I love my MacBook (2008, aluminum, Intel processor with the low-end nVidia chipset). I don't like running Windows. I don't want a Windows Bootcamp partition, because I found I never used it. (I really only used it for Oblivion, and even then stopped eventually because I enjoyed it more on the XBox, and hated the reboot-into-Windows process.)

I'm using WINE to run Fallout and Fallout 2, with great success. I also have the Steam client, which I've used to get Portal and a second copy of Civ IV (+ addons, mostly so I didn't need the DVD with me).

What I want to know is, can I buy a Windows game from the Steam client for the Mac, and then run it via WINE? If so, do I need to take any special precautions? (For instance, my current winecfg emulates a 640x480 desktop to enable Fallout and Fallout 2.)

  • 1
    This might be a better superuser or linux question, as it is more concerned with the implementation of WINE than Steam (as Steam is just a launcher for the executable, which can instead be launched directly). Don't double post right away though, as someone here might have the answer. That is to say, you might get a better answer there, but this is on topic here.
    – tzenes
    Aug 31, 2010 at 1:56
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    @tzenes: I recognized the gray area nature right away. I think because it's 100% gaming-related that SU would shut it down, and rightfully so. OTOH, because it's way more about WINE and Steam than the games themselves, I wouldn't blame anyone here for closing, either. Thank you for the encouragement on it being on-topic here; that makes me feel a bit better about posting it! :)
    – John Rudy
    Aug 31, 2010 at 2:16
  • 2
    I believe this is certainly on-topic, as gaming-related. I also consider this a very good question. Sep 5, 2010 at 0:52

3 Answers 3


Unfortunately, I don't believe Steam for OS X will let you even download a Windows app you buy through Steam. I suppose you could drag and drop the game files, and then restore the game from the copied files, but I'm not sure whether that works between platforms.

And because Steam usually tries to launch all Steam games itself (at least on Windows), I don't think it would be possible to force a game to run under Wine unless Steam itself consents. You may be able to run non-DRMed games directly by double-clicking the executable, but I am unsure about this.

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    However, you can run the Steam for Windows client through WINE and download them that way.
    – user2974
    Sep 1, 2010 at 15:29
  • You can also use SteamCMD to download the files if you don't want to install Steam through Wine.
    – SilverWolf
    May 1, 2019 at 23:25

I would recommend installing PC Steam on your Mac. Using Wine, it allows you to download PC versions of your games and run them regularly through Wine. I've attempted this for Torchlight II, but YMMV depending on the game.

First, install winetricks and Steam dependencies:

  1. Save http://www.kegel.com/wine/winetricks as a file named winetricks, in ~/wine/bin or wherever wine is saved.
  2. Navigate to the directory you saved it in in Terminal and type "chmod +x winetricks".
  3. In that same Terminal window, type "winetricks tahoma" and let it run, and afterwards "winetricks flash". Flash might try install twice; let it install both times.

Then install Steam.

  1. Download the Steam installation MSI for Windows.
  2. Navigate to your Downloads folder in Terminal and type "wine start SteamInstall.msi". If an "installation ended prematurely" error pops up, ignore it, it should be fine.

And finally, run Steam.

  1. Navigate to the folder where Steam.exe is located in Terminal (probably ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Steam) and type "wine Steam.exe" into Terminal.
  2. Wait for Steam to update, and log in as you would normally.

To run games, download them via PC Steam. Dependencies should install to the Wine folders.

Alternatively, you can use Winebottler. It's essentially the same process, but packaged. I haven't used it myself, so I'm afraid I can't elaborate on details, but it appears to be viable.

  • 6
    Please add the relevant details to your answer. Saves people a click, and if anything happens at the link, your answer is still alright.
    – Frank
    Jul 16, 2013 at 19:28
  • Would those last two lines be satisfactory?
    – ian5v
    Jul 17, 2013 at 2:51
  • Well, no. If the link disappears, does this still answer the question? If the answer is no, then it's not satisfactory.
    – Frank
    Jul 17, 2013 at 3:06
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    Indeed! We try to add at least something original to answers, rather than just straight up copying and pasting, so hopefully you can manage to add something to it beyond what's at the link. Definitely keep the link, though! Attribution is important.
    – Frank
    Jul 17, 2013 at 3:40
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    @Ian I think that works now. :)
    – Riking
    Jul 17, 2013 at 17:58

The answer to your question about playing the game in your WINE is yes. Any Steam game you buy is yours and you can only buy it once, and with the new developments now, all steam games you buy can be accessed in your pc and your mac(including the save files! :O )

As for the special precautions, I don't actually know about that, but can't you just install steam in your mac?(or is the video card really that low?)

  • I have the Mac client of Steam installed already; I suppose I could install the Win client on WINE as well, I was just hoping to get around that. :)
    – John Rudy
    Aug 31, 2010 at 16:13
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    Not all games available through Steam run on Mac OS X. In some cases, the game is not SteamPlay enabled, which means Steam doesn't offer the Mac version, in other cases, there is no Mac version of many of the games on Steam. Obviously, for those games for which a Mac native client is available, via SteamPlay, that's the best option for accessing them. Aug 31, 2010 at 16:19

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