Ten Years Ago: "Halo is the Name of This Game."

In 1999, Bungie was probably the best-known studio developing specifically for Macintosh, having delivered titles like Marathon, Myth, and Pathways Into Darkness. At Macworld 1999, Steve Jobs introduced the studio's next big Mac exclusive: Halo.

Within a year, Bungie would be bought out by Microsoft and Halo would become a launch title that, more than any other game, made the Xbox viable in its infancy. Although Jobs had sworn that Apple had "put an initiative in place to get games back to the Mac," the new console project and Microsoft's commitment to it seemed a much more stable environment than remaining the lone standard bearer of gaming on the Mac.

People argue the Halo franchise's innovation and significance, or lack thereof, all the time. What isn't disputable is its place in history to these two companies, as the catalyst for the fortunes of one and the persistent listlessness of another, at least in gaming. I often wonder if Macintosh really could have evolved into a serious gaming platform, using OpenGL, with Halo as a leadership title. And I wonder what would have happened with the Xbox - if anything could have matched the impact of Halo on that console, or if Microsoft would have simply developed another multiplayer FPS with which to stake its claim in the market.


Above is Steve Jobs' keynote introduction of Halo on July 21, 1999 at Macworld Expo in New York. The game had been given a closed-door screening at E3 earlier that year. This is its public debut.

Eventually, Halo would make it to the Mac. In 2003.

Halo ... On the Mac? [YouTube]

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I think its nonsense that that gaming is smaller on the mac and the uprise of the 360 when looking at halo or the raise of the ps platform when looking at final fantasy 7 is all attributed to one game "causing it".

Sure, back then many including me felt like that, cause it was a game getting a lot of buzz going and then it felt huge when that game or company switched to support a platform.

But at the end of the day unless its about a mega publisher, just one company switching platforms doesn´t change the whole console battle.

Even if games by that one company sell 5 or 6 millions.

When looking at why the playstation platform took the lead over the n64 then the biggest reason is better third party support for the playstation compared to Nintendo, so not just support by one company but really lots of em.

And that came because Nintendo had very restrictive oppressive rules for publishing on Nintendo platforms and distributing games on cds/dvds for the playstations was a much less costly and risky option, next to allowing games with way more and way bigger art assets without paying huge sums for the storage space.

Sega at the same time disqualified themselves by releasing one not selling addon hardware after the other and then when most already lost interest in supporting their platform they came out with the dreamcast which was a nice hardware by itself but way too different and wrongly timed and marketed to have any chance.

With the xbox it was there at the right time with the right push behind it, piracy on the pc was growing biggger and bigger and to many previously pc hardcore gamer content focussed companies it was a welcome alternative to release their content on the xbox, what with the similar architecture allowing comparable easy ports, less piracy going on and also money support by MS easing many in some more.

One can see to this day with the 360 compared to PS3 why its so important that games are easy to port from one platform to the other, due to pc and 360 architecture being so similar games can e ported between those easily and the additional effort needed to port them to the ps3 often makes multi platform titles look and run worse on the ps3.

So yeah, to sum up, in our memories its nice to glorify a game to have single handedly changed the console history but when looking at it in more detail its usually many causes, not a single one changing all at once.

Sure halo and ff7 were important games of their times, but they haven´t single handedly changed everything alone.