Jeff Rosen of Wolfire Games has an intriguing post up about why developers of videogames like himself should go out of their way to support the OS X and Linux markets. Their game, Lugaru, is available on Windows, OS X and Linux, and the upcoming sequel, Overgrowth, is also being developed for OS X.
Rosen says right out that the prevailing opinion, that the smaller markets aren't worth developing for because the audience isn't there, is just plain wrong -- Mac sales accounted for a full half of Lugaru's sales. The people who are buying software, his data seems to say, are using Macs.
And he has five main points why it's worth the time and effort to release builds on these smaller platforms: you have sites like ours (and the great Inside Mac Games) to talk about your game for you. We Mac gamers respect companies that take the time to make sure we have just as great a gaming experience as our PC counterparts, and we talk about it when they do. He says that a Linux version gained them a mention on Slashdot, one place they'd likely never have been mentioned if they were "just another Windows game." And power users are often Mac users as well -- you want someone who will spend an entire night coming up with new content for your game just because they love it so much? Mac users are nothing if not disturbingly obsessive about the software they love.
Good points all around. Many game developers, both large and small, continue to scoff at the Mac markets as too small while at the same time wondering why they can't get a foothold of a community on the Internet. Of course, releasing a Mac version doesn't guarantee you higher sales and a rabid group of fans -- you have to make a good game first and foremost. But some of the most influential and insightful game players online are Mac users, and by shrugging them off as "not a big enough audience," you're shooting yourself in the foot.