What's more, EA will be bringing sports games to the Mac in August, beginning with simultaneous launches of Madden 08 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08.
To me, that's the most interesting news short of Windows Safari and the "built-in" Vista drivers.
So how is EA getting those games onto the Mac? Inside Mac Games gives us a good hunch:
According to our sources, EA is using TransGaming's Cider for its Mac titles. This means that there will be no PowerPC versions of the games.
That there would be no PowerPC compatibility was a no-brainer. Proof? I figured it out. That they would use Cider wasn't quite as obvious, though one might argue it was close. (Tiger Woods had been ported recently, I believe. The rest? Forget it.)
I'm eager to hear the official jvm slant on that one.
Update: No longer a hunch, it would appear: Aspyr's Brad Oliver says it's Cider on the IMG forums. Interesting that it appears Aspyr will continue porting the Sims (no reason to throw out ported engine at this point? Wonder if it'll drop away with a major Sims update...). He also says that the sports games and BF1942 didn't do well enough for Aspyr to keep porting.
As he says, that old ports of those games didn't do well is old news, but how does this striate Mac game development now? There are games that get ignored, the Cider treatment, and the red carpet port now? That one can Cider a game playably apparently much more cheaply than porting it says something bad about Asypr's porting future.
Basically, I keep coming back to this quote from Ryan "icculus" Gordon:
Right now, Gavriel State is probably somewhere popping open a bottle of champagne, too, since it blows open a huge market for Cegeda on MacOS, and Transgaming would be damned fools to ignore that.
What still goes unexplained -- and the GNU/Linux community should be asking this question every time they get Transgaming in an interview -- is why Cider is a Mac-only technology. This couldn't be done on GNU/Linux because...?
So if Linux was getting the same EA games that the Mac is getting, that'd be enough in your opinion to warrant the Linux users' paid "subscriptions" Transgaming had folk pay for what's now a closed fork of an open sourced project? Or have I gotten the players confused on this issue somewhere?
But yes, I too wonder a bit why this doesn't spell Madden on Linux. Oliver's comments suggest that Cidering something is a nontrivial process. I wonder what the proverbial pain points are.
I'm not going to pay, but I think development of a Cider-like alternative on GNU/Linux would be a much better outcome than the crap those poor schmucks are left with now.
I can't fault Transgaming for taking advantage of a license that let them get away with free code and no obligations. The free software community gets hurt like that occasionally and then moves to heal itself. The progress that DirectX support has reportedly shown in Free-licensed WINE I happen to believe is due to a backlash against what Transgaming did as well as CodeWeavers folding their code back into the WINE tree.