Valve Confirms its Mac Plans

| Games

Ending speculation that reached a fevered pitch on Monday, Valve confirmed that it will bring Steam, as well as its library of games, to the Mac next month. “The Mac represents a great opportunity,” Valve co-founder Gabe Newell told Wired ahead of the opening of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Wired noted that Steam currently makes available over 1,000 games to 25 million users, giving it ownership of over 70 percent of digital game downloads and prompting Telltale Games CEO Dan Connors to say to Wired: “If there’s anything like iTunes on the PC right now for games, it’s Steam. So you’ve got two great leaders in digital distribution coming together.”

Mr. Newell told Wired: “The traditional model has always been that you have these really extended development times … where you do nothing for customers for several years and then you try to drive everybody into the theaters or into the stores on a given date. It makes it hard to steer your decisions based on customer feedback, and customers don’t particularly like that. They would like to have the experience of being part of an entertainment community where they’re getting something on a daily or more frequent basis.”

He confirmed that for anyone who owns the PC versions of Valve’s games, a new feature called Steam Play will allow them to download the Mac versions for free. In addition, Steam’s existing Steam Cloud feature will allow gamers to switch between platforms when playing Valve games, so, for example, a user could save their progress in Half-Life 2 in Windows and then continue playing on a MacBook while traveling.

Mr. Newell also said that Steam gives his company control over Mac and PC releases of its games, something that doesn’t come easily on consoles, like Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Mr. Newell gave an example: the more than 100 updates to Team Fortress 2 since its release in 2007 would have cost several hundred thousand dollars on Xbox Live. “And that ignores the fact that the cycle on these closed platforms would have taken years to get all these updates through,” he added.

Mr. Connors said he wants the Mac versions of Telltale’s games on the Mac, and Mr. Newell commented that “(Mac) has all of the right pieces, and we know other developers see that as well,” although he wouldn’t say which ones might also be planning Mac versions of their titles.

AppleInsider spoke with Jason Holtman, Valve’s director of business development, who said that companies which sell games through Steam are “very excited” about the platform coming to the Mac, and John Cook, Steam’s director of development, commented: “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. The inclusion of WebKit into Steam, and of OpenGL into Source gives us a lot of flexibility in how we move these technologies forward. 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."

Comments

Ian

My only issue and question is will these be native games or stinking Cider ports? Cider ports don’t have the same frame rates and responsiveness of a native app.

sumtermug

Ian said on March 8th, 2010 at 2:48 PM:
My only issue and question is will these be native games or stinking Cider ports? Cider ports don?t have the same frame rates and responsiveness of a native app.

It says right in the body of the article: ?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. The inclusion of WebKit into Steam, and of OpenGL into Source gives us a lot of flexibility in how we move these technologies forward.”

I find this an exciting development. I figured it would be emulation, and am so glad it is not.

geoduck

Up till now I hadn’t paid any attention to Valve. They didn’t make any Mac Games so why bother. Well I just looked over at their site.

Portal has to be one of the coolest looking games I’ve ever seen.

mrmwebmax

+

This is huge news for the Mac platform, which has always lagged behind PCs when it comes to games. (There’s irony for you: Ours is called a “toy” platform, yet the only market in which we ever trailed PCs was games.) I’m excited, and plan to learn more. Looking forward to TMO reviews when possible, too.

webjprgm

One of the main reasons I have Windows XP installed via Boot Camp is to play Valve games like Half Life and Portal.  Now I can play them without rebooting!  Woohooo!  This is a very good move.  Especially since the Steam platform is about the only one of it’s kind that actually works, so now I’ll actually look at more of their games and will be likely to get some.

(The other reason I have Windows is for the random Windows-only program I run across once in a while that I actually need to use and won’t work via WINE or Mono.  That includes VisualStudio, which I had to use for a couple classes.)

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