Valve Gives Mac Gaming a Boost

By  |  Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Some serious PC gaming is about to come to Macs, with Valve announcing that its Steam platform will support Apple computers in April.

Valve says it’ll treat the Mac as a “tier-1” platform, meaning that its games and all updates will be released simultaneously for Windows and Mac. A new feature called Steam Play will let people play the same game on a Windows PC and a Mac for no added cost, with saved games transferring between computers.

Valve’s a heavy hitter in PC gaming, with iconic first-person shooters such as Half-Life, Counter-Strike and Left 4 Dead. And Steam, a platform for digital game downloads and online play, has 25 million members. That number will soon inflate with Mac support, and there’s a good chance other game developer will give Mac ports more serious consideration; DICE, the maker of recent blockbuster Battlefield: Bad Company 2, is already mulling a Mac version.

Why now? Thanks to Wikipedia, I found this 2007 Kiziko interview with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell, in which he explains that Apple never seemed particularly interested in gaming. “I just don’t think they’ve ever taken gaming seriously,” he said. “And none of the things developers ask them to do are done. And as a result, there’s no gaming market there to speak of.”

Apple has since made a few moves that show the company no longer ignores gaming. Indeed, the iPhone has proven that games are a lucrative market, so why not give the personal computer some love? Newell didn’t elaborate in the Kiziko interview what he wanted from Apple, but I’ll wager that Apple has addressed Valve’s concerns. Given the way Valve teased its announcement of Steam for Mac, it seems there’s a lot of love going around. Nothing wrong with that.


Read more: , , ,

6 Comments For This Post

  1. mathiastck Says:

    lol! Steam didn’t used to support the Mac COMPUTER? Let me know when they support the iPhone, or iPad.

  2. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    > Why now?

    I think the answer is Intel and OpenGL. The last 4 years of Macs all have Intel architecture, making PC ports easier. That is very different from the PowerPC user base in 2006. And supporting OpenGL today gets you not just the Mac, but also iPod, iPhone, iPad and of course non-Apple devices that use OpenGL.

    An Apple game console is not out of the question, either. AppleTV already has the GPU for it, but not the CPU.

  3. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    This is a nice move, but I hear a lot of Mac-fans yelling this means the end of Windows since now there will be a lot of top-titles coming to the mac at no cost (that’s what most people expect from valve and I agree: if you bought L4D or Portal on the PC already, you’ll probably be able to download it for free on your mac)

    But I disagree that this will take ANY of the Windows market share. Why? Because Apple still doesn’t take gaming serious. All it’s computers focus on energy-efficient compact hardware, leaving raw performance behind. Just a quick overview:
    The top MBP sports a GF9600 card with 512MB of memory. this costs 2500$ at least.
    The top iMac has an HD4850 zith only 512 MB of memory. This’ll cost you 1800$
    The Mac Pro could come with an HD4870, but still with only 512MB, and this machine costs a whopping 2500$ without a screen!!!
    A self built Phenom 2 X4 machine with an HD4870 with 1GB and 4GB of DDR3 RAM costs about 800$ (desktop, no screen).

    I’m not saying the hardware is overpriced, because it’s decent hardware in it’s class and the competition has about the same prices for similar products.
    I AM saying Apple has no gaming-solution: gamers don’t want a server-class CPU or a laptop-class graphics chip.

    What does this mean? Well, i know I have a MBP and a PC, and I have some Valve games I love, so I can play them at both machines. If I have a choice, I’ll go for my PC, because that PC, for only 750€, can play L4D2 maxed out at 60fps. My Macbook Pro cost 2000€ and will get about 40fps at medium.
    If I buy a new gaming machine, it’ll be a PC, because it’ll cost me less than 1000€ while a Mac packing the same punch will cost at least 3000€ (or doesn’t even exist).

    So when will I actually use my Mac for gaming? Maybe if I’m on the move? Maybe. Or if my PC dies and I hqve to wait a few days untill I egt a new one. Any way, My Mac will be my secondary platform, some kind of backup plan for the PC, not an equivalent.
    As long as Apple doesn’t offer a lower priced mac with a gfx card that isn’t 2 years behind on modern gaming PCs, the Mac will stay a bit of a joke to all gamers.

  4. SirFatty Says:

    I’m sure Apple did some ass-dragging on adding developer requests because they were trying to figuring out how to do games in iTunes. Good job, Valve, for getting in and supporting the Mac (I am not a Mac user, but it’s good for all of us).

  5. L1A Says:

    They are after Blizzard’s market share. Blizzard reins strong on Macs even with releasing 1 game every decade. If World of Warcraft on Mac counted as separate game it would be top 5 MMO subscription wise.

  6. Stilgar Says:

    I’ve already put off some Steam purchases because I’m hoping other developers will follow Valve’s lead with a single mac/pc license model. I’m looking at you LucasArts and PopCap.