Yesterday, Valve yawned open its PR orifice and finally confirmed the huge Mac gaming development that everyone already knew was coming: they’re bringing the Steam digital delivery service to OS X. Today, from that same orifice, we have more details, including the games we can expect to see released next month.
“Steam and Valve’s library of games including Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series will be available in April,” the company has confirmed.
Even better? As hinted, you’ll be able to use the same product key to download and play both PC and Mac versions of the same title.
“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,” says the company.
A small bit, this, but almost totally unprecedented in Mac gaming, where ports of PC titles inevitably require a separate purchase. Also nearly unprecedented: Mac and Windows players will both be part of the same multiplayer universe, which means they’ll be able to play on the same servers.
Even better news? Valve has said that they’re treating the Mac as a “Tier 1” platform, which means that, from now on, the company will release its own games at the same time as on the PC and Xbox 360. Portal 2 will be the first game to be released simultaneously on the Mac, PC and 360.
Of course, there’s a lot up in the air here… Steam’s not just about Valve games, and if other companies don’t start releasing native ports for OS X (as opposed to the cheap and sluggish practice of dropping them in DirectX wrappers and slapping a $50 price tag on the resulting .DMG), Steam for Mac will never get more traction. Let’s hope Valve’s investment into OS X finally convinces game developers to embrace the fastest growing home computing market out there.