How to: Use Steam natively on a Mac

Steam logoOne of the only major disadvantages of switching to Mac is that there are far fewer games available for OS X than Windows. For example, Steam is a hugely popular gaming application on Windows which allows users to download and update an array of great games from developers Valve – the makers of Half Life.

Sadly it’s not available on Macs and usually, the only way to use it on a Mac is to install a virtual environment such as Parallels, VMware or boot in Windows using Bootcamp.

However, the former is expensive and usually results in poor game performance and of course, both methods require purchasing Windows. It’s far better – and cheaper – to run games natively in OS X if possible. But how?

That’s where CrossOver Games comes-in. CrossOver Games is based on what’s known as the “Wine” platform which means it allows you to play Windows games on Mac (or Linux) computers without purchasing a copy of Windows. Best of all, it’s only around $40 which is a snip compared to buying a virtual environment or Windows. CrossOver Games comes from the same makers of CrossOver which allows you to run many Windows applications on your Mac in a virtual environment. The advantage of CrossOver Games however is that it squeezes every last drop out of the Wine platform in order to handle the demands of games.

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The app is designed for those with little technical knowledge and holds your hand throughout the setup process. You should be up and running within a matter of minutes. It won’t work for all games but the good news is that all the major ones – such as World of Warcraft, Half Life and the Steam platform, work perfectly and have been awarded “platinum” status for their stability on the Wine platform. You can find a full list of the specific games that work within Steam (most of which have been awarded at least silver status) here.

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If you’ve been disappointed by gaming using a virtual environment or with Boot Camp and only miss Windows for gaming, CrossOver Games is a great solution.

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