Valve has announced that it will bring Steam, Valve’s gaming service, and Source, it’s gaming engine, to Mac systems. Steam in particular is a very popular digital distributor of game titles, offering players a large and varied library of games to access. That Valve is supporting Mac systems is great news in and of itself, but it actually gets better.
Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve, explains that, “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. 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.”
As if the prospect of playing the same game cross-platform wasn’t exciting enough, John Cook, Director of Steam Development, adds, “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.”
Titles such as Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series will be available to Mac users in April. Portal 2 will be Valve’s first simultaneous release for both Mac and Windows systems, and as Jason Cook said, this is expected to be the norm from now on. “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.”