Valve has confirmed that it will be bringing Steam, its market-leading digital download services, to Mac formats this April.
The service supports a library of games including Valve's own Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal and the Half-Life series, and the recently announced Portal 2 will be the company's first simultaneous Windows and Mac release.
"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."
Jason Holtman, director of business development at Valve, added that a new feature – Steam Play – will allows users who have paid for a game on one format to play on the other, for free.
"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."
For third-party partners, the Steamworks suite of tools is also available for immediate use, said Valve.
"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," commented 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."