Salon on Mac Gaming
11:50 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story
Salon.com today posted an interesting article by Daniel Drew Turner on the unusual success of the Mac game publishing business: a success, Turner writes, the extent of which is often underestimated:
Getting a handle on exactly how many games for the Mac are sold is something like determining the current whereabouts of the Holy Grail....Turner goes on to describe the benefits of a business model focused on the Mac for producing, distributing and selling Mac-specific titles:
Few tracking companies note Mac game sales. And even those that do, such as NPD Intellect, conjure up numbers that appear to ignore the basic realities of the Mac market. NPD Intellect regularly puts out lists of the top ten sellers in various software categories with numbers gathered from retail store sales....
Though Apple has in the last two years made a push back into the retail space... the vast majority of sales of Apple hardware and software has been through catalog and online retailers such as MacMall, MacWarehouse, Outpost.com and even Apple's own online store... None of these are polled by NPD Intellect, nor are the individual companies, which often sell product directly from their own Web sites.
As a result, while the market for Mac games apparently supports the expansion of developers and publishers, who all claim strong sales, NPD Intellect numbers for the third quarter of 2001 show a drop of unit sales from 103,000 in the same quarter last year to 59,000 this year. Something's not right, especially when two Mac game publishers contacted for this article casually mentioned they each had titles that sold over 30,000 units.
What's more, notes [IMG editor-in-chief Tuncer] Deniz, this works out well for both the original PC and the contracted Mac publishers. By handing off to the Mac-centric companies, say, the work to bring Tony Hawk: Pro Skater 2 to the Mac, "Activision gets a nice check from Aspyr and doesn't have to worry about the porting, the publishing, the marketing, etc," says Deniz. "Aspyr, on the other hand, makes a decent profit since their overhead costs are low (it's a small company of about ten people or so), they have really good distribution in the Mac market, and know how to market the product in a Mac world."The article concludes by examining the effect of Mac OS X on the Mac games market. For the full text, head on over to Salon.com via the link below.
Salon: Playing games with Apple
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