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Valve Confirms Mac Versions of Steam, Valve Games 541

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Gamasutra: "Valve will release a version of its Steam digital distribution service for Mac next month, along with Mac-native versions of its own games, the company confirmed today after days of hints — and owners of Valve games will have access to both platform versions. The Source engine, which Valve uses to develop all its internal titles and also licenses to third-party developers, will incorporate OpenGL in addition to DirectX, to allow Mac support for all Source developers. ... '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,' said Cook. 'Updates for the Mac will be available simultaneously with the Windows updates.'"
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Valve Confirms Mac Versions of Steam, Valve Games

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  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:11PM (#31405346) Homepage

    I'm all for games being available to as many people as possible. This is awesome news for Apple fans...I hope it signals a shift towards more games being available on the OSX platform. Have fun :-)

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      But how many Macs have powerful graphic cards? Not everyone is going to get a Mac Pro costing $2500 at the very least with a very limited selection of graphics cards. Most of the rest of the line up have integrated Intel cards with piss poor graphic performance.

      • by rworne ( 538610 )

        Not quite. Some of us have intel iMacs with ATI cards with piss-poor graphic performance.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Every mac currently sold has at least an Nvidia 9400. My macbook pro I bought in... 2006 has an nvida 8400. My mac pro has a gtx285. Which lineup are you referring to?

      • Re:Woohoo! (Score:5, Informative)

        by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:12PM (#31406352)

        This is not true. "Most of the rest" have dedicated GPUs - that has at least been the major trend with Macs. They may not be cutting edge, but they are not integrated IntelGMA - except for the Mac Mini and the Macbook which have an NVidia 9400M, but with shared memory, not an intel GMA. I believe one earlier iteration of the Mini had an intel gpu.

        The MPB and iMac all have dedicated GPUs. The MBPs even have two!

        It is true there needs to be more choice and some higher spec cards available (the best you can get on the iMac line is a Radeon 4850 with 512Mb, which is not bad but not cutting edge either).

      • Re:Woohoo! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Rewind ( 138843 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:26PM (#31406626)
        These games don't require mega power graphic cards, just decent ones. And most any semi-modern Mac has one of those. I have a 2007 MacBook Pro and it has a 8600GT in it, not integrated Intel. Paired with it is a 2.6Ghz T7800 Core2Duo. It can run all of the games they have announced (well no idea on Portal 2 I guess) just fine. And that is a 3 year old Mac. I think the lowest end you can get anymore still isn't Intel, its a nVidia 9400 and several also just use that as a lower power integrated and have a discrete as well.
    • Re:Woohoo! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Petrushka ( 815171 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @07:32PM (#31407572)

      I suspect a fairly substantial library of games will become available, probably fairly swiftly. Someone's already compiled a list [] of Steam games that already have Mac ports. There's ... quite a lot.

      Probably a lot of people have already seen the lovely series of pictures that Valve released last week to hint at this announcement in advance, but in case you haven't, here's a compilation, in the correct sequence (and note the iPhone motif at the bottom of each image):
      image 1 [] (1980s Mac classic theme)
      image 2 [] (Gordon Freeman with shiny Mac hazard suit)
      image 3 [] (turrets)
      image 4 [] (Team Fortress 2 -- "take a bite out of the ... sandwich")
      image 5 [] (Left 4 Dead -- "I hate different")
      image 6 [] (HL2 + 1984 Mac commercial)

  • Countdown to the start of blaming the Mac porting effort for the delay of HL2Ep3 starts in 3..2..1..
    • Re:well no (Score:4, Informative)

      by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:14PM (#31405398) Homepage

      From the article:
      "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 Portal 2 lead developer Josh Weier. "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."

      The article also mentions that Portal2 will be a day 1 release for the Mac alongside the PC.

      • Re:well no (Score:4, Insightful)

        by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:17PM (#31405450)
        It might automate code generation but it doesn't automate debugging or QA testing which in my experience take significantly more effort then running the build system....
        • The way he describes it is Continuous Integration, not hybrid code generation..

          • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

            You missed his point. It wasn't about code generation, it was about testing: You still need to test and debug on both platforms.

        • Re:well no (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Telvin_3d ( 855514 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:38PM (#31405754)

          True, but in this case the relatively small subset of hardware supported by OSX makes things easier. Once they have it running at all it will only need to be tested against two or three OS revisions (10.5 Leopard, 10.6 Snow Leopard and possibly 10.4 Tiger) and a half dozen video cards. In many ways I suspect that the testing will be far easier than what is needed for a console. A few more hardware versions to deal with but at the same time there is so much higher margin in terms of RAM and processor power that there is a lot more room to play with.

          • Re:well no (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ( 721745 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:54PM (#31406020) Homepage

            two or three OS revisions (10.5 Leopard, 10.6 Snow Leopard and possibly 10.4 Tiger)

            Someone mentioned below that they are planning to support OpenCL (assuming they didn't mean simply OpenGL). If that is the case, I wonder if they will only support Snow Leopard. This provides several benefits:

            • Only one OS to worry about (for now).
            • Significantly limits the OS features that need to be supported, since Snow Leopard only runs on a subset of Macs. (i.e.: 64-bit support is required for Snow Leopard.)
            • Guarantees newer hardware (no issues with old computers running slowly).
            • And most importantly, guarantees Intel / i586 processors, seriously reducing the complexity of targeting PowerPC computers as well.

            If that is true, they will probably disappoint quite a few Mac users, who haven't upgraded for one reason or another.

            Of course, Apple will be happy about it... ;-)

            • Re:well no (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:12PM (#31406348) Journal

              Apple hasn't sold a powerpc computer in roughly 4 years (2006). A decent number of programs no longer support powerpc at all (and this has been a growing problem for several years--I think it was the 2008 olympics that required Silverlight to stream, which didn't officially run on PowerPC). I think it's 100% safe to say there will be no powerpc support for Steam.

            • Re:well no (Score:5, Informative)

              by idiot900 ( 166952 ) * on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:55PM (#31407118)

              (i.e.: 64-bit support is required for Snow Leopard.)

              I realize I'm nitpicking, but 64-bit support is not required for Snow Leopard. It runs just fine on my 2006-era 32-bit Core Duo MacBook.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Kemanorel ( 127835 )

              I could be wrong (i.e. I haven't checked too closely), but I am pretty sure there is Intel-only software that runs on 10.4. I will have to dig a bit and see if I can find an example, but I'm fairly sure many of the recent game releases (such as WoW and Plants vs. Zombies) can run on 10.4, but still require an intel Mac. My Mini came with an Intel proc, but is currently running 10.4...

              {checks [] for PvZ info}

              Yup. 10.4.11 and Intel proc combo required. It could be done. No PowerPC support require

        • It might automate code generation but it doesn't automate debugging or QA testing which in my experience take significantly more effort then running the build system....

          They most likely use some kind of "compatibility layer" on which they develop the games. Something to handle the rendering, audio, input, networking, etc. (all interactions with the outside) in a cross-platform manner. It's also likely that most of the bugs in the compatibility layer are already fixed, because most of them will be pretty obvious (it's not very complex code, after all). The rest of the bugs, such as bugs in the game logic, will most likely have the same result on any platform.

          Supporting M

      • by pavon ( 30274 )

        Yeah, but how much effort did they expend to get their build process to that point, and how much of that could have been spent on HL2 Ep3 instead? My guess is "a hell of a lot of work", and "not much since Ep3 is mostly new content not new software".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 )

      Their episodic content is mostly design work, little programming. I think more likely the delay is due to the piss poor tools that Source has. That's always been one of its weaknesses is that its design tools are way, way behind Unreal Engine's. That might be where there's so many more UE2 and UE3 titles out there.

      Of course I suppose one could argue that the programmers were spending their time on this instead of making better tools, but it would seem that if they haven't now they aren't so interested in do

  • Not Cider! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sechr Nibw ( 1278786 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:12PM (#31405360)
    3 cheers for *native* Mac development, instead of just Cider builds!
  • NICE! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:12PM (#31405362)
    I'm sure someone will rush in to point out how a PC is still superior as a gaming rig but, as a Mac owner, I still say NICE!!

    It's nice to see other game publishers figure out what Blizzard has known for a very long time.
    • Isn't the only thing separating a Mac from the PC is the OS? People argue that the PC is better mostly from a hardware point of view. Keyboards, mice, easier to mod, extensibility, etc... I don't see why Windows or OSX would have any significant differences in these regards since they have the same hardware and peripherals, and the same access to the game's files for modding purposes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nutshell42 ( 557890 )
      It's nice to see other game publishers figure out what Blizzard has known for a very long time.

      I think you're gonna see a lot more of it for a number of reasons.

      First, Microsoft fucked up the PC as a gaming platform. The lack of interest, investment, the Games for Windows fuck-up, MS execs admitting that they deliberately don't release games for the PC to prop up the Xbox. Blizzard complained publicly but others can see the writing on the wall, too.

      Second, piracy is a real problem on the PC. Ubisoft did

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
        Most developers see the "writing on the wall" as reading "Consoles are the future, PC's aren't." Whether they're right or wrong about that, it seems to be the direction most of them are going. Blizzard is exceptional because they're one of the few major developers left that still develops pretty much exclusively for the PC.
      • Re:NICE! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @07:40PM (#31407660)

        First, Microsoft fucked up the PC as a gaming platform. The lack of interest, investment, the Games for Windows fuck-up,

        What is the "Games for Windows" fuck-up?

        I think it's a great program, and games with the "Games For Windows" are (so far) universally higher-quality than those without. Quality control is one of those things the consoles have had going for them for ages, this program helps lift Windows games to the same level.

      • Re:NICE! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by brkello ( 642429 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @01:39AM (#31410270)
        Your post is just a long-winded way of saying PC gaming is dying which quite frankly is a load of crap.

        Do people with Macs have more money or just more debt? Macs don't tend to come with very powerful video cards. For the same price, you can get a PC that is much more powerful. There are still more games out there for the PC. Plenty of games that are on the 360 are on Windows as well. Some of them, like Dragon Age Origins have compelling reason why the PC will be a better experience. Do you really think piracy won't be a problem on the Macs? All of a sudden these hackers who can break any DRM known to man will be helpless against the power of Mac security? You have been drinking way too much of the kool aid my friend.

        I am not anti-Mac. I think it is great that Steam is doing this. But you gotta keep your fanboism under control. No one thinks you are special other than people with Macs and your Mom. And Apple is about as evil as a company can get. I still love my iPod Touch though :)
  • Interesting.

    Let's hope that they do actually properly go for native instead of the lameness that has been Cider wrappers around the windows version that we have seen in the past from some. EvE was interesting, and I can see the economy of scale issue (in writing a native client for a small platform) but the performance of the Cider wrapper really hurt.

    The chicken and egg problem (no games, no dev support, thus no games...) has to be broken sooner or later - Blizzard certainly seems to be doing ok with a dua

  • Linux support (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:12PM (#31405368)

    Linux support is coming when porting it to linux becomes profitable, stop asking.

  • Would be nice if they decided to release it for Linux as well, even though it might be a "tier-2" platform to them.
  • This is great for Mac users. But its also good movement for Linux users. An OpenGL based Source engine would be fairly trivial to port.
  • This is cool to hear. I don't use Macs, but hopefully any cross-platform implementation could eventually be extended to allow Linux support. That would be real news!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Telvin_3d ( 855514 )

      I doubt it. OSX is (relatively) easy to support because it has a very small subset of software to target (two/three revisions depending on if you support back to 10.4 or just 10.5/6) and a small selection of hardware. There is a massive difference between doing Q/A for a half dozen video cards on a stable platform versus trying to support the massive set of moving targets that get lumped together under Linux along with all the possible hardware that might get plugged in. Valve already has to do that with Wi

      • Support Ubuntu 10.4. ALSA and pulse audio for audio. Other distros would probably work for free, even without an 'official' declaration of support. In terms of 'on what hardware?' the QA process is no more convoluted than Windows. Some bitching and moaning might be had for not explicitly embracing various pet distros, but ultimately the communities do a good job of covering any technical gaps between officially supported platforms and their own distribution.

        FYI, quake3 binary from years ago still execs

  • OpenGL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Efreet ( 246368 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:14PM (#31405400)

    If the source engine is going to be running with OpenGL too now I suspect that these games will suddenly be much easier to get working in Wine.

  • Mac Gaming: 1 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dougmwne ( 958276 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:16PM (#31405430)
    A big win for gaming on macs. Valve has a cannon of some of the best FPSs the PC has to offer. I've been exclusively buying and playing my titles through Steam for about 2 years now (the sales are spectacular). Hopefully with native Steam support, more developers will take time and expense to make their new offerings dual-platform.
  • I know, I know, in the foreseeable future Linux will not be an officially supported platform for Valve, but does this move have implications for (potential) Linux compatibility of Source games? OpenGL is readily available under any desktop oriented distro I have come across so far, and porting from OS X to Linux (or emulating needed parts of the former under the latter) should be easier and give much better results than dealing with Wine. Or am I missing something?

  • I'm a PC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarthVain ( 724186 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:18PM (#31405466)

    I don't own a Mac, but today seems like a good day if you do.

    One of the things I don't like about Mac (and there are a few) is that many games are not released for Mac or if they are, they are released way after they are released for everything else.

    This seems to be a nice step in the right direction, and I got to say so far as a fit goes, Valve and Steam seem to me a great fit for Macs. Makes me think of the App store on their iPhones.

    As much as I like to bash Macs, this is a very astute move for Apple and for Valve. More competition the better I say, Windows has had much the world bent over a bench for long time now and pretty much a monopoly over the gaming market outside of consoles (and a big chunk of that also with the Xboxen). Next step, price Macs more competitively?

    • by dingen ( 958134 )

      One of the things I don't like about Mac (and there are a few) is that many games are not released for Mac or if they are, they are released way after they are released for everything else.

      That's an argument against the games industry, not against the Mac.

    • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

      No, next step, better GPU options for Macs.

      I am a huge Apple fan, but we are lacking in decent GPU options on the consumer hardware. I am looking at a new iMac, and if I want a 4850 (still not a new card in the general trend of GPUs) I need to go for the 27" iMac, and spec it up at an extra £100. The best you can do on the 21" is the 4750.

      I can see a heat issue, but some future design consideration for better GPU options - perhaps removable card-based would be a good idea.

  • Can I assume that they will be porting games like Left 4 Dead, Halflife and Team Fortress to mac was well?

    Will linux get any love as well? With an OpenGL implementation, most of the heavy lifting should hopefully be taken care of. If it does, I will go out of my way to buy each and every one of their games.

  • by EXTomar ( 78739 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:20PM (#31405496)

    Although getting Source on Mac is fine, Steam is the much bigger deal. Although I don't expect PC game developers to shift their production away from PC as their "first target platform", it does make it easier if one is also interested in distributing games on Mac. It doesn't matter the size of game developer, the Mac platform is a tough nut to crack due to scales of market shifted so far to the PC where an online one can help equalize. For instance, [i]World of Goo[/i] is an excellent game that works great on Mac but it must be hell to sell to just Mac owners. Your best bet in this situation for many publishers is to "combine distribute" the PC and Mac version on one disk which isn't totally efficient and desirable.

    With Steam this gets a lot simpler. You now have a marketplace that goes directly to Mac owners and they get a bunch of the bonus support of Steamworks like version updates and achievement systems. Source on Mac for some games but I really see Steam as the big deal here. Steam opens up a lot to game developers.

    And as a side though: Did Apple dropped a ball here where they could have used their gigantic online store to sell MacOS games? iTunes works great for updating games on iPhone and iPod...would it be so difficult to do the same for desktop games?

  • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:21PM (#31405524) Homepage

    The biggest objections to Apple's computers over the last few years have been a) The cost and b) no games available.

    The cost issue has become pretty meaningless to anyone who is willing to compare oranges to oranges: the cost of a Mac laptop or desktop with X features is pretty comparable to a Windows laptop or desktop with the same feature set, its just that usually the PC side has lower features by default and you can buy the components to raise the level of functionality, whereas Apple doesn't operate in the low end of the computer spectrum and even their base systems have great features and very high quality.

    With this change by Valve it will hopefully signify changes in the attitude of the rest of the games industry and Mac support will grow to the point that its treated as well as Microsoft's products with regards to gaming. I am perfectly content with my iMac 20" desktop for the gaming I am doing, and I would love to play more games under OS/X rather than dualbooting to XP.

    Lastly, if the Mac gains in acceptance, perhaps Linux will follow down the road. Having implemented all of this stuff for OS/X it can't be as far a stretch to include Linux as it was to make the original jump from Windows to OS/X (being a kind of unix after all)?

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:42PM (#31405800) Homepage Journal

      "The cost issue has become pretty meaningless to anyone who is willing to compare oranges to oranges: the cost of a Mac laptop or desktop with X features is pretty comparable to a Windows laptop or desktop with the same feature set, "
      Only sort of.
      There are fewer options for the Mac so there are configurations available for PC that just don't exists in the Mac worlds.
      For instance a Core2Duo with a high end graphics card and no monitor.
      If you already have a perfectly good monitor why get an all in one or a new monitor.
      Yes if try and match the Apple configurations with a PC the price will be about the same.
      But you can not get the equivalent to a an Mac Mini with a high end video card and a 3 1/2" Hard drive and no wifi or Bluetooth.

  • wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:23PM (#31405558)

    and owners of Valve games will have access to both platform versions.

    In an age where publishers are doing everything in their power to tie your hands when it comes to their software, this simply amazes me.

    We've got publishers who user DRM that renders a game useless after a half-dozen installs... And valve is going to let you run your games on two entirely different platforms?! Not two different computers... But wholly different platforms. Amazing.

    • Re:wow... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Reason58 ( 775044 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:53PM (#31406004)
      Just to let people know, Blizzard also allows for unlimited downloading of the Windows and OS X version of any game you have ever purchased. Even if you bought the game in a store you can still register the CD key online at and it will be available to download in the future.
  • Mac.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NemosomeN ( 670035 )
    It's not stated, but I assume by "Mac" he means "Intel Mac" and not "Intel and PPC Macs". Anyone know any different? (I have a PPC mac and never intend to buy another.)
  • Waiting to see what the min sys requirements are -- I'd expect Intel only, no PPC.

    The big question is on minimum requirements on the video side -- will early MacBooks and Minis be left in the cold? The wrappers used for Spore really screwed a lot of people by not supporting the early Intel video chipsets like the GMA950 on the old MacBook I'm using.

    Might be time to upgrade to a newer MacBook Pro!

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