PC Gamer Secrets According to Valve’s Steam Network

You can tell a lot from a gamer’s hardware. And in the gaming world, nobody knows more about the platforms on which PC gamers run their games than the Steam game distribution network. In 2000, Half-Life was one of the best-rated, best-selling games of all time. Created by Valve, it was distributed through traditional retail channels. When it came time to release the sequel, however, Valve went direct. Using the Steam platform — Steam’s desktop software handles game registration, purchasing and patching, sort of like an iTunes for gamers — Valve distributed its game directly to consumers.

Traditional game publishers weren’t happy. But the resulting legal battle between Valve and Vivendi was ultimately won in Valve’s favor. Today, the Steam network lists 259 titles, and delivers games to roughly 1.3 million users. The distribution model has also revitalized veteran games like Deus Ex, as well as breakout indie titles such as Portal, Ragdoll Kungfu and Audiosurf. In January, the company launched Steamworks, a set of publishing and development tools with gameplay and sales analytics built in. And on March 17, Epic announced that it would distribute its Unreal series on the Steampowered network.

One of the things the Steam agent does is collect data on gamers’ systems. Since 2004, Valve has published these statistics periodically. They represent a snapshot of the world’s gaming desktops, detailing everything from language to video cards to storage space.

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Aspyr’s d20 Hits The Mark With Neverwinter Nights 2 Port to OS X

Neverwinter Nights 2With the move to Intel Macs, Apple set the stage for increased gaming opportunities and went so far as to promise OS X users more titles to choose from since they are “working closely” with the premier development houses to ensure OS X is considered a first-run target operating system. While some gaming companies have chosen the Cider/Cedega Win32 API “wrapper” route, others turn to companies like Aspyr to help them port games directly to the Mac platform, which is what Atari has done with the release of Neverwinter Nights 2 for OS X (official Atari NWN2 site).
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Spore for Mac releasing simultaneously with PC version

Spore for Mac

Spore, the game of origin, evolution, and life, is now officially slated to released simultaneously with its PC counterpart.

Spore has had a number of release date delays and its future with the Mac platform was initially uncertain. It being one of the most anticipated games of the decade makes this a huge announcement for Mac users who are interested in the game.
Used in previous EA Mac games, TransGaming’s Cider Portability Engine will also be used in the Mac version of Spore.
No word yet on an actual date…just “later this year”.
Hat tip: TUAW