As some of you may remember, prior to the Civilization V Mac release, we were having internal debates on whether to enable SteamPlay for the title or not. We even opened up the debate to our fans and followers in a Call for Comments post
here on the NonBlog. We had tons of great feedback from the community and ultimately went with the wishes of our customer base by enabling SteamPlay.
What became clear through the comments that poured in, however, was that it was generally unknown how SteamPlay worked. There were a lot of assumptions about the business side of it that were not necessarily correct. In a recent interview with Inside Mac Games
, our very own Elizabeth Howard talked about the subject of SteamPlay and explained how it’s not always an easy decision to make for Mac game publishers:
On the sales side, Valve’s support of the Mac platform via Steam right now is reliant on publishers participating in Steam Play which is Valve’s program of releasing every game “Hybrid” despite who did the development work. Right now there is no compensation for the publisher if their game is downloaded but not purchased. For the publisher this is tough to swallow and I think this is a hindrance to Valve seeing the same market dominance on the Mac as it has on the PC. I believe if Steam even offered a Mac version of an existing PC game for just $5 there would be less of a barrier for Mac publishers to sell content on Steam, the consumers would still get a great gaming experience across two platforms, and a big catalog of great content could find it’s way to Steam.
This blurb is only a small part of what turned out to be a really great interview. Talking points include transparency between Mac game developers/publishers and the Mac gaming community, DRM, the upcoming Mac App Store, and the potential threat of emulation software. It’s a great read that will give anyone that’s interested a fantastic insight into the inner-workings of Mac game development and publishing. Big thanks to the team at IMG for asking us to participate!