Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why not release a game on Steam that has been ported to Mac?

As we have released all of our games for Windows, Mac and Linux and because we also release our games on Steam, this will be a quick reflection over the lack of games available for Mac that are not on Steam.

Looking at the Steam forums you can find a thread or two every now and then that brings up the topic "why are there many well known games, that are ported to Mac, but are not on Steam??".

The reason for this can be many: Perhaps there is a contractual limit or perhaps the company that did the Mac port have their own online store and only wants to sell the game in that store.

There has also been a mention here and there about SteamPlay, the feature on Steam that gives you a game for all platforms, even if you only bought it for Windows to begin with. This means that if you have a Mac as well, you get the game for Mac for free on Steam. Or the other way around of course. This might be viewed as a negative thing, because as the company porting the game, you have a lot of potential customers that will simply get your game for free. This makes SteamPlay also a possible cause not to release the game on Steam.

Bringing me to the point of this short blog post: As a long time Mac user, gamer and as someone that worked on quite a few Mac games over the years, I feel the urge to post a little "Steam is good, SteamPlay is good and if nothing stops you from releasing the game, do it."-suggestion.

Looking at our own sales, we have about 7-8% coming from Mac users. Last I heard, the Mac portion of the PC market was less than 7-8%! We have had this sale share since the very first month our games were released on Steam for Mac, so despite all the potential "lost sales" due to SteamPlay, we have sold as many copies as the Mac market should be able to support.

Let's take Penumbra Collection as an example; when it was released on Steam for Mac, the Mac sales accounted for 20% of the total sales of Penumbra Collection that month. This for a game that is to be considered old and have been available for the Mac elsewhere for as long (almost) as the PC version has been out.

If you are a Mac porting company, take a moment to think about it and if nothing stops you from releasing it on Steam, why not maximize the potential customer base?

Psst. Of course there are other originally Windows oriented stores that have support for the Mac, such as Gamer's Gate and Direct2Drive. Not to forget the newly released (long overdue) App Store by Apple themselves.