Gaming gets serious – Steam coming to Mac

Sections: Games, Mac Software

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Steam logoIf you’re a serious gamer, it’s unlikely you have an all-Mac setup. If you do, there’s probably enough power to comfortably Boot Camp into Windows 7, and enough for a decent frame rate in the latest titles. Otherwise, it seems developers aren’t so keen when it comes to the Macintosh platform. Some titles, such as the highly popular Sims franchise, Spore and a little Star Wars are cross platform. But for the most recent games, you’re lucky if you see a Mac version within the year.

The other alternative? Windows. If you’ve done much gaming on a PC, you may be aware of Steam. Steam is a digital distribution platform that, when mixed with the Source engine, brings you a great selection of games you can download—some free, and some paid. Either way, its the best way to play your games on a PC; everything is in one place, and there’s the infrastructure for multiplayer, too.

Mac gamers, as it would seem from Kirk Hiner’s new Single Mac Gamer Seeks… column at, don’t always get what they want. Luckily, thanks to Valve (the makers of Steam), that’s soon about to change. On Monday, Valve announced that Steam—and the Source engine—will be making their way to the Macintosh platform next month. It’ll take time to see the same amount of titles available for the PC, but there are some popular games planned for the initial launch. Portal 2 will be the first title out of the gates, with Half-Life 2, Left for Dead (1 & 2), Portal and Counter-Strike following closer behind in April.

Another interesting feature will be the ability to play online multiplayer with friends on both Mac and PC systems. This means there won’t just be a small number of Mac gamers when you’re trying it out next month, but also the PC gamers will be around to give you a hard time, too.

There’s a great quote from Gabe Newell—Valve’s president—that, well, tells us what we already knew:

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.

You’re certainly right there, Mr Newell; it’s the best platform for enjoying entertainment. So why did it take so long for Steam to arrive? Oh well, just a few more weeks.

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