where the coolest games never would reach my computer. For awhile the Lucasarts game were availble, but as Apple’s market share slipped so did game selection.

Soon the only games I could find were the ones that were built to be dual platform, and the Blizzard games were always Mac friendly.

I’m not sure why more game developers can’t be Mac complient like Blizzard. It might be hard for smaller companies to afford, but that’s an excuse that Eletronic Arts (for example) can’t use.

The Mac compatibility from Day #1 meant that I started playing WOW early. The fact that unlike some games, EverQuest (cough cough), Mac users aren’t living in their own servers, means that I get to interact with everyone else as opposed to those also confined in the Mac Ghetto.

Though I’ve always wanted to try games like City of Heroes, the Mac issue has held me back. However hopefully Boot Camp will expand my options when I finally shell out for an Intel Mac. However I am determined to stay loyal to Blizzard, because they stayed loyal to us Mac gamers for so many years.

I also hope that Blizzard will keep doing Mac builds, even when Boot Camp might mean it’s not as nessicary.

12 Comments so far

  1. phoenix (unregistered) on April 22nd, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

    I’ll back you up on this. My main computer at home is a Windows PC, and sure, I love gaming, but I’ve been a Mac lover for years and years, and when it came time to look around for a portable, I wanted to indulge the Mac fanatic in me and buy one. I was worried I wouldn’t able to play ANYTHING on my Mac, but buy this time I was knee-deep in WoW, and since the install DVD I already had had WoW on it for Mac, I was sold.

    Seriously, I’m more likely to play WoW and keep my subscription because Blizzard is so awesome, and Apple got themselves another purchase. I think it’s a win-win, I don’t know why more game developers don’t do it themselves. That being said, now with the ability to boot into Windows on your Mac, they might not have to! :D

  2. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on April 22nd, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

    Yeah, I’d be disapointed if Blizzard didn’t keep doing a dual version of their games because of Boot Camp.

    And you’d think it would be an easy decision to just reprogram for the Mac. Sure a little more work, and a little more cash, but if it opens the market up a bit it’ll help both the game designers who’ll have a few more million potential users and Mac who’ll have an easier time selling machines.

  3. CCNYMacGuy (unregistered) on April 22nd, 2006 @ 4:52 pm

    Always a welcome relief to see more Mac users on WoW.

    And do I ever miss the heyday of LucasArts gaming – I grew up on Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle and Rebel Assault)

  4. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on April 22nd, 2006 @ 5:06 pm

    I loved Sam and Max on my LC 475… sigh good times.

    My guess is actually a higher percentage of Mac users play WOW than PC, since the average PC user can pick from City of Heroes, Star Wars Galaxies, WOW, Guild Wars and so on.

  5. Will (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2006 @ 9:24 am

    Blizzard is one of very few game design houses that builds their own code from the ground up. That’s what makes it possible for them to produce seamlessly cross-platform games. It sure would be rad if they keep it up. I play WoW on my Mac, but I’ve recently gotten a new PC just for the sake of keeping up with new games.

    Two days later Boot Camp’s public beta was announced.

  6. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2006 @ 9:31 am

    “Blizzard is one of very few game design houses that builds their own code from the ground up.”

    But what about EA, Sony or Lucasarts? I know a lot of smaller companies don’t have the resources, and a lot reuse the game engines from other people’s games, but come the big boys should be able to afford it.

    I’m waiting on buying an Intel Mac until Leopard or Lion or Shadowcat or whatever they’re calling the next OSX is out and bundled with the full version of Boot Camp.

  7. RS (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2006 @ 3:47 pm

    Tangentially related, I’m super happy WoW plays so well via Wine on Linux. But I do hope Mac and Linux can find some common base for games…it would help us all out. Blizzard wouldn’t have had a WoW subscription from me if the Cedega team hadn’t made it happen…ditto for NWN.

  8. Blizzard Mac Team (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 9:59 pm

    We recently posted updated technology FAQ’s regaarding Boot Camp and Blizzard games.


    Q: Apple’s OS X Boot Camp software lets me boot Windows XP on my Intel-based Mac. Can I run Blizzard games under Windows using Boot Camp on these systems?

    A: Yes, you can if you wish to do so. However, please note that as OS X Boot Camp is in beta form, we can’t offer technical support for Blizzard games run under Windows using Boot Camp at this time.

    Q: What is Blizzard’s plan for native Mac OS support, now that Boot Camp is available?

    A: We have a recognized track record of native Mac OS support, and we have no plans to break with that tradition. We understand that our Mac player base prefers native software whenever possible, and our cross-platform development practice addresses that.

  9. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 10:42 pm

    Wow, thanks for the information. I don’t read the Blizzard FAQ as much as I should I suppose. I was going to do a little detective work on this next week as something to post about, but now instead I’ll just try to hit level 54 with my main character.

  10. Will (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 11:05 pm

    “But what about EA, Sony or Lucasarts? I know a lot of smaller companies don’t have the resources, and a lot reuse the game engines from other people’s games, but come the big boys should be able to afford it.”

    Leaving aside the issue of what constitutes “smaller companies” (whether it’s money or manpower or what), the question is more often one of investment than simple money. The difficulty of cross-platform design comes more often, I think, from issues of timing. Most companies can’t afford Blizzard’s historic luxury of waiting to release a game until they feel like it’s time.

    Very often, the relatively small number of Mac-only game customers isn’t enough to warrant the investment in time and money to serve them. When crunch time comes, the massive amount of work necessary to design, test and support a Mac game is probably among the first things that get cut, because the small number of customers all that work nets isn’t worth risking the whole project for.

    I think probably plenty of people making games thinks this sucks just as much as you do. Probably they think this sucks less than missing a release window and having their company fold, though. It is what it is.

  11. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 11:21 pm

    I doubt any of those three comapnies would fold because they tried to release a Mac version of a game at the same time as a PC version.

    EA’s first game was for the Apple II and (checking Wikipedia) they released “Pinball Construction Set for the Atari 800 and Apple II”. They release PC, XBox, XBox 360, GameCube, PS2 and PSP versions of games, and maybe if we’re lucky a Mac version a year or two later.

    I’m not saying that every game company has to release Mac games, or that it’s a moral obligation to. I know having a Mac version of a game isn’t going to feed the starving kids in Africa, but it’s a nice thing to have since that’s how I play games like WOW.

    I’m never going to play Final Fantasy online, since playing it on the PS2 or XBox 360 seems insane, and takes out the social aspects of the experiance. And even once Boot Camp is stable I’m more likely to stick to a native Mac game than fiddle with booting into XP.

    There’s money to be made in the Mac market. If there wasn’t I doubt Blizzard would still be doing it, and I doubt that EA would be doing it (in the half assed way that they do). Sure not everyone is going to be able to afford the investment, but those that do I think get rewarded.

    I’ll buy every Blizzard game for Mac because they’re always good. I buy Championship Manager (an English football/soccer sim game) every year because it’s on the Mac. I buy the Sims games, when they eventually come out.

    There’s a market here and I think Blizzard really benifits from the fact that no other online RPG has really made a serious effort to hit the Mac market.

    I know that reprograming stuff for the Mac is a bitch. I’ve got a friend at Microsoft who works in the Mac unit, and it’s not as simple as hitting a button and having Office pop out for OSX. I’m just saying I think there’s a benifit here for companies who can afford to do it right, and that Blizzard does it right.

  12. Charlie Campbell (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 4:44 am

    Au contraire, friend. I’m a FFXI vet and feel obligated to comment that social aspects of MMORPGs are very much present in their console iterations.

    My PS2 was equipped with both a keyboard & mouse, thus (save graphical sacrifices) FFXI played identically to its PC counterpart.

    To bring this full circle, I played FFXI precisely BECAUSE it was a console game, as there were no quality Mac MMOs at the time. Blizzard solved this problem, though I hold a special place in my heart for SOE due to their multi-system love.

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