Valve confirms Steam for Mac

Game delivery outfit Valve announced today that it will bring Steam, Valve's gaming service, and Source, Valve's gaming engine, to the Mac.

Steam and Valve's library of games including Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series will be available in April.

The move, which has long been rumoured, will be welcomed by Mac gamers who have long been seen as second class citizens by their PC-toting brethren.

"The Mac is a great platform for entertainment services," said Gabe Newell, President of Valve.

"Our Steam partners, who are delivering over a thousand games to 25 million Steam clients, are very excited about adding support for the Mac," said Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve. "Steamworks for the Mac supports all of the Steamworks APIs, and we have added a new feature, called Steam Play, which allows customers who purchase the product for the Mac or Windows to play on the other platform free of charge."

The new software allows a gamer playing on their work PC to go home and pick up playing the same game at the same point on their home Mac.

And the company rckons most game producers will pick up the Mac gauntlet, rather than cherry-picking just a few easily ported titles as is currently the case.

"We expect most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play. We looked at a variety of methods to get our games onto the Mac and in the end decided to go with native versions rather than emulation," said John Cook, Director of Steam Development.

Perhaps the most exciting development in the announcement is that every new game added to the Steam roster will get a simultaneous cross-platform release.

"The inclusion of WebKit into Steam, and of OpenGL into Source gives us a lot of flexibility in how we move these technologies forward. We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360."

This isn't just great news for Mac gaming... it's probably the most significant event in the history of the platform.

"Updates for the Mac will be available simultaneously with the Windows updates. Furthermore, Mac and Windows players will be part of the same multi-player universe, sharing servers, lobbies, and so forth. We fully support a heterogeneous mix of servers and clients. The first Mac Steam client will be the new generation currently in beta testing on Windows."

Portal 2 will be Valve's first simultaneous release for Mac and Windows. "Checking in code produces a PC build and Mac build at the same time, automatically, so the two platforms are perfectly in lock-step," said Josh Weier, Portal 2 Project Lead. "We're always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac."