Valve Confirms Games, Steam for Macs in April

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • brother shrike
    I'm hoping that
    a) this doesn't slow down valve development too much (it's already pretty slow...)
    b) this means that linux binaries may be coming... They've already done OpenGL...
  • wolfseeker2828
    This might just be what convinces me to get a Mac for when I go to college next semester.
  • tayb
    This is great news for Apple fans but what are they going to play the games on?

    The iMac maxes out with the 4850 and the cheapest model with the 4850 costs $1850. If you want anything faster than a 4850 you'll have to purchase a Mac Pro with a 4870 which will run you $2700.

    In the end this is going to be moot if Apple doesn't get rolling with some serious GPU updates. There aren't going to be any gamers buying Apple with that lineup. Not a single legitimate gaming machine to be had.
  • restatement3dofted
    wolfseeker2828This might just be what convinces me to get a Mac for when I go to college next semester.
    So you can pay a premium for outdated hardware? Good plan.
  • Sabiancym
    Ya know, I've always wanted to pay $1000 more to do the exact same thing I do now........hmm.
  • NapoleonDK
    Brother Shrike...this means that linux binaries may be coming... They've already done OpenGL...Oh man I hope so...
  • scotters
    They'll say this after a while -

    Man this game is running like crap... I guess I oughta buy a pc with some real power.
  • False_Dmitry_II
  • Please please steam support linux please :)
  • pale paladin
    I agree that the only positive thing I hear is future Linux support. Other than that this is a fail any way you look at it. This Only opens up the rebuttal "macs can play games just like windows can" to the inevitable argument many of us have. Woot spend $2700 dollars on a status symbol that can now play Valve games. No thanks. I can build 5 computers and have a lan party with friends for that much money. The best part is.. they would all be proud of my frugal-ness and impressed with ME because of what I can do. Not the shiney-ness of my white or aluminum computer. Ranting now , sorry.