Endangered: Aspyr to Discontinue Support for Snow Leopard

In a blog post on GameAgent, Aspyr announced that it would be “phasing out” support for OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) in its games once OS 10.9 (Mavericks) is officially released:

This means all future releases of Aspyr games, as well as any patches and updates for existing Aspyr games, will no longer work on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). To continue to play the latest Mac games, we recommend upgrading your computer or operating system to the latest version of OS X.

Apple has been known to put pressure on developers to take this approach each time it updates its OS, so that Apple users are encouraged to always be using the latest OS (and hardware). It’s common for each new version of Xcode, the software for creating Mac applications, to only produce applications that are compatible with the two latest operating systems:

Each new version of an operating system that Apple releases contains significant changes that Mac developers must adapt to. Reacting to the quickly changing OS environment on the Mac requires non-trivial resources, meaning Mac developers must make decisions about how to invest these resources.

Largely, this technique works. By Aspyr’s estimates, only 8% of gamers are using OS 10.6 right now, and they expect that number to drop further once Mavericks is released (expected to be this month). Steam’s hardware survey on the other hand shows this figure to be at least 14%, so I imagine there will be some people out there who will not be pleased by this move.

Aspyr go on to make suggestions such as disabling automatic updates for games in Steam and the Mac App Store, but to be honest, these are all easier said than done. Several games, including Jedi Knight and Call of Duty will need to be updated as soon as the new OS is released in order to remain compatible. Naturally, this situation is made much worse due to the opposite situation with games such as Assassin’s Creed II actually requiring Mac gamers to stick with an older OS. That said, for some of you, now might be a good time to at least think about upgrading to 10.8, while you still can.

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