MacSoft is releasing Myth III and Civilization III at Macworld Expo. Both much-anticipated titles should reach the UK in the next few weeks, where distribution is handled by Softline.
MacSoft's product manager Al Schilling was enthusiastic about the releases. He said: "Civilization II has been one of our best-selling Mac titles. We've sold in excess of 50,000 units of the game."
Myth III is also promising. Schilling said: "We've been getting emails every day, asking about the games progress, it's an incredible reaction." The Myth series, originally developed and published by Mac-games-industry legends Bungie Software, quickly acquired a large community of gamers. With Bungie's acquisition by Microsoft for Xbox development, ownership of this franchise was passed on, and the series is now published by Infogrames subsidiary MacSoft.
Online Myth One of Myth's greatest features was the ability for players to compete against others in online games on the Bungie.net servers. Myth and Myth II addicts were up in arms early autumn, when Bungie.net's servers went AWOL for several weeks. "Bungie doesn't really exist any more," said Schilling. "We wanted to ensure gamers could continue to engage in online games. So, in Myth III we offer the same features, though now we use GameSpot's servers, rather than Bungie.net."
The company's got other products in the pipeline, too. Schilling said: "We are preparing Master of Orion III, and this has real time space combat in it." In the coming months, MacSoft will also publish Max Payne (in development by Westlake Interactive), and Stronghold, a castle-building simulation currently being built by a UK developmental company. Other projects are also slated, though Schilling wouldn't be drawn.
X advantage Mac OS X support is entering all the company's products. Schilling claimed: "We are absolutely committed to OS X. All our future releases are going to be Carbonized to run on the platform. The more work we do with it, the more little advantages we discover. For example, Civilization III uses OS X's graphics technology, Quartz, for 2D text – and it just looks fantastic. Of course, games load much faster, and the platform's more stable."
Many industry observers expected a new wave of mature gamers to join the gaming community as titles, such as Scrabble, appeared last year. Schilling seemed reserved about this, saying: "We'd like to see more mature gamers, however, it seems many mature Macintosh users get a Mac just to browse the Web and use email. They don't get deeply involved in a Mac lifestyle, so I don't think they are aware of the existence of such titles. They don't know, for instance, that they can play Scrabble online against friends and relatives around the world."
PC world Games for the Mac remain at a disadvantage in distribution, compared to their PC counterparts. "The big retail outlets want to make so much money per foot of retail space," revealed Schilling. He added: "The Mac's got five per cent of the market. PC games consume the other 95 per cent. I keep on trying to make the larger chains carry Mac games, but they only see the bottom line.
"It's hard to get past this. What we would really like to do is get information about our products to people who don't necessarily know they want to play Mac games."
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