It was painfully hinted at last week, but Valve today makes it official with its announcement that it is bringing Steam and the Source engine to the Mac.
The Source engine porting over will bring to Mac OS X users Steam and Valve's library of games including Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series – all of which will be available in April.
"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."
"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.
Cook pointed to the recent beta version of Steam that eschewed the Internet Explorer rendering engine in favor of WebKit, which is used in Apple's Safari, Google Chrome and a number of mobile browsers, and the OpenGL support given to Source as added flexibility to move to the Mac.
"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," added Cook. "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."
Valve also confirmed that the recently announced Portal 2 is also slated for a Mac release alongside the PC and Xbox 360 versions. Those concerned that a Mac version may take away from PC development time shouldn't worry.
"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."
Now with Valve and Blizzard-Activision jumping on simultaneous PC/Mac releases, other publishers may follow, and possibly nudge Apple into producing Macs that are more catered to gamers.