Steam Brings L4D2, TF2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and Half-Life to Mac Next Month

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The worst kept secret of the gaming world over the past week or so has been made official, with Valve today confirming plans to bring its vaunted digital download service Steam and its Source gaming engine to the Mac platform. Steam is set to launch for Mac in April, bringing with it hit Valve games like Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal and the complete Half-Life series. When Portal 2 ships this holiday season, it too will release simultaneously on Mac and PC (and Xbox 360), as will all future Valve games.

Easily the best part of Steam’s Mac launch will be the introduction of a new Steamworks feature called Steam Play, which will allow you to buy one copy of a game and play it across PC and Mac, with Steam Cloud enabling save data to be shared cross platform so you can pick up where you left off in a game no matter which platform you’re using. Additionally, all patches will be released on the Mac as they are released on PC, and games will also share the same servers and leaderboards, creating a unified cross-platform multiplayer experience.

Fire up the Valve quote machine…now!

“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.”

“Our Steam partners, who are delivering over a thousand games to 25 million Steam clients, are very excited about adding support for the Mac,” said Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve. “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. For example, Steam Play, in combination with the Steam Cloud, allows a gamer playing on their work PC to go home and pick up playing the same game at the same point on their home Mac. We expect most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play.”

“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. “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.”

“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.”

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