Valve reveals Steam for Mac launch date

After a few weeks of Beta testing, Valve has now revealed that the full public version of Steam for Mac will be unleashed on 12 May.

Not only is Valve planning to offer a number of downloadable games to Mac owners, but it’s also porting over its highly flexible Source engine to the platform, so that it runs natively, rather than using emulation.

This means that Mac owners can finally get a taste of the many brilliant games that use the Source engine, from all the Half-Life 2 games, through Left 4 Dead, Portal and Team Fortress 2.

As well as offering retrospective titles, Valve says that it’s also planning to synchronise the release of future in-house games across both the PC and Mac platforms. This kicks off with Portal 2, the successor to 2007’s perspective-twisting puzzler, which is scheduled for release in the summer this year.

Not only that, but Valve’s new Steam Play system means that if you buy a game on Steam for one platform, then you can play it on the other free of charge. In conjunction with the use of Steam Cloud, this means you can also store saved games online, and play the same game on both a Mac and a PC wherever you are.

As Valve’s director of business development, Jason Holtman, points out, “Steam Play, in combination with the Steam Cloud, 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.”

We’re not just looking at Valve porting over a few of its own games to the Mac either. Valve’s Steamworks toolkit for game developers now also supports the Mac, and Holtman says that Valve expects “most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play.” According to Holtman, Valve’s Steam partners are “very excited about adding support for the Mac.”

It looks as though Apple is finally going to have a decent gaming system forced on to its more than capable hardware. It’s about time.