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Valve to release Mac graphics code to developers

Pledges to help Steamworks partners create OSX games, and claims 15-20% sales boost for Steam games with Mac versions

Valve Software has revealed to that it will provide a portion of its graphics code to developers working on Mac OS X versions of their games.

While the helping hand will only go out to developers planning to use the Steamworks community infrastructure, Valve's business development director Jason Holtman claimed that coding for the graphics layer is "the real hard work in a making a Mac version."

The Seattle-based Left 4 Dead developer released the Mac version of Steam in May, and has been trickling out modified versions of its own titles, together with some third-party offerings, over the last few months.

In order to expedite development of OSX-compatible games, "We're going to release some of our graphics code for the GL layer," Holtman said in an interview (to be published in full next week).

"So our Steamworks partners will have access to some of the hard work that we do to get our games up on Mac, and they'll be able to incorporate that into their games - and our hope is it gets them there faster."

Holtman also revealed, for the first time, that Steam games which have seen an added Mac edition have enjoyed a significant boost in their combined platform sales.

While Valve would not be drawn on specific sales figures for the Mac versions, Holtman stated that "we're seeing between a 15 and 20 percent increase in games that have a Mac version on Steam. So some of our baseline games with added Mac versions, they're seeing quite a healthy bump in people picking up their title.

"Customers are very, very pleased because previously where they didn't have a Mac store or hadn't had distribution before, all of a sudden they're seeing some titles that are coming out."

The business director also suggested that the best way to gauge what proportion of Steam users were running it on a Mac was to keep an eye on how many Team Fortress 2 players were wearing the in-game white earbuds exclusive to the game's OS X version.

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Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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