Valve has finally confirmed that it will soon be releasing its Steam platform and the related Source engine for Mac. The announcement puts to rest strong rumours that have been going around the gaming world regarding the imminent launch.
According to the official release, both Steam and the Source engine will become available for Macs starting April. What this means is that OS X users will be able to download and play games like Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2, which have so far been limited only to Windows users. Sounds like good news for Mac lovers!
Talking about the move, Valve President Gabe Newell said, “As we transition from entertainment as a product to entertainment as a service, customers and developers need open, high-quality Internet clients. The Mac is a great platform for entertainment services.”
The Steam for Mac systems will feature an interesting new application dubbed Steam Play, which will act as a cross platform between Macs and PCs. So users who have both systems can buy a single copy of a game and then play it on either system. This can prove to be really helpful for big game players… they can now start their game on say a Windows PC and just in case they log off and then log in to a Mac, they can still continue playing where they left off.
“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. “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. Furthermore, Mac and Windows players will be part of the same multiplayer 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.”
The first joint release from Valve following Steam will be Portal 2, which will be released for both PC and Mac platforms simultaneously. “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,” said Portal 2 Project Lead Josh Weier.
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