updated 09:30 am EST, Wed February 24, 2010
Could represent major win for Mac industry
Valve is preparing a Mac version of the Steam gaming platform, evidence suggests. On Wednesday, Windows users were given the option of downloading a new beta interface, featuring changes like a WebKit-based browser, an improved appearance and customizable game groups. Buried within the Steam/Graphics folder, however, are images for 10 Mac-specific buttons. Within Steam/Resource/Menus, there is also a new "osx.menu" file.
When a port of Steam might be ready is unknown, given the status of the Windows software, but it could potentially have a major impact on the Mac gaming industry. The technology is essential for Valve's own games, which are some of the most popular in the PC world, including Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2. It is also an increasingly popular vehicle for third-party sales, and as such the lack of a multi-platform client may be hindering interest in Mac development.
Apple has shown little interest in helping desktop gaming, preferring to concentrate on productivity apps and conventional entertainment. Any Mac titles distributed through Steam would still need to be ported individually, sometimes a difficult proposition as a result of different architectures and drivers.