Last year, Valve software announced that the company’s Steam framework – an online store for digital game downloads and multiplayer interaction, was coming to the Mac platform. The move was seen as a major boon to the Mac gaming catalog, long considered the butt of a joke in the realm of PC gaming. Before Valve’s gesture — which included porting the Source engine to OS X — gaming on the Mac was a futile effort. Almost no developers had any incentive to make games for such a small market, nor adapt to the Mac’s PowerPC technology. Moving to Intel processors helped a lot, but Valve’s gesture removed a big hurdle: distribution. Today, gaming on the Mac is still nowhere near as vibrant as gaming on the PC, but it’s infinitely stronger than it was.
And now it will get stronger. Epic Games, one of the premiere game developers in the world and makers of the industry leading Unreal Engine, have decide to port said engine to Mac OS X. It’s a pretty major move for the company, which has long solely supported Microsoft’s Direct3D graphics API. Apple, of course, uses OpenGL. Yet here we are. The Unreal Engine is one of the most popular middleware engines in modern gaming, used in massively popular games like Mass Effect, Bioshock, Gears of War, and Batman Arkham Asylum. Now, perhaps these games could grace the Mac. Unreal Engine 3 is a major addition to the technology catalog needed for major games to come to Apple products.
In many ways, this is a long time coming. Epic released a modified version of their Unreal Engine last year for iOS devices, seeing the opportunity the platform provided for entering the mobile space. The first Unreal title for iOS, Infinity Blade, was a critical success. Overall, the combined might of iOS and the growing market share of OS X means that developers can’t overlook Apple anymore. Epic’s decision is a big step forward. Now, on to Crytek…..