Steam: “And I’m A Mac”

By John Walker on March 8th, 2010 at 6:18 pm.

Can it unite us all?

Valve have confirmed that Steam and Source are to be released for Mac. After last week’s cunning campaign, they’re not only releasing their back catalogue of games for the shiny plastic blobs, but also intend to simultaneously release Portal 2 on both PC and Mac this Christmas. The other headlines are that Mac and PC gamers will be able to play multiplayer together, and that Mac is now considered a “tier-1″ platform by Valve, alongside PC and 360. Although I’m not sure how FPS games will be playable on single button mice. (Tee hee hee.) Details below.

Go on, have a whole press release:

March 8, 2010 – Valve announced today it will bring Steam, Valve’s gaming service, and Source, Valve’s gaming engine, to the Mac.

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.

“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.”

Portal 2 will be Valve’s first simultaneous release for Mac and 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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239 Comments »

  1. The Hammer says:

    Well, hurray for that! Not gonna affect me one bit (I think), but still pleasing to hear!

    I wonder what the Steam client will look like for Macs…

    • Fneb says:

      The new Steam beta interface uses Webkit to display web pages and not IE, so theorectically it could be brought across to the Mac. It would make sense, developing a new UI and seeing what people think of it around the same time as bringing Steam to a new platform that couldn’t use the old UI.

  2. Rich says:

    Single-button mice. Oh that’s so last decade.

    The Half-Life series on Macs… this is a day I never thought I’d see.

    Shame my iMac is even more dilapidated than my PC.
    600MHz G4, oh yeah.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Whilst the ‘one button mouse’ is a joke that should have died 6-7 years ago, did they ever fix the problem with the Mighty Mouse where you couldn’t actually press both buttons together?

      Also, how will it work with the more popular MacBook platform? There’s a platform with a good number of users that refuses to use a mouse because they’re so au fait with multi-touch.

    • Maltose says:

      Pfft, give me enough buttons on an ergonomic mouse and I won’t need multi-touch.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      I would prefer explicit buttons to the wibbly multitouch anyway. I need that microswitch *click* feedback to believe I’ve actually taken an action.

    • maniacyak says:

      Personally, I’m hoping this announcement may prompt Logitech to reconsider their complete lack of OS X support for their gaming mice. Not holding my breath though.

    • Mr_Day says:

      @ Opti

      The new mouse with a magic pad seems to happily allow you to have two seperate button presses registered, but if anyone is really worried just do what Mac WoW players have been doing for years.

      Plug an ordinary mouse in.

      Dunno about Macbooks, though.

    • solipsistnation says:

      I totally love multitouch on my MacBook Pro– 2-finger scrolling is great, and the pad is big and responsive, and yes, I love it so much that I hug and kiss it all the time and it would be covered with terrible fluids if it weren’t so delightfully smooth (that’s why Macs have been all plasticy or aluminum or whatever– easy to wipe clean!), but man. I wouldn’t try to play an FPS with a touchpad. Even that touchpad. Yeesh.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      @Optimaximal
      Thank you! I posted something about the “one button at a time” issue on the last Mac thread, and people responded as if I was crazy. I knew I couldn’t have been the only one to notice it.

  3. Drexer says:

    This glorious day brings tears to my eyes. This might not only signal a new era of computer awareness, but a shining bright future as well.

    And I don’t even own a Mac.

  4. Harley Turan says:

    Porting the Source engine to OpenGL was the only sensible way of doing things, nice job Valve. I’m hesitant about the new GUI, but it’s still in beta. The only question I have now is whether Mac-only games will be allowed on the store.

  5. jsutcliffe says:

    Oh, the ignorance of the PC world. Mac mice can have two buttons. The one I’m holding right now does (admittedly, it’s a MS Intellimouse, but it works).

    I wonder if the inclusion of OpenGL in Source will make it into PC releases too. It would be nice to have a choice other than DX, even if it ultimately makes little difference.

    I like that Valve appear to be ranking the Mac above the PS3 — that makes me chuckle like a bad 360 fanboy.

    • John Walker says:

      It was a joke!

      Although I wonder if the Mac version of Steam can only be rebooted by sticking a paperclip into a really tiny hole.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      Yes, I know how a tee-hee works, but there are folk who believe it.

    • ascagnel says:

      I don’t know anyone with a desktop Mac that still uses a 1-button mouse. I have a laptop, and although those are still only 1-button trackpads, what idiot would play an FPS on a trackpad or with a clit mouse?

    • jsutcliffe says:

      re: clit mouse

      Aw, there was an xkcd about that term? Time to drop it from the lexicon — its humour value is no more.

    • Wulf says:

      No, nothing like a 360 fanboy. You can’t fit 3,782 ethnic and homophobic slurs into the space of five seconds, and then somehow link it to a PS3 insult.

      Sorry!

  6. James G says:

    I think you are missing a 2 after Portal.
    Edit: Corrected now, good good.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Clearly, Portal 2 is just Portal 1 with a bigger number.

    • James G says:

      Ahh, excellent, I also appear to have discovered a work around for the over zealous spam eating monster that hides behind the edit button. If you edit through the forum, instead of the blog then his hungry eyes don’t spot you and you’ll be fine. (Look on it as an enforced stealth section.)

  7. DF7 says:

    More choice is always better for consumers. This will be good for gaming. Hurrah!

    That said, I’m still never buying a mac.

    • SquareWheel says:

      Yep, same here. Competition is good, macs are not. (hehe)

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Sorry, but Mac’s are fucking great. The OS owns any of these MS pieces of shit, and running Windows in Bootcamp is painless. You install, you chuck in the OSX disk, it installs all the drivers you need, which is of course simple when you have the same hardware across the board, and voila.

      Least painful Windows install ever. Best laptop I’ve ever used, and it’s great for gaming. And this is the lowest end Macbook from the middle of last year!

    • Psychopomp says:

      >Pay $2000 for something I could put together myself for half the price

      Yeah, no thanks.

    • solipsistnation says:

      (insert boilerplate ‘if you compare similar-quality parts etc’ rebuttal here.)

      The most tedious thing about this will be the inevitable PC wanker backlash. It’ll even be more annoying than the inevitable Mac user smugness, which will probably wind down after a couple of months. The Windows-user defensiveness and abuse gets really old after a while, especially when with a minimal amount of research (like looking at “www.apple.com/store” for longer than 30 seconds) can pretty clearly disprove most of the standard arguments.

      The thing to remember with Apple is that while you can get all levels of quality of PC, Apple doesn’t do low-end. Even their supposedly low-end systems are high-end. Thus, they’re priced that way. Build a really comparable PC (a nice case, a good monitor, and so on) and you get pretty close to the same price point.

      Eesh. I need to stop posting this over and over. I’ve been doing this since 1985, and it’s just tedious. (In exchange, you Windows users need to give it a rest too.)

      Anyway, YAY STEAM.

  8. Magiced says:

    Hooray!

    This means that i can stop being a dirty mac lurker and actually join in!

  9. Hayvic says:

    I salute cross platform play, but I DEMAND Valve to make so that all MAC users are identified online by a tag so that I know which players I should kill over and over again.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      I can see it now – medics who won’t heal mac users. :P

      /I might be one of them

    • Wulf says:

      :<

    • Levictus says:

      Lol, why does that sound like a good idea?

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      Mac users are too smug to be credit to team, so they don’t healz.

    • solipsistnation says:

      I eagerly anticipate Windows gamers getting pwned by Mac clans.

    • Haplo says:

      Won’t be for awhile, chap, us PC gamers are like the Fremen, bitter and trained by unending constant war to the graceful spire-ease of your mac life.

      That said. Poor Wulf. I will heal you if I see you. :< *Hug*

  10. scopie says:

    Fantastic! Time to wave goodbye to the windows partition on my macbook…

    Any mention of when the client will be available and the existing games released?

  11. somnolentsurfer says:

    Gah! My begging letter to Valve after the stuff in the beta seemed to earn me a copy of the press release, but I wasn’t quite quick enough to beat you: http://www.sphericalbowl.co.uk//2010/03/valve-sent-me-press-release.shtml

  12. BDJake says:

    Mac compatible before PS3? Valve just slapped Sony in the face!

  13. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Come on *nix next.

    • Sarlix says:

      Eh, if only…

      I’ve gotta say I find it rather amusing how before valve made their announcement, everywhere I seemed to go (web wise) I kept seeing comments like “valve champions of PC” etc. I think everyone was expecting some epic announcement like dinosaurs with portal guns and jet packs…But instead we got ‘support for Macs’ lol..

    • Wulf says:

      B-bu-but… Mac is a PC, just a prefabricated one, made from top-end parts, in a really fancy case, it’s a rich-person’s PC, yes, but a PC. It no longer uses PPC architecture, it’s completely compatible with Windows (for those that want to use it), and there’s really no distinction any more. It’s PC hardware, just PC hardware running Linux, Windows, or Mac software.

      So by saying Valve are the champions of personal computers implies all of the above, and I really hope that means they’ll be champions of Linux soon, too. But I’m very glad that they’re now champions of the Mac OS, too, that makes me smile.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Wulf

      Indeed. In light of that I’ve never been entirely clear on why Apple hasn’t released OSX as an OS for PC systems. Is their own internally used hardware such a narrow range that it would be a huge hassle to get it to support a wider, more open platform?

      I know, for my part, that I have a lot more respect/use for OSX than I do for Mac aesthetics and their prefab mentality regarding hardware.

    • Taillefer says:

      This is a separate announcement to time-travelling, jetpac-dinosaurs with portal guns.

    • Sarlix says:

      @Wulf

      I know, still made me laugh though.

    • Sarlix says:

      @Taillefer

      Now that’s an announcement! :D

    • Jad says:

      Yeah, the majority of advantages you get from Windows gaming you also have for Mac gaming — mods, mouse + keyboard support, open development and release platforms, dedicated servers, higher resolutions, etc.

      Maybe there is less freedom in hardware upgrades, but I always thought that that was an overhyped and often irritating part of PC gaming anyway.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I dunno Jad. I’ve saved myself quite a bit of cash by building my own and upgrading by the part rather than the system.

    • Clovis says:

      @Vinraith: Apple wants to stay in control of the hardware and it is very important aspect of their business plan. If you could just buy OSX and install it in a PC you built yourself, then you could sell Mac-clone for much, much less than the official Macs. Then people start buying these clones and some of them do not work as well and this makes Apple look bad, and the competition drives the prices down.

      See Psystar if you are not already familiar with the case.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      @Vinraith, Clovis
      See also Hackintosh

    • Vinraith says:

      @Clovis

      Yeah, I’m aware of Apple’s “proprietary everything” routine, but it seems like a terribly short sighted way to do business to me. PC’s thrive best as open systems, Apple’s attempts to popularize a closed hardware platform in their place is both unnerving and unproductive from my perspective.

      Then again, I’ve never understood the “form before function” mentality that drives Mac sales, so what do I know?

    • solipsistnation says:

      It depends on the part of the system you consider “open.”

      Supporting all kinds of hardware is very very difficult– take a look at Windows as a good example of how to do it (yeah, I’m admitting Microsoft does this well!) and at all the problems that STILL crop up with hardware incompatibilities. Have you read about Windows plugfests, where hardware vendors get together and plug their expansion cards into each others’ motherboards and see what works and what doesn’t? And even after that, you run into things like some motherboards that don’t work right with some video cards, or some sound cards, and so on and so forth. It’s a free-for-all, and while sure, you can always return or sell a card if it doesn’t work in your system, it’s a pain. (And it’s a lot better than it used to be, but it’s still a pain.)

      So, sure– the platform is wide open, and users save money at the start, but that savings gets absorbed by the time spent getting things working when something goes wrong.

      Meanwhile, Apple locks down the hardware pretty tightly, and as a result the OS is very stable, very efficient, and very reliable. They then open up the OS, give away the development tools and libraries, and even the source of part of the OS so developers can do all sorts of things. The OS is, arguably, MORE open than Windows.

      And of course, when Microsoft wanted to create a single, stable gaming platform, they came up with the Xbox, a platform MUCH more closed than the Mac, and the Xbox360, which is even more of a closed platform than the original Xbox.

      I think gamers on the Mac will have a better experience with Valve games than Windows users– not necessarily in big ways, but in the little things, like not having to edit config files if for whatever reason Half-Life 2 decides to set the screen to a resolution and refresh rate that the LCD monitor doesn’t support, or having to download and install DirectX every time they download a game from Steam because developers can’t assume it’s already on the PC…

    • Kadayi says:

      @Vinraith

      Apple are in the business of principally selling closed system hardware. Albeit they do sell some software, it’s not really their main revenue stream. They are effectively Dell with their own OS and a good sales pitch. They promote themselves as rivals to M$ but they aren’t really competing in the same marketplace or space, that’s just Steve Jobs pandering to the mac faithfuls idea of ‘be different’. As someone who uses macs for work and PCs for pleasure in all honesty I can say hand on heart that there really isn’t anything super inspiring about OSX Vs W7. They are both robust operating systems at the end of the day.

      As a gamer personally I wouldn’t buy a mac simply because they are hardware locked in terms of processors, and I’m confident enough technically to build my own PCs by hand, but as an all in one off the shelf solution I can see the appeal of an Imac for some people.

    • Secret says:

      Mac IS *nix.

  14. Marty Dodge says:

    Heh, one button Mac, very funny. No one I know uses one of those silly mice. We use problems ones. I use a track ball even for FPSs. Can’t understand how anyone can use a mouse anymore… they are so… unresponsive.

    • Wulf says:

      Heh, I use a trackball too, they’re great for aiming.

    • Collic says:

      This is great news. Opengl games mean we’re closer to more stuff working on linux, and it helps wrestle away control from dx/xbox development as being the only (defacto) way to produce games on PC. Opengl could get a real kick start if other companies start to follow suit.

      I’m not a mac owner but this is a huge thing for PC gaming in general. Maybe it’ll be it’s own platform again instead of a tickbox on microsofts xbox 360 dev kit. The best antidote to the shenanigans of Ubisoft we could realistically hope for :D

    • Mr_Day says:

      Aww, that takes me back. I used to have both a mouse and a trackball hooked up, and would switch between them depending on the game.

      It was at the time I was using the MS Strategic Commander. And the Game Voice! Worked a treat with X-Wing.

      “Attack my target!”

      “Attacking your target, sir!”

      “Excellent.”

  15. laikapants says:

    So we’ve got the Whipped Cream (Portal 2), the Cherry (Steam arriving on Macs) and now we just need the lucious ice cream base that is the Episode 3 announcement and my Valve Sundae will be complete.

    The Steam Play thing pleases me to no end though, even though I don’t (and won’t anytime soon) own a Mac.

    • Lack_26 says:

      Oh, a Sundae, thank god, I thought that was going somewhere completely different.

      Also, (despite not having a mac) Yey!

    • Haplo says:

      Like a ca-

      *is shot*

  16. phuzz says:

    I wuv Valve

    That is all.

  17. Wulf says:

    Well done, Valve, well done.

    I don’t own a Mac, I don’t even know if the market share is there, but this makes me smile. I have friends who use just about every form of computer; Mac, Linux, what have you.

    If this is followed by news of an official Linux release of Source then I’m going to be smiling all the more.

    But yes, I like this. More of this, Valve. If you achieve Linux compatibility, I shall slow clap for you, passionately so.

  18. Eevee says:

    Does this mean Source is now ported to OpenGL? Can we get a Linux client, then?

  19. CMaster says:

    NIfty.

    I’m one of those whose immediate reaction is “won’t effect me”.
    But actually, it will. More opponents in TF2. More people to be part of mod communities. Etc. Also, huurah for them not charging twice. Yes. it’s only fair, but corporate policy is depressingly often not fair.

    • Wulf says:

      It also effects you in another way!

      The beta UI now uses webkit for their embedded browser, as opposed to IE.

      My reaction to this? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!

      It means I can now actually use the store from inside of Steam itself, I can use the overlay browser when in fullscreen, I no longer have to fear IE embeds! Woohoo!

    • CMaster says:

      I approve very much, although I like to believe that was just Valve doing the right thing when they actually made a proper Steam – remembering that up until now we’ve just been using variants on the prototype Valve cooked up long ago.

    • Drexer says:

      @Wulf

      Huh…. that change has been in effect for quite some time actually.

    • Wulf says:

      @Drexer

      …eh? Their old UI still uses an IE embed for the browser. MSHTML from my investigations. o.O It only seems to have switched to WebKit with the beta.

      Where did you get that info from?

  20. Pantsman says:

    Now people with more money than sense can play awesome games too. Whoopee, I guess! :P

  21. Stense says:

    Well thats great. I don’t have a mac myself, but I have a few friends who do, so I’ll try tempting them into left 4 dead or something. Shooting zombies in the face will unite us all.

  22. Carra says:

    No linux? Shoo.

    • Drexer says:

      Well, it does come out in April… and you know what else comes out in April…

      PS: Yeah, I’m getting my hopes up for nothing. Probably…

    • Frank says:

      @Drexer You mean April Fool’s Day or the next Ubuntu?

    • Devan says:

      That was my first thought too, but actually I think it’s almost as well. I wouldn’t really expect Valve to officially support steam on Linux since there’s so many distributions and it would be a lot of tech-support overhead. The important thing is that they’re porting steam and source to run natively on a POSIX OS. Linux folks are pretty tech savvy anyways so it won’t take long before they figure out how to get the Mac version running on their own machines.
      I suspect that there won’t be much/any adaptation layer required (ala wine), so the Mac version could work just as well on Linux as on Mac, and certainly better than the Windows version.

      I’m sure they’ve at least looked into the possibility of a Linux port, so perhaps they’ll throw us a bone and release some unsupported Linux binaries. (fingers crossed)

    • namuol says:

      @Devan:
      At worst, Valve would have to provide official packages for perhaps the top 3 or so desktop Linux distributions (Ubuntu & Friends, Fedora, openSUSE) and then also providing a generic package tarball to be used by all other distros. Those top 3 or 4 distros could be “officially” supported, while the rest could be community-supported (most Linux users wouldn’t be caught dead making a phone call if there’s an active community forum available, anyway… heh).

      In fact, simply providing a package tarball would be enough… I know it’d at least be good enough for us ArchLinux users, provided Valve supplies us 64-bit binaries. ;)

  23. n0wak says:

    I look forward to the increased performance that comes from being able to play Valve games on my MacBook natively without having to go through a whole emulation layer and all the hassles that come with it. And all without having to rebuy the games I already own for a new platform? Fuck yes. Pay attention to that one everybody else.

    Though I’m going to assume that all the Valve love in the world isn’t going to change the RPS slogan from “PC Gaming Since 1873″ to “PC Gaming AND Mac Gaming Since 2010″

  24. Shadrach says:

    Hooray for Valve – now maybe finally I can convince some of my Mac-only friends to at least try playing a computer game.

  25. bookwormat says:

    “Mac, PC and 360″?

    Grrr. A Mac is a PC brand dammit! There is no “Mac vs PC”, just like there is no “Thinkpad vs PC”.
    Valve is not releasing Steam for Apple PCs, they release Steam for OSX.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer

    • Wulf says:

      Haha, I made the same point above!

      Great minds and all that, I suppose. It’s true, though. I just hope that Valve will champion all computer operating systems at some point in the future.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I love OSX, but whoever dreamt up those Mac vs PC adverts is a tool. A marketing-savvy tool, but a tool nonetheless.

    • solipsistnation says:

      Don’t be pedantic. “PC” has been synonymous with “Windows” since LONG before the “I’m a PC” ads came out.

    • bookwormat says:

      “PC” has been synonymous with “Windows”

      Sorry, but that is not true. Everybody will identify a Dell box running Ubuntu as a PC, and the Apple 2 is known as one of the first successful mainstream PCs in history. Most PCs in the 80ties were running DOS, not Windows, and people call a Macbook “Mac” even if it is running Windows. Apple PR used the term Mac when their computers where not IBM PC compatible, but they are since early 2006.

      A PC is a general purpose computer that is designed as an open system. My android phone qualifies as a PC as well, because there is no gatekeeper regulating the software on the device.

  26. Skeez187 says:

    Linux can’t be far behind. If Valve adds Source OpenGL support that would allow them to port their games to Mac and Linux. Windows, Mac, and Linux cross-platform gaming would be a very powerful thing, for Valve and the PC gaming community as a whole.

    • Wulf says:

      I can’t agree enough with this. If Valve embrace Linux too then we’ll be talking about golden era stuff.

      PC gaming isn’t dying, it’s just witnessing a rebirth into something even more beautiful.

    • jalf says:

      Yes, surely, this is the year of the Linux desktop…. Just like last year, and 5 years ago was.

      I’m missing the logic here. Valve decides to support Macs because the Mac market is actually worth going after. It’s reasonably big, it’s growing, and it’s a nice, stable platform where you can be fairly sure of what hardware you’re running on, and which OS version you’re working with. In many ways, it’s a nicer platform to develop on than Windows. (With the exception of Direct3D)

      So because Valve has decided to expand out into a new *worthwhile* market, it logically follows that they’d also be interested in going after the Linux market, which offers fewer rewards (it’s smaller, and is *not* growing at the same rate), but which promises a whole new world of pain for developers trying to achieve some kind of compatibility and support for their games.

      Yeah… That makes sense…
      As others have said, Linux is really a big messy clusterfuck when it comes to games, graphics and sound under any kind of performance/latency constraints. They still haven’t managed to come up with a decent, stable, supported low-latency audio API.

      There’s a lot Linux is good at, but I’m having a hard time seeing why Valve would throw resources at Linux support currently.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Ahh, the amount of wishful thinking in this thread is almost equal to that of retard Mac-bashers. A shame even RPS isn’t immune to such idiocy.

      At the least, if OpenGL appears in Windows versions of HL2 et al, it might make them easier to run under WINE. But “official” Linux support? Not yet. (Though I’d love to be proven wrong there.)

    • Wulf says:

      @jalf

      I’m sensing a lot of unrelated bitterness, here.

      “Yes, surely, this is the year of the Linux desktop…. Just like last year, and 5 years ago was.”

      This, for example. Since no one here is really saying that.

      “I’m missing the logic here. Valve decides to support Macs because the Mac market is actually worth going after. It’s reasonably big, it’s growing, and it’s a nice, stable platform where you can be fairly sure of what hardware you’re running on, and which OS version you’re working with. In many ways, it’s a nicer platform to develop on than Windows. (With the exception of Direct3D)”

      The logic is that a Linux port would mean greater sales, and the hardest part of a Linux port is the move from Direct3D to OpenGL, but they’ve already done that.

      “So because Valve has decided to expand out into a new *worthwhile* market, it logically follows that they’d also be interested in going after the Linux market, which offers fewer rewards (it’s smaller, and is *not* growing at the same rate), but which promises a whole new world of pain for developers trying to achieve some kind of compatibility and support for their games.”

      FUDalicious. Id and Epic have proved this is not the case, as I mentioned elsewhere.

      “As others have said, Linux is really a big messy clusterfuck when it comes to games, graphics and sound under any kind of performance/latency constraints. They still haven’t managed to come up with a decent, stable, supported low-latency audio API.”

      As I have said, that’s bullshit. If Id and Epic can do it, so can Valve.

      “There’s a lot Linux is good at, but I’m having a hard time seeing why Valve would throw resources at Linux support currently.”

      Because the required resources aren’t as great as you’re making out.

      Geez… I know it’s a fallacy to make an appeal to motivation, but I personally have to wonder here. Why would someone want to be a roving, screaming FUD machine? Either Valve will choose to do this, or they won’t, and personally I don’t care either way. I think all anyone is saying — and I know all that I’m saying — is that a Linux port would be nice.

      – More replies, better than posting again… –

      @Cass

      “Ahh, the amount of wishful thinking in this thread is almost equal to that of retard Mac-bashers.”

      What Mac bashing? I’ve seen a few well-meant jokes, jokes that even Mac-users themselves use (I’m aware of #onebutan), but aside from potentially just two posts, I can’t see any Mac bashing.

      Paranoid delusions, much?

      “A shame even RPS isn’t immune to such idiocy.”

      I think it is, I think like a certain someone else you’re just being bitter about a scenario that doesn’t even exist, here. :/

    • Skeez187 says:

      @ Wulf,

      Thanks for making that post so I don’t have to. I don’t know how anyone can be so bitter over people wanting to game on Linux.

      As a person who personally wishes gaming in general would switch over to OpenGL instead of DirectX I just see this as a step in the right direction. Not only does OpenGL mean cross-platform gaming, but its an underrated API that’s become endangered from a gaming perspective due to Microsoft pushing DirectX so heavily.

    • solipsistnation says:

      I think it would be cool if there were more games for Linux, but I don’t see that happening any time soon…

      Then again, I didn’t think we’d see Steam and Source on the Mac, so who knows? 8)

  27. superdupersheep says:

    The problem has always been that Linux as a platform is so diverse that it’s very hard to effectively target – e.g. you don’t have many guarantees on what kind of libraries will be available (SDL?) or, more hilariously, what kind of sound device will be in use (with sound on Linux being a total cluster fuck – ALSA, JACK, OSS, ALSA emulating OSS, that other one I can’t remember).

    With Mac OS X, you get a guaranteed set of libraries that will be present and that you can code to.

    Linux’s diversity is actually a weakness when it comes to this kind of thing. And I say that as an avid Linux user.

    • Wulf says:

      Despite all that, it hasn’t stopped Epic and Id from making incredibly good Linux ports, ports which have had no problems at all.

      That’s really all I need to say.

      If Epic can do it, and Id can do it, then there’s no reason why Valve couldn’t do it. Just take reference notes from the methods that Epic and Id used. If there wasn’t an existing precedent then you’d have a point, but such a precedent does exist, so the diversity of Linux doesn’t really matter. When Epic were PC guys, they proved it wasn’t relevant, and Id will continue to prove that lack of relevance with every upcoming release, I’m sure.

    • jalf says:

      errr… So because two developers managed to pull it off once, any difficulties associated with developing on the platform are irrelevant? It doesn’t matter how many resources they threw at it, how easy/hard their respective engines were to port or anything else?

      That’s a bit simplistic, isn’t it?

      Yes, it is possible to develop games on Linux, as id and Epic have proven. But that wasn’t really the issue. The issue is whether it is easy enough to make it worthwhile to target such a small niche market. (And let’s not forget, a market where most gamers already have Windows installed, so they’re able to buy their games there)

    • Mil says:

      I don’t think that supporting Linux makes any sense for Valve currently, nor I can see that changing in the foreseeable future. But what are you going on about wrt Linux sound? OSS is obsolete and has been for a *very* long time, so there’s zero need to support it. It’s only emulated by ALSA for legacy compatibility purposes. A modern application only needs to support either ALSA *or* JACK, depending on its latency requirements. JACK runs on top of ALSA, it doesn’t replace it. ALSA and JACK are Linux’s “guaranteed set of libraries that will be present and that you can code to”.

    • Collic says:

      The thing to note here is Opengl games ! People will be able to get source games working with linux now, you can guarantee it. I wouldn’t expect native linux support, but removing dx is removing one of the biggest barriers to getting these working properly. The whole point of Opengl is its non-platform specific.

      This won’t happen immediately, but i’d be very surprised if we didn’t start to see current projects like cedega/crossover working towards getting the mac source ports working on the leading distros.

    • Wulf says:

      @jalf

      *sigh.*

      “errr… So because two developers managed to pull it off once, any difficulties associated with developing on the platform are irrelevant? It doesn’t matter how many resources they threw at it, how easy/hard their respective engines were to port or anything else?”

      In response to the questions, in order: I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that.

      Moreover, I didn’t imply that.

      Nice strawman, though.

      “That’s a bit simplistic, isn’t it?”

      Your strawman is, yes.

      “Yes, it is possible to develop games on Linux, as id and Epic have proven.”

      This is all that I was saying.

      “But that wasn’t really the issue. The issue is whether it is easy enough to make it worthwhile to target such a small niche market. (And let’s not forget, a market where most gamers already have Windows installed, so they’re able to buy their games there)”

      Is it a niche market? There are companies devoted to Linux ports, and I imagine if they weren’t making profits then they wouldn’t exist, simple as.

    • Drexer says:

      Being surrounded on my day to day academic life with students who are avid Linux users and experimentators as well as gamers, I can honestly say that there really is no question on the distribution. Ubuntu. Even though many Linux users might prefer X or Y instead, everyone usually comes pretty much together when it comes to chose a general representative and admits that currently Ubuntu is the best option for the general public.

      It is true though, that the sound issue is one of those stupid curtains that waves a lot, but I find it quite possible that if interest is vested in a definite solution, Canonical would pretty much resolute something rather quickly. The Linux ‘scene’ ain’t that much fragmented as most people usually think from the start.

    • superdupersheep says:

      ALSA and JACK are not guaranteed in any sense of the word to be available. Nor is hardware mixing. It depends entirely on the kernel configuration and the userland setup. PulseAudio was the one I couldn’t remember, and god knows that’s a whole world of problems in itself.

      Whereas with Cocoa, you are guaranteed to have the Quicktime APIs available to you, and to have them work in a predictable, low-latency way. In Windows you have DirectX; always available (if not it can be redistributed in your installer), low-latency, predictable.

      Monocultures have the advantage in gaming, because they cut down your testing/QA time. With Mac OS X, you have very limited hardware, very limited number of OS versions (I’d imagine Steam will only support Snow Leopard, since that removes the need to deal with PPC users), which makes it dead easy to test. Small extra effort, and Valve gets tons of kudos from folks like us for supporting/revolutionising Mac gaming.

      Whoever said Ubuntu, you make a good point. They could definitely target Ubuntu as a supported platform, knowing that *most* Ubuntu installs will be reasonably similar. I’d imagine Canonical would be happy to work with Valve, given that it could significantly increase their mindshare.

      I imagine Valve will eventually get there, but it’s just not worth the huge initial effort yet. Mac OS X is the low hanging fruit.

    • namuol says:

      Show me one popular distribution that doesnt provide sufficient SDL and OpenGL packages to play any of id software’s games.

      ALSA is pretty solid these days. Most “alternatives” (JACK and PulseAudio) are actually just high-level sound servers that utilize the ALSA (or OSS, or whatever) backend.

      The one true drawback you forgot to mention was the (occasionally) lackluster drivers provided by GPU vendors.

  28. somnolentsurfer says:

    I hope “most developers” means Popcap will be patching in Steam Play support. If I can leave my zen garden going in the background while I work I might actually stand a chance of getting the achievement for the 100 foot tree.

  29. ping says:

    Brilliant!

    • ping says:

      What is wrong with this webpage? May I only reply to the latest comments? My comment is never registered as the reply it was intended to be.

  30. Ravenger says:

    This is a great move on Valve’s part! I was hoping they’d make the PC/Mac versions interchangeable, and they’ve surprised me by actually doing it.

    I don’t own a Mac, I have no plans to ever get a mac, but I think this can only help the PC platform regain some of its lost ground.

    • Sarlix says:

      That’s a good point. With a larger market to cater for the shift in focus may come back to the PC platform again. How large that market is I do not know, it will be interesting too see the steam stats after the mac stuff has been integrated.

  31. Ecko says:

    I’d love to find out whether the games I already have in my Steam catalogue (for PC) will be usable on my Mac. Any idea if this is on the agenda?

    • Gotem says:

      Well, don’t know if it’s coincidence, but Telltale have just released MAC version for their games, and they also,if you already bought a PC version of a game they let you play the MAc version at no extra cost.

    • Adam Bloom says:

      That’s only true of Valve games. Sadly, they can’t give away free copies of other company’s games. :P

  32. TheSombreroKid says:

    when are they porting it to bsd?

  33. Novotny says:

    Well this is clearly brilliant for mac users and a very nice move on Valve’s part.

    Not sure I’m entirely happy about having to mix with mac users in my leisure time, but at least it’ll only be to shoot them.

  34. Renzatic says:

    What? So now Valve is requiring me to buy a Mac and a PC just to play their stupid DRM laden videogames on their stupid DRM laden service? YOU HAVE GONE TOO FAR, GABE NEWELL! I swear to all that is holy in this world that if you don’t fix this, I will totally get on bittorrent and pirate a Mac.

  35. Tom says:

    Cross platform multiplayer – sweeeeeet.
    Now if only we get the 360 involved all would be well.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Tom

      360 controller users vs. keyboard/mouse users creates a rather serious balance problem.

      The hilarious solution for my money would be to take away the 360 user’s auto aim and let them see just how imprecise their input device of choice really is, but I suspect that wouldn’t go over well. :)

    • Sarlix says:

      Um, keyboard & mouse VS Game pad

    • RobF says:

      The bigger problem is getting it past MS I would wager.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      As I understand it the only way it’s possible is to go through GFWL.

      Anyway, good news for everyone here, I don’t own a Mac but having more people to play with online is a good thing.

  36. Pax says:

    Valve is awesome and I love them, etc, etc, etc… BUT!

    Now that they’ve given everyone their L4D and L4D2, their constant Team Fortress updates, their Portal 2, and their complete portation of all of the above and the Half-Life series to OSX, can we please, PLEASE have Episode 3 now?

  37. terry says:

    Splendid news for those who haven’t yet made the leap to Amiga-based computing :-)

  38. RedFred says:

    Good news for Mac users I guess.

    I really wanted to write something harsh about Mac users but I will hold back this time.

  39. maniacyak says:

    “… 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.”

    Not just Mac support, not just native versions, but you can play all the games you’ve already bought on either computer and share savegames?

    Valve, you are my heroes. <3

    • Oddtwang says:

      I didn’t get “all the games you’ve bought” from that, I got “games you’ve bought which are compatible with both platforms”.

    • maniacyak says:

      @Oddtwang: You’re right, I meant to qualify that statement a little better.

    • Clovis says:

      Heh, Valve approves of playing games at work …

  40. gryffinp says:

    Oh wow that’s really great this might change the nature of PC gaming as we WHERE THE HELL IS EPISODE THREE?

    • Adam Bloom says:

      As a Mac user who’s sick of rebooting so he can play games… I nevertheless agree with this, wholeheartedly.

  41. Grape Flavor says:

    Funny thing is, the Mac version’s probably based on the latest (2007) build of HL2 and not the 2004 original. That’s right, HL2 on a graphically anemic Mac will look better than on your high-end PC, and have achievements, to boot.

    So this is why they’re too busy to make PC Half-Life 2 equivalent to the 360 version. Valve has time for risky forays into Mac gaming but not time for giving their PC fans the same content as the consoles…

    In case you’re wondering what the hell I’m rambling about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBeoGfvySJE Valve’s repeatedly promised this content for the PC, and yet it’s been 2 years and 5 months and they still “can’t find the time”.

    • Monchberter says:

      I’m shaking my pitchfork right now. Grr

    • Wulf says:

      If it happens for the Mac and not for the PC, then I’ll be annoyed.

      I imagine that should OS X see improvements, they’ll be fair and roll out the Windows improvements at the same time.

    • Adam Bloom says:

      If they ported the 2007 engine into OpenGL they’ve probably backported it into Windows as well.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      I kind of figured “I’m sure they’ll get around to it soon” too, and yet unfortunately here we are with still no update. The odd thing is, back around when the Orange Box came out, Valve was boasting about how easy/quick it was to simultaneously make game changes between the PC and X360 versions. Considering this, and that all of this content already exists on the 360, how hard could it be? Then again I’m hardly qualified to make that analysis.

      I’m worried that now they’ve shelved it altogether because a mod that “sort of” does the update was released back in January. Except it’s buggy, contains non-Valve changes, breaks facial animation, and doesn’t bring over all the effects (particularly the better textures). If the modder killed Valve’s desire to do the thing properly, I really wish he hadn’t bothered.

      I realize I care WAY more about this than most Half-Life fans do, but it just doesn’t seem right to me that running HL2 on a decidedly weaker console will give you decidedly better graphics. Half-Life was born+raised on the PC so you’d think that if the versions were unequal the PC’d be the definitive one.

  42. Paperflyer says:

    I do own a Mac and I loooove this announcement! (Goodbye, productivity…)

    • Gap Gen says:

      Actually, yeah, shit. I already have to be connected to the internet to work, so that’s bad enough. If I can flip open Portal when I’m running some code in the background, I’m fucked.

  43. Hypocee says:

    @jsutcliffe: They still came with a one-button mouse as recently as two years ago, so I’d say it’s still fair game (in addition to Rule of Funny). I used it, too; they chose to ship their System of the Future with one button, presumably it must have some advantage and their genious futore desgin majic means they’re shipping their customers a usable system!

    SPOILER: No and no.

  44. Tei says:

    I will love If OpenGL gets steam (pun no intended), probably just now is not competitive, but It need *this*, attention from progessional dev’s and AAA games to compete again with Direct-X. I will be a long path, since probably most current hardware is optimized for Direct-X, and most current software has poor OpenGL implementations, but is a nice star. Since OpenGL is a standard (and Direct-X is nothing), I can see as Source running in mobile devices and such. Imagine playing Portal in the iPhone and stuff like that. Nice things to have.

    • Stephen says:

      Bullshit. That pun was intended.

    • kyrieee says:

      Yeah
      I hate it when people do obvious puns and then say ‘no pun intended’ like they don’t understand what it means or something.

  45. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Um. YES! Looks like Valve may have won me over at last.

    • Wulf says:

      They win most people over, eventually. It’s because they put a great deal of effort into doing so. They make offers of dignity, friendship, and fairness to their customers, and that’s why they’ve won my respect. Providing they never change, they’ll always have my respect.

    • jalf says:

      Haha, good one…

  46. deuterium. says:

    No, Mac. You are the gamer. Then Mac was a PC.

  47. thesundaybest says:

    Sidestepping the Mac vs. PC pissing match, this is great news for me. I’ve been playing on a Bootcamped XP and while it’s worked fine, it would be more convenient to run it on my Mac-side obviously. Wonder how far this will go re: games development from other companies.

  48. Grape Flavor says:

    (misreply)

  49. Reverend Speed says:

    Random amusing thought:

    Play Portal on Mac in work. Check it into Steam via work PC, leave work.

    Drive home.

    Use LiveAnywhere to transfer game progress to XBox 360.

    Ahh, Apple and Microsoft, finally working together. Thanks Valve.

  50. Stephen says:

    Vinraith: You mean like how the industry is currently thriving now? The profitability of hardware is sky diving just now. Netbooks aren’t helping the PC gaming market, they’re not really appropriate for running modern games on yet this is, by volume, all that a majority of people are buying (check Amazon’s best selling laptops to see that in action). At least the more expensive computers that Apple insist you buy to run OS X on all have graphic cards.

    Users absolutely do want, prefer and benefit from open systems but the business of actually getting an open system to you doesn’t even bear trying. On the other side of the fence Apple are making billions doing it the very closed way.