Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
19 November 2005
Slashdot | John Smedley Answers Your Questions
Slashdot recently posted some questions to John Smedley (who answered), apparently of Star Wars Galaxies fame, an MMORPG with, you got it, a Star Wars theme.

Here's the one that interested me:
Unfortunately, no. I absolutely love Macs (I've got 2 at home myself). I wish we could [port to the Mac in light of the move to Intel], but it's enormously cost prohibitive if you didn't start out from the beginning with Mac development in mind.

If you recall the rather long piece we had with Aspyr's Glenda Adams a while back, I wondered what it would take to make creating crossplatform games easier to make than Microsoft-specific ones. Her answer surprised me a bit, as she said that even if it was easier to program an xplat game (though there was some issue with the term 'easier' as well), MS's marketshare meant that developers would still prefer to use MS's techs. So even in a hypothetical world where it was easier to program for Windows and Macs at the same time, her contention was that Microsoft-only PC games would still be most prevalent. Who could change this? She very insightfully answered, "Microsoft, but I don't see why they would want to."

So here we see Apple bowing down to at least half of the evil bi-opoloy (it's not quite an oligarchy, so I'm not sure what the term would be; sorry) with the switch to Intel -- so in one sense, Macs now use a large subset of what were once 'Microsoft' programming techs, particularly when it comes to machine language and byte endian-ness. With Star Wars Galaxies, we've got a large company who says it's still not worth it to start working on a Mac version to grab some extra marketshare. Admittedly, it's not like Apple's retrofitting PPC Macs, and in the same story I was using, above, Adams told us, "Mac users hold onto their hardware longer," but as I've seen a few other places, I think we can safely assume the death of porting issues as in break-the-bank porting issues is still a long ways off. I'll be intrigued to see if the people who felt that Mac ports will die now that, assumedly (and that's a big "assumedly") Macs with Intel innards will be able to boot Windows.

It is encouraging, if I can silver lining anything, that at least Smedley recognizes that targeting the Mac up front is an option and a business model worth mentioning. The person who asked the question being answered went a bit overboard, suggesting World of Warcraft's success is due, in large part, to the xplat-ness of the game, but I think/hope Blizzard and World of Warcraft do have other gaming co's listening and interested.


--ruffin at 15:06
Comment [ 2 ]

Comments on this post:

My question for Blizzard and Apple: Do you have (or will you have) a Universal Binary version of WoW ready to go as soon as the new Intel-based Macs hit the street?

If so, then Apple has their eye on the ball and Blizzard really is dedicated to maintaining cross-platform compatibility.

Getting that into the headlines as soon as the first Mactels hit the street would be useful, I think. How about bundling each of those new Macs with a copy of WoW, just to seed the field?

By Blogger jvm, at 19 November, 2005 16:39  

The universal binary of WoW was demoed on an Intel iMac at Macworld this week. It will be released with the next free patch to WoW - 1.9.3.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 January, 2006 20:56  

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