Hmm: The App Store On Mac

By Alec Meer on October 20th, 2010 at 8:20 pm.

I was going to photoshop this onto a PC screen, but then I couldn't be bothered. Sorry

Not-PC alert! Not-PC alert! But I will make it about the PC: this I swear to you. Apple have, in another one of those creepily well-rehearsed press conferences that makes half of Twitter mistake a profit-driven mega-corporation announcing its latest way to earn a crapton of cash for some sort of love festival, announced that they’re bringing the iPhone App Store onto their Macs. What this means is that hundreds of thousands of people are about to start buying and playing games on their computers again. Just, y’know, not our personal computers.

Details on the OSX App Store are over on the frothing Engadget, if you need ‘em. Basically though, it’s like an iPhone/iPad layer on top of OSX, and is due out for Snow Leopard within 90 days (and also in the next version of OSX, Lion, when it releases next Summer).

But that’s not the point for me posting this. Instead, I’m going to foam at the mouth about the possible wider implications for computer gaming. ‘Computer gaming.’ Ah, there’s a term we don’t use anymore. I miss it.

First, spare a thought for Valve, who’ve been busily trying to corner the Mac gaming market for most of this year and have just been roundly gazumped. No doubt there’ll be a major difference between multi-gigabyte high-end games on Steam and teeny 2D things on the App Store, but I can’t imagine this announcement is anything other than a royal pain in the fleshy bits for the boys in Bellvue.

It will be interesting to see what kind of restrictions Apple put on this new endeavour, though: complicated, slow-to-download stuff seems somewhat against the App Store ethos, but on the other hand this isn’t a company to look a profit opportunity in the mouth. We’ll see.

The other issue is whether we’ll see even more indie developers flocking to the App Store now, knowing they can make something that isn’t bound to touch-screen controls and has a chance of making a ton of money without ever involving a publisher. No doubt approval processes and times will mean we won’t be bereft of insane, highly-complicated, half-broken or outrageously offensive indie titles over on PC, however: no cause for alarm. But it is, theoretically, a big shot in the arm for indie gaming – already well-bolstered by the iPhone.

But the questions which looms largest in my mind is what’s going to happen on PC. Microsoft aren’t shy about borrowing Apple’s ideas, but historically tend to be several years late to the party. They’re trying out app’n'game purchases on their wPhones Windows Phone 7s now, and you can just bet your bottomest dollar, the one covered in fluff and fingernails and stamps from 1989, that they’ll be investigating bringing something similar to Windows/PCs. A cut from every app or game sold? Of course they’ll want that. I could almost hear the screaming from Seattle when Steve Jobs announced the OSX App Store.

They’ll be working on it, for some future or perhaps even present version of Windows. And then what? Microsoft’s open-ish approach to third-party software on their operating systems means the floodgates could open to all manner of weird and wonderful games, presuming their app store knock-off wasn’t characteristically hideous and doomed. If that happens… well, I have a sense of the kind of stuff RPS might be posting about in three years’ time. Steam’s just too far ahead of everyone else to be realistically rivalled by other third party digital distribution gaming stores – but if it were one built into every copy of Windows, it’d be a different story.

Microsoft will do this. Don’t you doubt it. Google are trying to do it already, with their upcoming Chrome Web Store, but that’s primarily built into a browser that only some PC owners use. Built into Windows makes it a different story: there’s a reason Internet Explorer remains the bigger browser, despite being absolute rubbish.

But would you welcome such a store? Easier ways of finding interesting independent games, whose developers make fresh concepts and quickly, without publisher interference – but are subject to the viral-or-bust gamble on the iPhone App Store? Games being made cleaner, more robust, but possibly at the expense of complexity and mondo-graphics?

Me, I don’t know. I just know it’s going to happen, because as well as the App Store everyone’s looking at Facebook and drooling about all the money Zynga et al are making.

You might not like it. But that’s the thing about the PC, the reason it’s been around for so long: it always can and always will change with the times.

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97 Comments »

  1. Archonsod says:

    Microsoft have had an app store since Vista. Nobody ever uses it though. Hard to see why you’d want to really.

    • Archonsod says:

      Make that had. Looks like it closed down in 2009

    • Arthur Barnhouse says:

      Microsoft talked about something very similar to what Apple released today. As far as games, I’d be afraid Microsoft will require it to use Games for Windows Live.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Microsoft (badly) sell games through the (awful) games for windows live client. The service is call (take a deep breath) Microsoft Games for Windows Live Games on Demand. Just a few of the reasons it is shite: Some games are charged in MS points, some are in currency. To find out prices for some games, you need the client installed. Regional availability is all over the place (and some games tell you a price in GBP, but are then not available in the UK). When they have sales, the discounts are not very good, The range of games is very small. Most of the games sold on it use GFWL.

    • Dominic White says:

      Never thought I’d say it, but Microsoft need to start copying Apple. At least when it comes to digital distribution. Their entire Live network (and that includes Xbox, Windows and even Messenger aspects) is broken in more ways than I can count.

      iTunes has its problems, but I’ve never had it outright fail to work for me on any occasion.

    • Skurmedel says:

      iTunes is the byproduct of satan making love to a possessed goat. I’m sorry, but together with GFWL they form the Uncomplete Trinity of Doom. When they collide with GameSpy ragnarök will start.

    • Tei says:

      “Never thought I’d say it, but Microsoft need to start copying Apple.”

      If you mean make “product people” like designers and engineers the ones that run the company, I agree. In a way, Bill Gates was a “product people”… in a loose way, but It worked. In Apple, the designer is king.
      In Microsoft, the bureaucrats are kings. Recently his “web strategy czar” resigned.

      Oh.. you mean the bureaucrats to clone the apple designers work. Do you even think these people understand what is the point of the apple products?

    • The Colonel says:

      Microsoft have also historically been so greedy to get to the money they’ve never really stopped to think whether good design or product support should transfer over from the “other people’s ideas” bank.

      Not that Apple aren’t as bad. Just more competent.

    • Dominic White says:

      Exactly. Microsoft will never stop being greedy, but I could just about live with them being greedy if they were even halfway competent.

    • bill says:

      I’m not quite sure how MS failed at that. But they did.

      It should have been a sure thing – software store built in to windows that can even find games/software that suits the performance level of your PC. Almost every other embedded store has been a huge success (steam, itunes, xbox live, wii channel, etc…), but somehow MS managed to make it totally hidden, totally useless, overpriced and impossible to find.

      It should have been like on linux, where finding any software is 3 clicks and 5 minutes away – except with the reach of millions of windows PCs. Developers and publishers should have been jumping over themselves to get on it, and get a piece of what should have been a massive, locked in market.

      My parents should have been using it to find photo software, anti-virus, etc…

      Can’t work out how they messed it up so bad.

    • TheLordHimself says:

      I am not a particular supporter of Microsoft, but I would like to point out to those who mindlessly declare them as incompetent that, although not everything they do is a success, they didn’t get to a point where they control 95% or more of the PC market by making a crap product. They didn’t successfully moving into the console domain and push out two of the other serious players in the market by making a crap product. You should also look at some of their newer development tools, ignoring Silverlight, they are actually leading the way at the moment.

  2. HidesHisEyes says:

    Maybe GFWL’s store will allow smaller, app-like purchases!

    Then when it still doesn’t work out it’ll be piracy’s fault again.

  3. Daniel Rivas says:

    Everyone’s favourite “Ron Gilbert”, Ron Gilbert posted this about the whole App store thingmy:

    Step 1: Mac App Store + 3rd party apps. Step 2: User option to disallow 3rd party apps for “safety”. Step 3: Remove that option.

    I’m not happy with what I’ve seen of 10.7 because I quite like having my macbook be a computer for grownups, rather than an overpowered iPad.

    We shall see, I suppose.

    • Arthur Barnhouse says:

      That’s it for me too. It seems like the Vanguard of a completely closed off environment where Apple has final say on all products sold. I accepted this for the iPhone because for such a small device, I was comfortable with a more closed system. I don’t want this on the desktop.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Ron Gilbert’s tweet before the one DR quoted is: ‘For you Apple apologists claiming Apple will never lock down the Mac, step one is in place and you all let it happen.’

      As to MS aping Apple, probably. But, very half-assedly, like most things that don’t relate to enterprise licensing of Windows and Office.

    • Matt says:

      Despite all the conspiracy theorists on the Internet today, I really don’t think the Mac App Store is all that much to worry about. Apple keeps the reigns tight on the iOS app store because they can get away with it. And they can get away with it because they’re just so damn dominant in the mobile sphere. That’s not something that can be said about the X86 world.

      For all their growth in popularity in recent years, Apple is still very much a niche player in the broader personal computing space. Not only that, but a large reason why they remain so is because of their more limited software catalog. Limiting that software even further would be colossally stupid on Apple’s part. Not only do users not face the barriers to exit (those 2 year contracts) that they do in the mobile space, they don’t even have to buy new hardware if they decide to switch to Win7 or Linux.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      My worry, though, is that enough mac users won’t care about a more locked-in platform that the extra software revenues would make it worth it to Apple – plus they can always sell it as “it’s now even super-easier!”. Which is fine, but worries me because I would care, and I quite like OSX as it is now.

      My second preference would be an Ubuntu install, and Ubuntu also seems to have crapped the bed in the last release or so (who on earth thought the new theme was a good idea, why doesn’t this/that work any more etc etc), and I don’t really want to touch Windows for anything except games.

      Sigh. It’ll probably work out in the end, but still. Worried.

    • Arthur Barnhouse says:

      But I always wanted something like Ubuntu’s Repository manager in OS X, not this crap. Just imagine: An Apple preset Repository, you can buy and download apps from this repository. But if the creator or user wants to download from the web, there is a programming solution to add a developer controlled repository to the repositories list. Their repository list could list all of their Apps. Or a Macheist repository that is given to people when they buy the bundle. That way apps that aren’t forking money over to apple aren’t ghettoized. All of that could be transparent to the user, it would allow sales of apps, but it wouldn’t freeze out people who don’t want to work through Apple. Instead we’re getting this. . . thing.

    • Matt says:

      @Daniel Rivas

      Actually I don’t think it’s the users that flee first, but developers. If Apple starts insisting developers have to pay their 30% fee (which is much more significant in the realm of desktop software, where enterprise level licences often cost 10′s of thousands of dollars) to go through their portal, a lot of developers are just going to say, “you know what, we’ll just develop for the other 90% of the market that isn’t insane”.

      Once that happens, it doesn’t take long before OSX users start missing out on significant software innovation happening on other platforms. And from there, the users follow the exodus of the platform.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Matt,

      Yes, you’re probably right. Still, never say never, eh?

    • bastronaut says:

      @Matt

      Disagree. Apple’s problem was never because of lack of software. You’ve got it the wrong way round. Devs went to MS because of market penetration. Market penetration was not built on variety of apps. This stuff was decided long before the market was so big. Market penetration was and always will be based on one thing: price. PCs are still significantly cheaper than Macs. Macs are for wealthy people. Generally. I’m not that wealthy, but I’m a programmer, not a regular user. Used to be Macs were for designers and other special people, also a small minority of the population. Used to be that Macs were more expensive because of more specialized software suited to them. That’s not so much the case anymore; Apple is now basically a luxury brand. Such brands are always a smaller percentage of the market, but it doesn’t hurt them. And there’s no shortage of consumer software for practical purposes, except in the niches like gaming. Business is another story, but it’s just not Apple’s focus, and would be a big risk for them to pursue. Kind of pointless when they’re already seeing 50% growth every five years.

    • alantwelve says:

      An alternative view:

      Apple also announced two new, fairly low powered, Macbook Airs. OS X is ancient, clunky, dated and, frankly, Windows 7 is by far superior. Today marked the beginning of the end of Apple as a serious desktop PC manufacturer. And why should they bother when they make a staggering amount of money out of selling gadgets and shitty apps to play with on them? What’s the point of investing the time and money required to produce a desktop OS that isn’t shit compared to WIndows when there are millions upon millions of people who will pay a fortune for a well-marketed shiny toy? And if MS continue to take the desktop seriously, who knows where Windows 8 will take us – Apple don’t have the heart for that fight.

      There will be no OS 11. 10.7 or 10.8 will be the last version of the Mac OS before everything is iOS, locked down, dumbed down. And if Mac users desert Apple for WIndows/Linux, so what? Look at the success of the iPad.

    • Tei says:

      “OS X is ancient, clunky, dated and, frankly, Windows 7″

      Thats a …interesting view. OS X is built on top of Unix / NeXT. While Windows 7 is built on top of MS-DOS. Unix is, yes, older than MS-DOS, and yea, It can be described as ancient, yes, clunky, yes… dated?, I dunno. Internet is design on UNIX technologies and philosophy. Parts of it are dated. SMTP is old, lame and stupid. DNS has flaws. TCP/IP can be a burden to some applications. IPv4 has to few address for all.
      But what about MS-DOS? You will probably break a lot of applications of Windows 7, if you ever try to use hardlinks, or stream node files (NTFS streams), or some advanced use of the attributes for files. Windows 7 was built by cavemans using alien technology that don’t understand. The kernel of Windows 7 is unicode aware, but whas built on top of it is not. Is like a Ferrari with wells made of wood. The enhancements that the Windows 7 interface make to the Vista formula are minimal. And Vista is awnfull.
      Why are 256 character still the limit for some commands? cmd.exe would have problems to built something complex, …but you probably thinks that using cmd.exe is obsolete, everything must be a big, giganteous, monolitic app. Using modular design is outdated? The unix toolbox philosophy is “clunky, ancient and dated”.

      “Those who don’t understand UNIX are condemned to reinvent it”
      The kernel hackers of Windows clearly know UNIX, but very few other people understand it. You have bussines programmers building system software, and thats is a recipe for disaster.

    • alantwelve says:

      Tei:

      WIndows 7 is not built on DOS. Windows 95/98/ME were, but 200/XP/Vista/7 are descendants of NT, which was not based on DOS.

      Anyway, that’s irrelevant. I’m not talking about the history of operating systems, or trumpeting the greatness of Microsoft. I’m just acknowledging that after years of XP being the ugly, dated, messy OS to OS X’s shininess, the boot is now firmly on the other foot. WIndows 7 just works better than OS X.

      The fact is that MS, after the disaster that was Vista, made a great, usable, modern, lovely OS in WIndows 7 and it makes OS X look like the dated, clumsy mess that it is. Apple are completely focussed on what makes them most profit, and that’s iOS – the software, the hardware and their cut of the app store sales – with the Mac being increasingly irrelevant. I’m suggesting that this is the first step towards moving the Mac completely into the iOS ecosystem. Because, from a financial standpoint, it makes a lot more sense than trying, and failing, to compete with MS on the desktop.

    • alantwelve says:

      Or, put another way. Apple’s target market is no longer the designer, the artist, the musician (while I’m sceptical that the Mac ever did offer these people more than Windows, it certainly doesn’t now). It’s now the people who’ll pay $600 for a web browsing device that can’t even browse all the web. And given how many of these people there seemingly are, I can’t blame Apple in the slightest.

  4. SquareWheel says:

    Certainly an interesting move by Apple. Most app store games are absolutely junk, but there’s a few gems and Jobs intends to use them to push the platform.

  5. Sunjumper says:

    Intersting.

    I wonder if Microsoft will follow Apples lead.
    They way they dropped the PC as gaming platform and the way they seem to actively sabotage PC gaming with Games for Windows Life does not bode well.
    But should Apple start to print money with their app store Microsoft will follow.
    Yet I can’t see Microsoft making a sleek well made product, their store will probably be a desaster carried on the shoulders of heavy marketing.

    It is also really hard to guess what impact such a store would have.
    Would it lead to a wave of rubbish? Will it move niche proucts further into extinction?
    Will it serve as entry drug for new generations of ‘serious’ gamers?

    Interesting times lie ahead it seems.

  6. Solcry says:

    @Daniel Rivas

    … wait, you don’t like 10.7 because they refined the user interface? Its not like the made it less powerful or anything – your ‘grownup’ things are still intact.

    • Arthur Barnhouse says:

      No, he’s just saying it’s a worrying proposition because it could follow the formula he described. It almost seems like the Camel’s Nose of a completely closed system

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Grr, for I am a grump. I’m not to keen on this talk of app stores and more focus on full-screen apps and app app app app.

      But we shall see, as I said.

  7. Spliter says:

    I hope Valve implements something like that before Microsoft does.
    Not only because with Microsoft it’s bound to steal more money from indie devs and cost more money to the clients but also because from Microsoft’s past meddling with PC gaming (GFWL mainly) you can take that any gaming related product they’ll release is gonna be shit.
    I’d rather give money to someone that knows what to do with it.

  8. Lewie Procter says:

    I’ve said for years that Apple’s biggest missed opportunity was not wanting a cut of people wanting to play games on their Macs, especially since they’ve been raking in money from iPhone gaming. They left it pretty late, and I wonder if there is a market sector that will be forever lost to Valve.

    I don’t think developers and publishers would stand for their crazy rules on an open platform. We’ll see whether either they are more lax on osx, or whether I’m wrong.

    I’ve not looked at any of the stuff that came out of the press thingy, presumably they’re just talking about stuff for the Mac, not any windows support. I’d say Valve has them beat on that front at least.

    Also, top left icon. JOHN IS THE NEWS.

  9. Michael says:

    I like to hope and pray that this sort of thing creates healthy competition rather than developer lockouts. We’re actually to the point where android is a completely viable alternative to iphone and I would love it if mac was a completely viable alternative to windows. Because of the way business works you will end up with first party games, and the like, but competition is necessary for consumers to ultimately win. I would be very very sad if Valve got pushed out of the Mac platform.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I wouldn’t want Mac to be a good alternative. Steve Jobs is nuts. Note they may only have 9-10% of the Computer market, but everywhere else they’re pulling in tons of money.

    • bob_d says:

      @DJ Phantoon: According to Steve Jobs today, one in five PCs sold at retail in the US right now is a Mac. I’m not sure what sort of caveats are needed for that to be true, but their market share has increased significantly in recent years. They certainly have a sizable chunk of the high-end PC market.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Oh, he’s probably saying something approximating the truth. Notice he said ‘retail’. When it comes to the corporate market, Apple doesn’t exist. And that is where the real money is.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      DJ Phantoon: Nut or not, you can’t honestly say MacOS is worse off than Windows. Certainly, there are definite advantages to using Windows over MacOS but it’s the other way around in other areas.

      The best place to look for people not looking to improve profit regardless of what madness they inflict is in Linux area, probably.

      Ever since the first OSX I’ve been slowly weaned off my attachment to Apple. iTunes is.. sub-optimal, to say the least, for example. However, given that I know nothing about Linux, I get to pick Windows or MacOS.. and in that case, the choice is clear for me. I just hope that this service will encourage mac gaming instead of in the end screwing us mac gamers over by Apple’s greed.

  10. user@example.com says:

    Avadon: The Black Fortress cancelled; Jeff Vogel dead in freak cranial combustion incident after iPhone owner asked why Avernum 6 wasn’t 99c..

    I imagine nailing down the pricing will take the market a while. The app store’s settled down over the years, and the iPad and iPhone stores have different trends – adding a third one should do weird things.


    me, I just buy games, and decent games when they’re cheap, and expensive games when they’re awesome, because even the expensive games aren’t expensive for games. I don’t think too hard about the pricing, I’ve always felt that £1/hour is a reasonable target for entertainment – it generally holds trueish for books. £2/hour for special things. £whatevertheorangeboxwasdividedbytwo/hour for Portal, and it was well worth it, but most things… anyway, my point is, app store cheap, non-mobile games expensive, there will be good flamewars and drama coming from this! <3

  11. Amun says:

    Apple’s announcement leads me to believe that we’ll see the same kind of ridiculous app store rules along with the same ridiculous app store prices, but on a computer instead of a mobile device.

    In short, 99 cent fart apps on your desktop. Someone kill me now…

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Do you know how we professionals call an “app store”?
      A package management system! Like Portage. I think with 13,000 “apps” …and I mean real useful ones…, no “app store” in the world can beat that!

      But I don’t get the point of “app stores” anyway. Since you can’t own information, you can’t buy it. So either this is straight-our fraud to catch dumb people with, similar to spam e-mails. Or* just a completely pointless joke?
      If they were selling a service, it would make sense.
      ___
      * Ok, it’s too obvious there is no “or” here.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      The difference being that Red Hat and Debian don’t take 30% of revenue for every .rpm or .deb downloaded, of course.

  12. VisCount says:

    Forget microsoft; Google will launch an app store full of games soon enough.
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/comingsoon

  13. Ted says:

    they sure macs are up to spec for some of these intensive games?
    also, @Amum:
    BANG!

  14. Harley Turan says:

    Bear in mind, submission restrictions apply. See https://developer.apple.com/appstore/mac/resources/approval/guidelines.html.

    Choice quotes:

    ‘Apps portraying realistic images of people or animals being killed or maimed, shot, stabbed, tortured or injured will be rejected’

    ‘”Enemies” within the context of a game cannot solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity’

    And worst of all…
    ‘Apps that include games of Russian roulette will be rejected’

  15. BAReFOOt says:

    Stop it already! Windows is NOT the only PC OS! Hell, it’s not even a real professional OS at all! (Or it would be POSIX compatible like every other PC OS on the planet.) And Macs are just as much Personal Computers! Like the iPhone is just a crippled mobile phone, the iPod is just a cippled portable media player, and the iPad is just a crippled tablet PC.

    I thought we were professionals here. But it’s like you hate yourself, and have to support the enemy’s propaganda. :( Come on! You’re better than this! You know how things really are!

    /me, using a non-Apple POSIX-compatible OS.

    • Malcolm says:

      Totally off topic of course, but Windows has offered POSIX compatibility since NT3.5 It’s no longer installed by default (since Windows XP), but Windows Services for UNIX is a freely available add on.

    • Sir Derpicus says:

      Stop it already! x38 is NOT the only instruction set! Hell, it’s not even a real professional instruction set at all! (Or it would be RISC based like every other instruction set on the planet.) And microwaves are just as much Personal Computers! Like the radio is just a crippled cell phone, the laser pointer is just a cippled light bulb, and a paper notebook is just a manual hard drive.

      I thought we were professionals here. But it’s like you hate yourself, and have to support the enemy’s propaganda. :( Come on! You’re better than this! You know how things really are!

      /me, using a non-intel ARM-compatible processor.

  16. Nevarion says:

    App-store built into Windows OS, huh? I don’t think so sir… ok, they’ll try and get it in for a while until the EU steps on their toes again. Hmmm… considering the amount of time it took with the IE. Ah shucks! They’d be stupid NOT doing it.

  17. Harley Turan says:

    Few things to be aware of, as per App Store submission guidelines (https://developer.apple.com/appstore/mac/resources/approval/guidelines.html):

    ‘Apps portraying realistic images of people or animals being killed or maimed, shot, stabbed, tortured or injured will be rejected.’

    ‘”Enemies” within the context of a game cannot solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity.’

    And worst of all…

    ‘Apps that include games of Russian roulette will be rejected.’

    The thing is, creating a game for a small-screened touch device is simply far easier than creating a game for a full-screened multi-buttoned computer. What will the crossover between iPhone and PC games look like?

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      More Ron Gilbert nuggets of knowledge:

      The new Mac App Store guidelines uses the phrase “will be rejected” 62 times.

  18. Malcolm says:

    So this is an iPad emulator for the Mac then? How dull.

    Given Windows Phone’s Silverlight basis it would be trivial for MS to mimic it if they chose to. Can’t see why they’d bother given the resounding success of GFWL and the Vista App Store thing. They’d be better off doing offering the XBLA stuff on Windows I’d have thought (seeing as XNA is already available for the PC).

    • Lewie Procter says:

      God yes. Instead they make developers sign contracts PREVENTING them from releasing XBLA stuff on PC.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.

      I meant “They (sometimes) offer developers contracts which require either timed or absolute XBLA exclusivity, preventing PC versions.”

    • Paul B says:

      @Malcolm – Actually the way I saw it, is that the new Apple App Store is more like the Software Center in Ubuntu, in that it will be offering full apps made for OS X (but unlike Ubuntu you’ll have to pay for them). From the pics on Apple’s site it seems apps like iPhoto, iMovie & iTunes will be available to download, along with, I imagine, popular 3rd party apps. I’d be interested if the new store does enable apps to make the leap across from the iPad to OS X though.

  19. Sagan says:

    Since Google are going to release an operating system, I would imagine that the Chrome app store will soon become an app store for their operating system as well.

    Also related: The new Ubuntu version comes with an app store. It’s completely empty at the moment, but if your game uses Flash or OpenGL or a similar cross-platform technology, you could port it easily to Linux.

  20. Jimmybob says:

    Reminds me of that app store Intel made, appup: http://www.appup.com

  21. JP says:

    “Not-PC alert! Not-PC alert!”

    Whoa, whoa. I dunno if I like “PC == MSFT operating system” one bit. Can we get a ruling on that? I see no benefit to excluding our AAPL-using brethren, even if their charismatic leader is clearly going mad, or our Linux-using brethren, even if we can be a tad zealous in our advocacy.

    In the eyes of the almighty Minecraft master server, are we all not equal?

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      You, sir, are too sane for this site.

    • Vinraith says:

      Whoa, whoa. I dunno if I like “PC == MSFT operating system” one bit.

      Tell it to the Apple marketing team.

    • Sir Derpicus says:

      I thought a universal rule was that you’re not equal when you’re a minority, and that anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to not look mean.

  22. Leelad says:

    Look out L4D2….ANGRY BIRDS ARE COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nahh, popcap for macs pretty much. Anyone that matters already has a steam account. Anyone that doesn’t is either a mong (CD’s….IN A DRIVE?!?!) or doesn’t like paying for games.

  23. Leperous says:

    I already have an app-store in my OS (Ubuntu) with thousands of apps.

    Best thing of all about said apps, THEY ARE ALL FREE AND ALWAYS WILL BE.

    • Leperous says:

      Also – why is it that said app-store seems to be the only thing, apart from new themes, that Canonical ever bother updating between versions?

    • The Colonel says:

      C’mon, it’s worth it for all those pretty desktop wallpapers with animals on!

  24. Matt says:

    On the issue of Microsoft trying this out, I think they’d find themselves in anti-trust court faster than you can say “anti-competitive behavior” (Apple’s not exactly flying under the FTC’s radar these days either). People thought it was a big deal when they were telling you what you couldn’t take off your computer, just wait till they start telling you what you can’t put on it.

  25. George says:

    Ok Walker, if Meer can post about Apple’s app store here, you can definitely post about Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright.

  26. Brian Newton says:

    I don’t think there’s a big association between an “app store” and small throwaway games. The reason we see those sorts of games on the iPhone is because the platform is made for that sort of experience. Also, nobody is going to go to the store to buy a Farmville, nor are they going to download it and install it. Those bite sized experiences work because they’re quick to find and install and the platform is made for that play experience.

    So, while we might see more of those games, I don’t think there’s any reason to think it’s going to overtake full fledged gaming. Steam is, as you said, an attempt to reach the “App Store” model Apple is trying. And all it’s created is a place for indie devs to publish without the need of a publisher. Honestly, I’m for any solution that moves software away from brick and mortar and onto the internet, where it should be.

  27. DestinedCruz says:

    I’m not worried about the future of PC gaming. The reason PC gaming is always so prevalent is the ability to have games with visuals and features far ahead of the equivalents on proprietary platforms (consoles, Macs, etc.). Plus as far as the more casual market goes, the desktop PC is and always will be a far more versatile and inexpensive opponent to the Apple Macintosh (sic), and people will always want to waste their work time with games they can get on Steam and other such services.

  28. dogsolitude_uk says:

    I use Windows XP, Windows 7 and Ubuntu. I also have Steam.

    I like Steam for small game purchases. Stuff that’s under a tenner mainly. With the real AAA stuff, like The Witcher 2, or STALKER or something, I prefer to buy the biggest boxed set, complete with maps and art books, that I can find. I like boxes, books and maps.

    But for smaller games like Braid, or Indie titles like Uplink, I’m happy with Steam, and GOG now as well, especially now Baldur’s Gate is out on it.

    One of the things I like about Ubuntu is the package management system. For those who’ve never used Linux before, you just go to Applications -> Ubuntu Package Manager, and voila, you can download whatever you want, or uninstall stuff. It’s a bit like a penguiny ‘Add/Remove programs’ where you can add completely new stuff from a trusted source, and being Linux it’s free stuff, and includes practical applications and a few fun little games.

    I find it very useful when installing Linux on something to be able to just hook up to the internet and nab Netbeans, Gimp, Pychess and a bunch of other stuff straight off the bat.

    I’d very much like to do this on Windows, and Steam’s nearly there, however it would be a world of awesomness to have freeware and paid-for ‘productive’ software, stuff like Visual Studio, Photoshop, Ableton, Reaktor, Notepad++, MS Offfice readily downloadable and updateable using a repository system. It would keep everything in one place, easily updateable, and just one hell of a lot more convenient.

    [Hell, why not add stuff from BBC's iPlayer and a bunch of eBooks, movies and mp3 albums as well? Imagine being able to use the same repository thing to electronically purchase the works of HP Lovecraft, the latest Deine Lakaien album, Amnesia, and Nightwatch in HD?]

    At the moment, if you’re not careful, you can have AVG, Quicktime (spit), Java and God alone knows what else all chugging away at the same time with their own little attempts at updating themselves the moment you boot up. In theory, a centralised repository process can be configured to queue searches for updates, and stop if the server doesn’t respond with a given length of time.

    I’d just like to see a more ‘joined up’ approach on the PC, though I’m conscious that centralising this could lead to a worse-than-apple closed shop, where MS decides that David Lynch and Deine Lakien are too ‘nasty’ for my poor ickle sensitivities, and therefore will be made unavailable…

    Or maybe I’m just fed up with having to use so many different things to do the same thing, if you see what I mean.

    • Tei says:

      Linux is the perfect example that you can do both things.
      You can use the repository, or download the deb file from somewhere and do dpkg -i name.deb

      And Microsoft already did… sorta. Microsoft MSI installers seems to be the windows .Deb/.RPM package. Installing and uninstall MSI packages sould be (in theory) as clean as installing Deb packages.

      But microsoft is too stupid, and ugly, and commanded by bureacrats to do the right thing. Just look to GFWL to his idea to help people.

  29. mandrill says:

    erm. I have one word for you re windows having a windows ‘app store’ built in: Antitrust.

    Microsoft got royally slapped for uncompetitive behaviour by bundling IE with every copy of Windows and were told to stop by many people. I think Valve should be fueling up their lawyers now (the same might be said of making the apple app store available on macs)

    Or, Valve could fight back. Offer indie developers a better deal than either. If I judge the majority of them correctly they’re not interested in getting tied to either of the OS behemoths and going with Valve would mean that they had dodged that bullet.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      For my part I’d be happy for Valve to start selling eBooks, films, mp3 albums and licenses/downloads for productivity software too, although I’m not entirely sure I’d feel comfortable shelling out £400 for Expression Studio knowing Valve’s current licensing system… I’d definitely want to be able to backup the software and reinstall, and/or use without net connection if Valve’s servers go kaput… I could live with losing the £3 I paid for Uplink, not £200 for Reaktor 5.5!

  30. cliffski says:

    I find the whole prevelance of portals and app stores depressing, Especially when people say “look, an app store, you don’t need a publisher!”. I already don’t need a publisher, and the portal will take 30% of my sales money, making them 100% as bad as a conventional publisher anyway.

    I am 100% convinced that Microsoft are working on doing something similar, and absolutely agree with those fears that apple will disallow non-approved games even running on their O/S soon. Effectively, you let steve jobs decide what games you are allowed to buy.

    Fuck that.

    If we ever get into a situation where Microsoft require an approvals process for me to sell games on windows, I’m changing careers. The idea that people who run app stores know what games are going to be a hit is an absolute joke.
    Will Wright couldnt even get his own company to believe in The Sims, during development. Minecraft is not on any app store, and is making millions. Myself, I’ve sold tens of thousands of games direct to gamers without any app store owner taking a cut.

    PC Gamers should be very wary of sleepwalking into a locked-in walled system for gaming.

    • subedii says:

      I suspect “lock-in” is the future unfortunately, whether we like it or not. Everyone platform owner wants their cut of the profit, and they’ll do what they can to achieve it.

      Ultimately it all comes down to marketing, and really, it’s hard to argue how successful Apple are at marketing, given the zealous following their products sometimes evoke. “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” may have eventually wandered completely into smug and fictitious (as opposed to merely annoying and disingenuous), but people still loved them and it was arguably one of Apple’s most successful marketing campaigns, something that even entered into popular culture.

    • Vinraith says:

      I suspect “lock-in” is the future unfortunately

      Sadly, I’m forced to agree. People in general lack both the long term vision and the capacity for self-denial that would be necessary in a majority of the market to prevent such a thing.

    • Tei says:

      Again.
      You sould probably write a article on your blog about your experience with BTMICRO, etc.. a “How-to” like article.

      Never expect other people to be “geeks”, you will be surprised how much people think like users, even some of your indie dev friends!. If you make a easy to use tutorial, some of these people will look at it like something possible. Now probably think about it like a black-box.

  31. Bassism says:

    To be honest, I see the app store seeing more use for, well, apps than games. There isn’t really such a thing there for apps as it is (or anywhere, unless you count package managers).

    But I’m sure that games will be a large part of it all. Much like everybody and their grandmothers is obsessed with angry birds and/or fruit ninja on their iphone/ipod, I could see people downloading some game or other and finding they enjoy it. I would have thought we’d all be happy to see a new service that can lower the barrier of entry for people into playing indie games. I mean, for a non-gamer, the idea of downloading steam and looking for games is kind of difficult. But say somebody is buying a new calendar app or whatever, and they see a link for “fighter planes 2!”, click on it, and buy it since they’re a huge war history buff. All of a sudden some guy that thought computer games were nerdy has become a gamer…

    And it’s worth keeping in mind that Apple offers a better split to devs than Steam, and most of their devs have positive experiences with their app store. I don’t see how anything bad can come from this, and quite possibly a lot of good for indie devs.

    Also, calling it an iphone layer over os x is pretty much wrong. It will still be selling regular os x software. So games like the things in the humble indie bundle, and all the other devs smart enough to make cross-platform software can throw their stuff right up. I don’t think that the question of bandwidth is a problem either, since a number of games and apps on the iphone are up around a gig themselves.

  32. bastronaut says:

    This development was predicted by Mac developers and Apple watchers a long time ago. Forgone conclusion, really, as it extends Apple’s perpetual need to control the experience into the more chaotic desktop realm.

    There’s no reason to assume that the Mac App store will be full of any particular kind of app, let alone that the games will all be 2D slapdashery or whatever. There’s every reason to expect that Aspyr and Feral and other major publishers and developers will want to be on there for the marketing potential alone. Of course it requires adhering to much stricter requirements than Steam. Fortunately it will be one of many distributions systems, at least until signing your app via the app store becomes mandatory.

    As a Mac developer whose primary interest is in games and creative apps and other complex and deep applications, not in easy-peasy lemon-squeezy apps for n00bs and grandma, I find this sort of move by Apple to be patronizing, but the voices of those like me are absurdly small and drowned out by the big players.

    As for games, the Mac will never be a big platform for serious or even casual gamers, but at least it’s become respectable (more-or-less, not counting bad drivers) since the switch to Intel which made porting PC games dramatically easier, especially with the likes of Cider.

    As for the App store being an iOS “skin” on top of Mac OS, well, not exactly, but they are trying to borrow some of them new user experience from iOS for better or worse, though personally I think it looks fucking stupid. Apple has no idea what to do with the desktop anymore. I’m not sure anybody really knows. They should just focus on good tools and libraries and get the hell out of people’s way, I think, but I’m nobody.

  33. Sunjammer says:

    I both applaud it and wish Apple a happy voyage up its own corporate anus. It’s a prick company run by a huge prick that has done little but make prick half-true statements ever since he returned to save the sinking ship.

    Regardless of my personal feelings on the matter, it’s sort of brilliant. I feel bad for all the third party Mac software vendors (they do exist) that now find themselves completely short-circuited by Apple themselves. It’s not like they were happy to begin with. Now what? The primary concern here for develoeprs, obviously, is the 70/30 split Apple requires. For anyone taking themselves somewhat seriously, 30% off your profit is a huge sum.

    I dunno. We’ll see. I like how Macs are becoming some sort of Space Computers that do things utterly differently in the name of a religion. Because that is what it is at this point.

    In other news, I’m a huge fan of Steve Jobs statement that Flash is bad because it is closed and HTML5 is good because it is open, but then Android is bad because it is open and iOS is good because it is closed. The man is a brilliant bullshitter. I bet he’d be a riot to get drunk with.

  34. Ybfelix says:

    Uh, i don’t have an iphone so not exactly sure how this works? Apps are programs, right? It means Apple now become a publisher of programs, right?

  35. sventoby says:

    if you’re dumb enough to buy a mac you’re dumb enough to spend money in the app store

  36. malkav11 says:

    Someone saying that an app store will make it easier to find cool indie games has clearly never used the app stores on iOS or Android.

  37. bildo says:

    Couldn’t Microsoft and Valve just cut a deal to include STEAM in the next version of windows, instead of making a useless app store for windows 7?

    Microsoft will need a coherent, consistent and reliable platform to compete with Apple. Steam is all of those in one nice, small package. I don’t see how this would be difficult to work out such a deal.

  38. Fritzy says:

    Agreed. The author has completely missed the point. This is NOT an iPad layer on top of OS X. They are incorperating some iOS-like things in the next release, and the app-store is one of them, but it will be for OS X software, not for iOS software. This is not some iPad VM.

    I imagine they expect developers and publishers that currently distribute OS X software to let them have a share of the profits for including it in their app-store… it is nothing more than that. Just a way to have more visibility on your already existing OS X App.

    This article is wrong, wrong wrong!

    • Skurmedel says:

      If you’d bothered to read, you would learn that whether it’s a iOS skin or not is totally beside the point he’s making.

  39. pkt-zer0 says:

    Possibly relevant: Tommy Refenes on the iPhone AppStore

  40. mbp says:

    I disagree that this is bad news for Valve. At the moment there aren’t enough games available for the Mac for anyone to seriously consider it as a gaming platform. Valve may be the biggest fish in the pond but it is a very small pond. Anything that increases the Macs credibility as a gaming platform can only help to grow the market as a whole and to help make more money for Valve.

    • Heynes says:

      I sincerely hope it at the very least forces Valve to step up it’s game in the Mac platform. My limited experience with Steam on a Macbook Pro w/ Snow Leopard ranged from horrible to non-existent – mostly in that I’ve only actually got Steam to start up about half a dozen times since release (with the rest of the times resulting in quick crashes right after logging in).
      Fortunate for me, I still have a beefy Windows desktop as my main gaming platform, but I can definitely sympathize for what an awful experience it may be for the Mac only “gamers.”

  41. Michel says:

    So when you say this website is about PC gaming you really just mean Windows gaming? Why not cover Windows and OSX games? It’s not like there are exclusive Mac games anymore. The “personal computer” is now synonymous with “desktop computer”. This brand/platform loyalty stuff is just tired.

  42. david W says:

    Begone fould fruit based demon!
    The power of PC compels thee!

  43. sfury says:

    If Microsoft do try to integrate heavily such a store in Windows how long before all the other digital stores team up and sue them wherever possible and they get another 1+ billion bill and order to make it optional (from the EU at least)?

    Apple has (mostly) gotten away with such stuff so far because they dont have a monopoly (monopolous? …oh hell) share on their markets (except maybe mp3 players), but it will be tough job for M$. Even without taking in account that they tend to screw up almost everything they get their hands on lately. …except, you know, Xbox, but they are a whole different division and story anyway.

  44. stahlwerk says:

    The Sun/Oracle Java Virtual Machine implementation provided by Apple was deprecated and will not be updated beyond the current state, and it might even not be part of Lion. the long story here

    “Java,” I here you say “who even uses that any more?”

    Oh, there’s this one-man indie game that you might have heard of. Not saying it won’t be playable in 10.7, but it seems there will be hoops to jump through like installing OpenJVM or other JVMs, which may not be as performant as the Sun JVM, or implement all the libraries needed for the game.

  45. pupsikaso says:

    M$ just released their answer:
    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/31066/Microsoft_Revamping_Games_For_Windows_Digital_Storefront.php

    It’s as bad as we all expected. Oh well =(

  46. cassus says:

    If the steam and app store thingies make big name developers start making games for macs, I’m most likely going to chuck my PC out the window. Only reason I have a PC is gaming. If I could make do with one computer, it would definitely be a Mac.

    People who hate macs should try to use their winpc’s for stuff like music production. Once the audio drivers in Winvista/7 have crapped out 3 times in the last hour, you’re pretty much done with being creative for a few days. Nothing sucks more than instability and general crappiness if you want stuff done. Next time you need to do some work on your pc, get a couple of hours into it, then pull the cord without saving and start over again. Awesome, isn’t it?

    I don’t hate windows, but I do prefer macs, and windows can only improve by competition, right now it’s sitting pretty, but if macs actually became gaming capable because publishers started releasing stuff, then MS would have to up their game. Everyone wins.

  47. Winni says:

    “Steam’s just too far ahead of everyone else to be realistically rivalled by other third party digital distribution gaming stores – but if it were one built into every copy of Windows, it’d be a different story.

    Microsoft will do this. Don’t you doubt it. ”

    I doubt it. If Microsoft built this thing into Windows, they’d be drowning in anti-trust lawsuits – again. Apple only gets away with this – for now – because they only have a small market share.