back to article Steam rushes from Valve onto Macs

The online gaming megaservice and gamers' community Steam has introduced Mac support, as it promised on Tuesday. The eponymous - and free - access app is now available for download from the Steam website. That's the good news. The bad news is that owners of older Macs need not apply. Steam will launch only on Intel-based Macs …


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  1. Thomas 4

    Taking bets.....

    .....on how long it will take before someone start whining about the evil DRM of Steam. I preferred the old look but that's my only gripe. It's really good to see Valve actively taking an interest in the Mac as a gaming platform, following the recent conversion of Team Fortress 2 and doubtless the other titles such as L4D to follow.

    Too bad my old iMac G5 won't be able to run this but then again, my iMac probably wouldn't be able to run most of the games. *shrug*

  2. raving angry loony

    DRM? No thanks.

    Can't wait to hear the howls of pain when Steam's invasive DRM stops working for some reason. As it will sooner or later. Good luck playing all those games you thought you bought, but were in fact only renting for so long as Steam wanted to allow you to play them.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      what are you on?

      uhh.. DRM this.. Your only renting that.. stfu.. steam said if they went under they would release everything for free.. but reality shock.. steam aint gonna just disappear, they make good money..

      why is it that just because the internet came along everyone thought developers rights werent worth anything?

      games developers need to earn a living too... 'tard

      people like you really make my blood boil

    2. cpf
      Thumb Up


      It's the lesser of two evils when you're talking about Steam vs "other DRM," and toss Mac into the equation and it's your only choice for mainstream gaming.

    3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Sooty

        the cynic in me

        says that the only reason counter strike source is being updated, is because it runs on an old version of the source engine, and won't directly port to mac :)

        They should be on to a winner getting portal out first, and it in free for a couple of weeks, as it's certainly one of the more popular games.

        And yes, steam may technically be DRM, but unlike most others, it actually makes things more convenient, no cd/dvd needed.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          RE: what are you on?

          AC, you are a bit confused.

          DRMs do not contribute to your games developer's living (only to the publisher company management's wet dreams).

          I for example stopped buying games once I started to see DRMs on them (going beyond simple inconvenience - like having to put the disc in the drive to play).

          And Steam is the worst type of DRM - it deceives the naive like you into thinking that it is there for your convenience (perhaps the simple task of managing your library of shiny discs is too taxing on you). But it takes away the *control* and you are not sharp enough to get it (until it's too late, anyway).



    Surely you could have also mentioned that Portal will be free to install until May 24th?

    Free Portal is NOT a lie.

  4. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Get used to those updates!

    They happen at irregular periods and often seem to consist of nothing but large pic files for their game advertising.

  5. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    Rumours abound...

    ...that Linux support is just around the corner, too.

    Apologies for the competitor link:

    I look forward to Portal on Ubuntu.

    Steven R

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I see the bash script mentions Linux32...

      Does this means that their games will only be for x86 Linux platforms? No native x64 support?

      Guess the games will underperform if I choose to deploy x64 Linux for various reasons.

  6. Ed

    The 33MB Update

    That's the way Steam works - for Windows too, and always has. The installer is just a bootstrapper that downloads the rest of the app (and updates it as necessary).

    This makes it very resilient to you deleting random files, as it makes sure they're all correct before it runs.

    The Steam (for Mac) you download is 4.4MB - once you've run it it's 147MB.

  7. Adrian Esdaile

    Steam's invasive DRM

    Er, pardon me?

    What invasive DRM would that be, exactly? All of my Steam games merrily work on my laptop as well as my desktop at home and my, ahem, desktop at work too. The only 'DRM' is that I can't use all of them at once. I can even play my Steam games on my laptop while on a plane, with no net connection, so what is the problem? While some rabid developers (cough Ubisoft cough) still push machine authorization limits through Steam, an email and about 15 minutes wait have fixed any such problems I have had. Most publishers are learning to trust Steam and are removing such silly restrictions. My copy of Spore behaved perfectly on about 5 different machines from day 1 - bought through Steam.

    While 'nasty' DRM certainly is a risk, Steam is by far the most benign of the bunch, and I can happily live with it. If you can't, then I guess you really have a big problem paying for things, which is what it all comes down to in the end.

    I've been happy with Steam, clearly a lot of small devs are happy with it - look at the fantastic array of small-team games that are coming out these days that are real, old-school good fun high quality games (Osmos, Peggle, World of Goo...); it seems pretty much a win-win to me, I have fun, the small guys get paid, it keeps piracy down, and prices are fair.

  8. Tim Bates
    Thumb Up

    Bring on Linux support!

    I currently use Windows at home only because of games... Not all are via Steam, but even having things like CS:S or Portal available would mean far less need for Windows on my system.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Actually you could likely play them all at once I often have a slow paced game on my laptop in offline mode (like civ) and a fast game on my PC (like mass effect 2) in online mode

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Some of those games are ancient... I think The Dig required System 7.5, maybe 8.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uptake of the free Portal offer seems to be good

    judging by the way the Steam servers crawled to a halt last night. Blasting along like a champ this morning now that America is asleep, though. I look forward to investigating the truthiness of the cake later today.

    One small beef thus far: they've managed to position the window widgets too far to the right in Steam. Petty, I know, but fit and finish counts in OS X.

  11. Les Matthew

    A question for Steam lovers

    Can you sell your legitimately bought games on the used/secondhand market?

    1. Jason D

      Unfortunately, no...

      It's linked to your Steam account permanently, and there's no way to reassign it to someone else.

      Depending on certain offers they have, if you buy a bundle (i.e. the Orange Box) you can give some of those games away for free if you already have them. This only applies to very few games though.

      A note on the DRM, Steam itself does not have DRM, but certain games made by different developers do, such as Bioshock (Securom), Assassin's Creed 2 (constant internet connection needed) and a few others.

      Steam has to abide by the rules of the developer and/or publisher, but it's a small price to pay, given that you can download the games onto all your computers as many times as needed. The obvious restriction is that only one computer at a time can be logged in to Steam. The high prices are generally expensive compared to retail, but their sales are phenomenal (Christmas sale lasted for 12 days, and i bought 25 games for £37.00).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up


        "The high prices are generally expensive compared to retail, but their sales are phenomenal (Christmas sale lasted for 12 days, and i bought 25 games for £37.00)."

        I did exactly the same, even similar amount of games for similar amount of mullah, just so many sales at that point :)

        Now to finally find time and play the rest of them which I didn't get to yet :|

    2. Daniel 1

      It is said that the cake is not a lie...

      The other truth (widely accepted) is that you cannot have your cake and eat your cake.

      Now sit down and enjoy your cake.

    3. Owen 1


      When did you last see a retailer accepting used PC Games ?

      1. Les Matthew

        @Owen 1

        "When did you last see a retailer accepting used PC Games ?"

        Actually it was Monday on my local high street.

        Game Station and Computer Exchange.

        Don't you have those out in the sticks?

        1. Thomas 4


          That's cool - I have used copies of C&C 4 and AC II to sell them.

        2. Owen 1


          Computer exchange, can't say we do. Although we do have game station. Local one refuses to exchange PC games.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Tho, of course by buying 2nd hand and trading in your titles, you're denying revenue to the devs who made the title and lining the retailers pockets only.

      I too was a bit hesitent to use steam years ago, but after getting to know a chunk of guys in studios who are releasing on steam and how much good they're doing (Introversion would have folded if it wasn't for steam!) I put my fears aside and jumped right on in.

      Also helps that steam is owned by the worlds largest independent games studio :)

      1. Chad H.


        Yet Boone cries for Toyota, ford, or house builders when secondhand cars and homes are sold, even thoough there's a greater loss of revenue.

  12. Tom 38 Silver badge


    No, you can't.

    However, games on steam are noticeably cheaper than boxed games. The Orange box, which includes HL2 (+ep1, ep2), TF2 and portal cost me £26 at launch time. I just forked out for Starcraft 2, which cost £40 straight up.

    Steam is also very useful at reinstall time, all your games are just right there and waiting to be downloaded, no hunting for CDs etc.

  13. Dan 10
    Thumb Up


    Didn't know anything about Steam, but have been thinking of finding a couple of games for my Intel Mac. Reading these comments, this sounds like good stuff...

  14. Mark Rendle

    Epic fail

    Downloaded it, installed it, ran it, and got told that I should reformat my hard-disk using a case-insensitive file-system. I've got a better idea: maybe Valve should write software that works properly on Macs?

    So, the only Steam I've got is coming out of my ears.

  15. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Here we go

    Steam supporters, you may not like it but you are a bunch of gullible numpties. You don't even realise what price you are paying for the "convenience" of redownloading your games.

    Yes, you don't have CDs anymore (how you call it an advantage I don't know but it appears that the modern days yoof just degraded to a point where they are incapable of managing physical possession of a simple piece of plastic). But you also have to ask your steam daddy for permission everytime you want to install that game (even the first time). And the steam daddy may (and will at some point) say no.

    You don't understand this because you don't understand the concept of private property. You vote for Labour, live with your parents or in a council house and work on the former government's pointless IT "pork barrel" projects - right?

  16. D Rome

    Instant update

    The updates that everyone whines about at the catalogues for all the games and the updated offers. Yes they can be proven to update at silly times for us brits but it's a US based company deal with it.

    Steam has vastly improved and will continue doing so. So stop ya whining for the sake of whining. if your that bothered go out in to the real world and play the game called LIFE!

    1. TimNevins
      Thumb Down

      Has a point

      The online world is littered with corpses who put too much faith in the online model.

      There is nothing to indicate this will happen to Valve.

      There was also nothing to indicate a Con-Dem Govt. with the LibDem leader as Deputy PM.

      So beware.

      No DSiWare transfers to DSi XL - DS News at GameSpot

      "You have to repurchase all your old games from the PSN store if you want to play them on your PSP Go!. - Lack of newer games."

      Wal*Mart shutting down DRM server, nuking your music collection ...

      Yahoo Music shutting down its DRM server, customers lose all their ...

    2. Richard 81

      Sure, bring politics into it

      Do we ever actually _own_ the software we use? I think if you pay attention to your T&Cs, you'll find you're merely licensed to install and use it, while it remains the property of the publisher. Something that has nothing to do with party politics, but everything to do with copyright and business. So please check your prejudices at the door.

      What Valve are offering, is access to games that you've bought on either platform. I own a whole load of Source engine games on the PC, and if I eventually get a new Mac, I'll be able to install them on it at no extra cost. Same goes for any other cross platform game on Steam. It's not a bad deal however you look at it.

      For the record, I rather liked the CD/DVD-ROM in a case age, but then I lamented the change from big cardboard boxes with manuals inside.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        No politics but

        "Do we ever actually _own_ the software we use?"

        Yes it's a gray area but the practice was that, basically, you bought a copy of the software/album/movie and you, for all intents and purposes, owned that copy. You could sell it, lend it to a friend, donate to charity or use it whenever you wanted inside your own house on whatever equipment you liked to use it.

        The IP owners promote an alternative interpretation of the vague and obsolete law - that you don't buy anything with "intellectual property" in it but enter into a licensing contract with the IP owner. A contract where most rights belong to the IP owner and most of the obligations are on the side of the user. A contract which substitutes the normal relationship of seller-consumer.

        In legal practice that interpretation is far from being universally upheld, but DRMs are meant to unilaterally enforce this anti-consumer interpretation by technological means.

        That is where the main danger of DRMs lie

        - you will end up with just about anything in your house being rented to you because it contains some "intellectual" property. Any appliance will be controlled by the vendor who will be able to "revoke" your license if you "misuse" the appliance (like toast non-Hovis slice of bread in a Hovis-licensed toaster). Far fetched? - just look at (or in) your BD player.

        - far from stimulating creativity or rewarding developers this will make competition virtually impossible, remove any incentive for creativity and make developers a sweat-shop employees (to even larger extent than they are already).

        I am not trying to scare you with doomsaying predictions - not EVERYTHING will become so screwed up, not ALL creativity will be stifled, there will remain SOME competition - but the more we accept what is imposed on us by the IP cartels the closer the future will resemble the worst case scenario.

        And back to Steam - I consider it more dangerous than Starforce and Securom precisely because it seems so benign and convenient. It is an insidious way of deceiving the unthinking into the future full of DRMs.

        1. frymaster

          a few points

          "But you also have to ask your steam daddy for permission everytime you want to install that game "

          that's a bit of a skewed viewpoint... it's a digital download service, of COURSE it's going to contant their servers. where else does it get the game from? I will note that, unlike many other digital download services (*cough* itunes *cough*) there are no restrictions on redownloading. There's no restrictions on the number of computers you can play stuff on, save that you can only have steam in online mode in one place at a time (all single player and most multiplayer games work in offline mode, save those which use steam's intergrated multiplayer functionality)

          "far from stimulating creativity or rewarding developers this will make competition virtually impossible, remove any incentive for creativity and make developers a sweat-shop employees"

          you're saying where a service that allows developers of any size to sell games for any price, to a large market, and get a very impressive cut of the sales (i've never seen anything implying it's less than half; the usual figure mentioned is a 70/30 split for the developer... compare that to traditional publishing models) will _stifle_ creativity? So far the ability to mass-market niche games has led to an explosion in the casual/indie/non-AAA market. In bricks-and-mortar stores, you are competing for shelf space and so much strive to always be the biggest and most impressive to maximise your brief exposure.

          by contrast, on steam there's unlimited shelf space, and you can make any kind of game you want... if it doesn't sell well, you don't make money, but since the publisher doesn't have a large up-front investment, you don't have to make a game just because the publisher wants it

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            You still can't see wood for the trees

            Yes, nice to be able to redownload.

            Yes, nice for the indies to have a distribution network and by pass the usual retail channels.

            But none of it needs DRM, which is post-sale control by the publisher.

            You *can* sell software online without it needing to be authenticated at every install. That model works fine with no evidence that the software so distributed is pirated any more than Steam titles.

            Just days ago a bunch of indie games was being sold on the internet, no steam, no DRM, nothing. Five games + a bonus title raised over a million bucks with people being able to set their own price from $0.01 upwards. Roughly 25% downloads were made without payment. Only 25%.

            And Steam is NOT solely online distribution service. Steam DRMed games are "sold" over the counter and you cannot install them without online authentication - which is what you don't seem to understand.

            1. CD001



              And Steam is NOT solely online distribution service. Steam DRMed games are "sold" over the counter and you cannot install them without online authentication - which is what you don't seem to understand.


              Actually, I agree with you on that point - Empire Total War being a good case in point. Apart from DRM reasons, if you're only playing it offline there is NO reason for ETW to require Steam activation. It would be nice as an optional extra for muliplayer games (or even DLC) but a requirement for offline play (the initial install requires Steam activation) - meh.

              Still - if we get all old-skool on this and substitute "DRM" for "Copy Protection", this argument has been going on for more years than I care to remember...

          2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            About creativity

            The more ubiquitous Steam become the harsher conditions it will offer to developers.

            Once you create your captive customer base you can do whatever you want - just look at the Jobsian iPhone apps "market".

            Your title suitability to be listed on Steam (on competitive, moral, religious grounds) is/will be judged solely at the discretion of Steam. That means probably one or two people. What in this supports creativity?

            Do you want to say that, somehow, Steam will not behave like a monopoly once it becomes a monopoly? Why?

    3. CD001

      get a grip

      Now, take a deep breath and repeat after me - it is only a game, it is only a game.

      There is nothing inherently wrong with Steam as long as you accept that:

      1: it won't be around forever

      2: they may or may not live up to their promise of unlocking everything if it does go belly up (who knows)

      3: you can't resell Steam games (I don't remember Gamestation or anyone else ever buying 2nd hand PC games tbh - but that might just be in the West Mids).

      However there ARE some advantages (personally I think the pros outweigh the cons):

      1: no CD is in fact an advantage - I'll take Steam over Starforce or TAGES any day thanks - at least Steam isn't going to break my optical drive with variable spin timings. Also the lack of a disk means that there's no disk to get scratched beyond playability (my M2TW disk is getting a bit worn I've played the game that much).

      2: anything you buy over Steam is licensed to the account, not the machine, and can be downloaded and played on any other machine (with Steam installed).

      3: Steam doesn't REQUIRE an internet connection - it has an offline mode - unlike Assassins Creed 2 (although buying Assassins Creed 2 through Steam won't spare you that). Or take Dragon Age - if you install any of the extra shiny DLC on it then you need an internet connection to use that DLC as it is tied to your Bioware account.

      4: You can have the "best of both worlds" - some games you buy on disk can then be (optionally) registered with Steam after the fact meaning you get the advantage of "download anywhere" combined with owning the original disk.

      5: Steam has added "fluff" that goes beyond the game itself, like achievements, giving you bragging rights over your mates (assuming you have friends of course). Oki, not a huge issue but it's quite nice - I've ported my X3TC install into Steam with the latest patch for that reason.

      6: Steam is a good platform for finding and joining games - for instance you can see when a friend pops onto a TF2 server and just go join them.

      So - get your head out of your arse please - as a Steam user I KNOW there are disadvantages and that it will eventually die... but they are ONLY games! There are games that won't run because they're not compatible with newer versions of Windows, (really old) games that won't run because the game speed is tied to the processor speed and we're not on DX2/66 any more - there are a load of reasons why games become obsolete or unplayable, Steam going belly up is just another one, big deal.

      Conversely however, some really old games that you probably couldn't get anywhere else are now available on Steam for a couple of quid (the entire X-Com series for instance) - how can that be a bad thing?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up


        "Conversely however, some really old games that you probably couldn't get anywhere else are now available on Steam for a couple of quid (the entire X-Com series for instance) - how can that be a bad thing?"

        Recently my GeForce 8800 GTX died and I didn't have any good replacement for the newer games,

        but then I remembered this, the X-Com series on Steam, and went to purchase them, brilliant :)

        Late to work daily now thanks to X-Com... :D

    4. Malcolm 1

      It's for your own good

      Case insensitive file systems are the devil's own work. Particularly if you want to change your system locale.

  17. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    I've already paid for the Windows versions of Portal, etc... on the Windows Steam client. If I download the Mac version of Steam, will it re-download the Mac version of Portal for free or do Mac versions count as a separate purchase?

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Not really important

      Portal is a free download for the next few days. Get it now.

    2. Richard 81

      For free I think

      Previous press stuff suggested a sale on one platform allows you play on any other they support.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Steam has failed of late.

    I went the whole route of having them as my main source of software and only buying from them, because of updates and hassles and the steam cloud (Which is nice).

    Then COD4 released and update and all servers were busy, so I couldn't log in, update a game or play anything. Lost all my games and access to my games because you can't play a game that has updated until the update is applied, for that you need to access a Steam server. Which were busy. And the new UI doesn't tell you if things are updating in the background, so I had half an hour before realising what the issue was. A whole Friday night lost because one game had a new DLC release.

    MAC addition just means more people on an already poor infrastrucutre,

  19. Bill B

    Two minds about Steam

    I must admit i've been burnt by subscription music services in the past so I'm wary about Steam. On the other hand, I can't remember when I last bought a music CD so I applaud the idea of being able to download games rather than going to buy them .. and having that game properly maintained.

    The cost of Steam games also seems a bit high. Generally they are RRP, so you can get cheaper by going to Amazon. However, as one poster has pointed out they have sales most weekends and holidays, and then the price gets very competitive.

    My approach at the moment is to buy games on sale. If Steam goes bust then I've lost a load of cheap games that i've probably only played for 3 months before moving on.

    Oh and @Vladimir Plouzhnikov. 'Fraid I only ticked one of those boxes but good try at a generalisation.

  20. frymaster

    Important point about cross-platform support

    I'm a total steam fanboi but an important clarification about cross-platform games needs to be made - some of the games which, when bought AS OF NOW will be available on both platforms, are ONLY available on the PC if you bought them previously i.e. just because you already own the PC version does NOT mean you own the mac version, if you purchased the game previously has a list of games where you DO get this.

    There's perfectly good reasons for that - many mac conversions are done by separate companies and I'm they want a cut of the sales - but it still potentially sucks. The only valve game so far to have a mac version IS on the cross-platform list, as are quite a lot of indy games and some of the old lucasarts stuff (which uses an emulator anyway) as well as Football Manager.

    however, while new purchasers get to play civ4 on either platform, existing owners will have to buy a new copy.

    again, there's valid reasoning behind it, but from a consumer point of view it's still something to be aware of

  21. ColonelClaw
    Thumb Up

    Not that sparse

    64 titles is a bit sparse? Not for the Mac it isn't. For a platform that's never been used for games 64 is pretty damn good in my book - I'm looking forward to giving it a spin when I get back from work.

    No more Boot Camp is a massive bonus for the Valve games I already own.

    How anyone can moan at the greatest games distribution platform coming to the Mac is beyond me, are you lot never happy?

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Of course not

      This is El Reg, happiness is anathema to our condition.

      Anything that makes your life easier or simpler is inherently evil an must be derided.

      We don't want no stinking Apple loving products here, with their "trying to make computing easy for the masses" philosophy.

      Can't figure out why we don't love Windows, though. It fits quite nicely into our self-harm lifestyle, Vista particularly.

      I guess there's no accounting for people.

      Yes, it's been a long day, why do you ask?

  22. Wibble
    Thumb Down

    No content...

    Downloaded it onto my Mac. Had a quick poke around at the games available.

    Quite frankly nothing took my interest. Couldn't find any simple, cheap & cheerful games. Those that were there, with the exception of Osmos which I already have, looked a right load of tosh.

    Doubt that I'll bother again.

  23. tony

    a title,

    Tried it last night, and noticed your bootnote was incorrect, looks like you download a 'downloader' which then gets the full install for you.

    But anyhow, it started up downloaded the 33meg app and then said you need to be on the internet to download, it then promptly shutdown. Restarted it and it downloaded the 33megs again, and this time it started only to crash a few moments later.

    Third time lucky it started up, connected to my account from a few years back listed my few purchases, told me nothing but portal was compatible, which it downloaded. Before crashing.

    And the last time it started it hangs at the 33meg download

    Lost interest now.

  24. Niles

    So far just painful.

    Tried it for the first time.

    Went through the update. Thought I'd try the free game. Couldn't connect for 12 hours because the servers were over loaded. Finally got it to download, took forever the application is now up to 181 gigs.

    Then it told me my video card is unsupported (macbook), and started another hour plus download to update the game when I hit the "continue anyway" button.

    So apparently this is a game in which you watch bandwidth get eaten?

    I'm going back to "bejewelled" on my cell phone.

  25. cs94njw

    PC and MAC? What about the savegames?

    So you can play either the MAC or PC version. Does that mean the save games are compatible too?

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