Mac users haven't always had the easiest run of things in the gaming world. Early on, the computer gaming landscape was dominated by PCs, and even now fans are seeing fewer AAA games ported to MacOS than other systems. Apple have done its best to claw back market share, though, especially with its successes in the mobile sector, and a new lightweight app from Steam looks set to help with that.
Apple fans rejoiced back in 2010 when Valve announced that a MacOS version of the Steam client was incoming, but the road since then has had its bumps. By many accounts, the MacOS version of Steam has a reputation for being a little clunky and unintuitive, taking up a less-than-ideal 1GB of space. Steam's newly-released MacOS app for its Steam Link service, however, should help with that considerably.
Steam Link started its life as a dedicated piece of hardware designed to stream Steam content from a computer to another connected device like a phone or a tablet, offering support for a Steam or other MFi controller to boot. The Steam Link box itself was discontinued in 2018, but the service lives on in app form. Initially released for Android and iOS, the app is also available for some smart TVs and, as of this month, Linux and MacOS, meaning that Mac users no longer need to struggle with the main Steam client to play their favorite games.
Of course, it's not quite as simple as all that in practice. Players will still need a computer, preferably a reasonably hefty gaming rig to get the most out of the system, to run Steam from, even if they end up streaming it to their Mac, so it's not exactly an inexpensive option. Still, the versatility of Steam Link means that once everything is all set up, users will be able to play their games from pretty much anywhere, whether on their phone, their Macbook, or their TV.
Considering some of the troubles that Apple has had in positioning Mac as a viable gaming system, Steam Link may well seem an attractive option to those wishing for a smoother experience playing games on their Mac. Indeed, with some games ending Mac support altogether and the fallout of the Apple/Epic Games legal showdown still to be seen, perhaps it's a good idea for users to see their Mac more as a streaming device than a dedicated gaming machine.
Still, it's not all doom and gloom for Mac aficionados. Massively popular Viking survival game Valheim may be coming to Mac sometime soon, while big names like Baldur's Gate 3 have also been released for the system. Meanwhile, Apple Arcade continues to be a solid outlet for inventive and creative indie developers, so there are still plenty of options for gamers on Mac even if they don't want to make the move to Steam Link.
The jockeying between Apple and Epic Games continues as both ready for a trial, recently bringing Valve into the legal battle against its will. Meanwhile, the presiding judge over the case has consistently shown that she's taking this case seriously. Rightly so, as this case has the ability to dramatically shake up digital distribution, which affects every gamer, developer, and publisher with a hand in the industry.
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