It's game-on for Mac users as Valve announces support for OS X
By Jeff Salton
March 9, 2010
Many people recognize Macs as being great work tools, especially for those in the creative sectors. However, if you like your games, often the PC was your best platform because of the amount of available content. Some Mac users were forced to deploy Parallels, Crossover Games, or Boot Camp, to play PC games on their Mac, but they've all got their drawbacks. So Mac users rejoice – Valve, a major provider of online gaming through its Steam online distribution service, is coming to OS X users.
From April, Steam and Valve's library of games that include Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series will be available on the Mac. And because the company is treating Macs as a tier-1 platform, all future games and updates will be simultaneously released on Windows, Mac and Xbox 360.
"As we transition from entertainment as a product to entertainment as a service, customers and developers need open, high-quality Internet clients," said Gabe Newell, President of Valve. "The Mac is a great platform for entertainment services.
"Our Steam partners, who are delivering over 1,000 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.”
Play on both platforms for the price of one
“For example, 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 expect most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play."
Steam Development’s John Cook said the company decided to go with native versions of the games, rather than emulation.
"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. Updates for the Mac will be available simultaneously with the Windows updates.”
He says Mac and Windows players will be part of the same multiplayer universe, sharing servers, lobbies, etc.
“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."
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