Half Of Steam For Mac Gamers Play On A Macbook Pro


Macs can be used for serious gaming, mmmkay?
Macs can be used for serious gaming, mmmkay?

Steam, the online computer gaming portal, keeps track of what hardware its players are using to access the many games in its service.

Of interest in the exhaustive list of specs is the fact that 49.46 percent of Mac gamers on Steam game on a Macbook Pro. Which makes sense, of course, as that’s a pretty powerful laptop. From there, we see the iMac coming in at 28 percent, plain-jane MacBooks garnering 9.49 percent, and the MacBook Air, my personal machine, used by 6.29 percent of Mac Steam gamers. The MacBook Pro and MacBook Air both rose in the hardware charts, with an increase of .44 and .89 percent, respectively.

Another interesting note is that a 58 percent majority of Mac gamers on Steam have 4 Gb of RAM, while a large minority of 28 percent have 5 Gb or more of RAM memory. I’d have thought that it’d have been switched, of course, as RAM does affect the playability of a great many games, though not as much as the RAM in individual video cards does.

Speaking of video cards, there’s a long list of them being used in Macs to play Steam games, with (obviously) Intel HD Graphics and the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M topping the list at 17 and almost 12 percent, respectively. Below those two, however, ATI and NVIDIA cards top the charts all the way down, with nary an Intel card on the list until the bottom.

What OS are Mac gamers using to blast aliens and solve puzzles? Mainly Lion (10.7.4 at 49 percent) and Snow Leopard (10.6.8 at 31 percent), of course. Apparently, not a lot of folks are playing games if they’re not updated to the latest OS version. Both those numbers are 64 bit versions, as well. Surprised? Not us.

The largest number of Mac Steam gamers are using the standard 2 CPUs, as measured by Valve, with only a few outliers using more. Most of the Mac players have a microphone and most speak English, both of which reflect the larger Steam numbers as a whole.

Check out the full report on the Steam website, and geek out with us on the Cult of Mac forums or comments below about your own setup and whether you play Steam games on your Mac or not.

  • Christian Moesgaard

    “Macs can be used for serious gaming, mmmkay?”
    Mmmmmno. Gaming? Sure! Serious? No.

    I know a lot of people in here aren’t going to like hearing this, but if we want Apple to succeed in this market we HAVE TO tell them what’s up.

    The mouse is sluggish due to the acceleration which can be quite a hassle to turn off, few competitive games are available for it, and those that are don’t run terribly well (for example SC2, though I haven’t updated myself with ML!).

    The hardware is too low specced for serious gaming or hardware enthusiasm. Even the Mac Pro is underperforming in its best configuration compared to consumer-grade ~$1000 PC’s (in graphics, not in CPU!) – although you can help it by paying an even more stupidly huge premium by replacing the graphics card immediately after receiving the system.

    The iMac is a laptop in disguise. Their prices remain competitive, but sadly they use mobility graphics chipsets, which are generally much slower than what the PC or Mac Pro can offer. A good, dedicated graphics card is a killer feature for desktop gaming.

    This is why you see such a huge amount of MacBook Pros compared to other platforms. Other than their little fault with mouse acceleration, they are great laptop gaming systems and have the battery to go along with it. I have nothing but praise for the newest version of the MBP as far as gaming goes.

    But their desktop offerings just don’t cut it. Underspecced or overpriced, and with software that runs few games.

    This is from the perspective of a hardcore gamer. I can see why it’s great for casual gaming, but the hardcores do and should stay as far away as they can until Apple stops caring about thinness for 2 seconds and actually designs an affordable machine with great graphics.

  • TabuCoding

    Don’t forget all the hackintosh systems out there.

  • Soundcloud Forwardslash GenthenaZero

    I second the other people here. Apple really needs to up the speed of its OpenGL implementation too. Even with the same card, a Windows PC can pump out near twice the OpenGL performance in Valve’s own games. (Source:http://themacgamer.com/2010/05/28/half-life-2-performance-mac-vs-pc/)

    Add that to the fact that you have a 9400m baseline card (still the most widely used on the steam usage chart) which is appalling… 400 range cards are NOT for even ‘light’ gaming, 600’s are, and a 9-series is now 3 generations old.

    Even 320m’s were weak and thats what’s in my Mac Mini 2010, so its was a goddamn shame when I got my dollar together for a i7 Mac Mini 2011 only to find out they downgraded its graphics to a Intel HD 3000.

    I wish Apple, which I love for its attention to detail and visual quality, would put more attention into the parts that drive that quality. I want the best interface and the best graphics, not one or the other.

    (Written from my i7/560ti Hack Pro)

  • Christian Moesgaard

    Don’t forget all the hackintosh systems out there.

    They show up as Mac Pros. That kindof gives you the scope of not only Hackintoshes, but also Mac Pros. :P

  • Christian Moesgaard

    I second the other people here. Apple really needs to up the speed of its OpenGL implementation too. Even with the same card, a Windows PC can pump out near twice the OpenGL performance in Valve’s own games. (Source:http://themacgamer.com/2010/05/28/half-life-2-performance-mac-vs-pc/)

    Well actually, it’s much better in 10.7 and even better than that in 10.8. I’d argue this problem has actually been solved, though it took too long and it might be too little, too late. Linux (Ubuntu) and iOS are currently poised to gobble up the gaming industry when Windows 8 falls flat on it’s face – and we know it will… so yeah. Unless Microsoft turns around and lets people fix their Windows 8 UI, or downgrade to Windows 7, then Linux will surge. It could’ve been OS X, but Apple are making a large series of huge mistakes which prevents it.