I hate consoles. I really, really do. The “whys” are way too many to list. Suffice to say that the core reason is what consoles have done to games in general (read dumb them waaaay down). Well that and Deus Ex 2. I will never forgive the X box for blasphemy like that. But what I hate more than consoles is Macs. Don’t get me wrong now, I’ve got nothing against Mac users or all of Apple’s devices (I’m currently on my 4th iPod), but I do hate the whole “we are the best and anyone who disagrees is a moron so fuck you” attitude. Hence, I was a little taken aback at Valve’s decision to support the Mac with their new Steam (beta) client. The state of PC gaming being what it is, i.e., vibrant but not as economically viable as a platform, I saw the decision as negative. Why you ask? After all, since all Macs are essentially PCs now, it should be seen as positive step for the PC games industry. Sure. There is just one little problem.
Macs are CONSOLES!!!
Think about it, once you buy a Mac, you have a piece of hardware that you can NEVER upgrade (Sorry Mac fanboys, upping the RAM or HDD isn’t much to shout about). Just like consoles. You can add tons of peripherals, but never upgrade. Again, just like consoles. But once the nerd rage played itself out, I realized something; Valves decision is actually going to be a good thing. My hatred for consoles notwithstanding, there are some genuine reasons as to why they dictate the direction of the games industry. It’s a lot easier to code for a platform that is “locked”. The hardware stays unchanged, the core OS is the same, the same tools are used over and over again till developers become very efficient with them. On the consumer end, it’s a lot simpler to hook up a PS3 to a TV than it is to keep track of which driver is compatible with a game on whatever version of windows. And plopping in a DVD and playing is always better than having to wait for 10 gigs of data to be installed on a hard drive. If anything, its always boggled my mind that the Mac has never taken advantage of its unique position. The power of a PC along with the convenience of a console? That’s got to be a win right there.
The point is I don’t care what platform I’m playing on. The games are all that matter. I want to be able to actually use my skills and headshot an opponent than have the stupid program “assist” me. I like having the option of binding any of a keyboard’s 104 keys to any in-game action. I expect any game I purchase to take full advantage of modern tech rather than be hampered by the limitations of 5 yr old hardware. I demand that the game have some semblance of AI rather than shit like this.
As long as developers are not forced to gimp their titles because of hardware, I’ll be happy.