Why Deus Ex: Human Revolution Is Not Available On The Mac On Steam
13 Jul 2012
Today's Macs make fairly competent gaming machines. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise either has bad information or is biased. Using Apple's Boot Camp utility, Macs can run Windows just as well as any other PC. Once a Mac user has Windows installed, there's nothing keeping them from downloading and purchasing games through Steam, Origin, or Blizzard, and enjoying them just as much as the next PC user.
Which is what Mac users generally have to do. Most triple A titles such as EA's Mass Effect 3 never get a Mac port. While dual booting has some minor irritations, Mac users deal with them in order to play the games that they want to. However, whenever a developer takes the time to actually make their game cross platform, such as the case of Diablo 3 and Portal 2, the good will that the companies produce far outstrips any monetary gain that finance department could calculate. There seems to be a slowly growing trend of releasing games in cross platform versions, particular as part of Valve's Steamplay program. However, there will always be companies willing to cut corners, which is where Deus Ex: Human Revolution unfortunately comes in.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was originally released for the PC on August 23, 2011. If you were a Mac gamer like me, you had no choice but to buy the PC version through Steam, and play it on your Windows partition. The game was great, with the exception of it's infamous boss battles of course. I played through it once, always intending to go back and try a stealth run, but I eventually deleted it to make room for other games on my small Windows partition. So imagine my delight when on April 26, 2012 the game was released for the Mac. Finally I had an excuse to go back and replay the game. Without the hassle of dual booting, there wasn't much stopping me from going back and enjoying the game I had purchased, perhaps I'd even buy the game's DLC this time around.
Except, there was something stopping me. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is only available for the Mac through the Mac App Store. Surely there was some sort of mistake, right? I had already purchased the game, surely Eidos wasn't trying to milk another $50 just for Mac compatibly. Well, things are a bit more complicated than that. Eidos didn't actually make the Mac version of Human Revolution. A company called Feral Interactive did. Feral paid Eidos for the rights to sell Human Revolution on the Mac, and is the company that actually makes the money on each Mac sale. This poses a problem when you consider adding Steamplay support. Valve credits a sale to a platform based off of which platform the majority of gameplay is played on during the first week of the sale. In the case Human Revolution, that platform would be the PC for me, since the Mac version didn't exist at the time. Even if I sank multiple hours into the Mac port, Feral wouldn't see a dime for their hard work. By forcing PC and Mac versions into a single product listing, the PC and Mac publishers also have to agree on a pricing scheme for the game. While Eidos is a large company and can take a hit on events such as Steam's Summer Sale, the smaller Mac porters cannot.
So all of this makes sense for the publishers involved, but where does this leave the Mac consumers? Well, hosed mostly. The type of gamers I described in the scenario above are your most diehard fans. It's great that Feral can make some money but putting games up on the Mac App Store, but for the people who proactively did a somewhat technical solution in dual booting, it just leaves a bad taste in our mouths. Publishers should be working harder to make quality multi-platform games, such as the aforementioned Diablo 3 and Portal 2. These sorts of development shortcuts irritate your most loyal fans, and it's made worse by obtuse, confusing, or nonexistent PR explanations of why this situation has been allowed to come to pass. The best explanation of this situation is a Steam Forum post for crying out loud. Even if nothing else changes, developers should be more straightforward with the fact that Mac gamers are getting the short end of the stick because they can't figure out how to split profits in a way that doesn't punish their dual platform customers.