On Wednesday afternoon, Valve Software officially released Steam, their video game launch platform and online store, for Mac. Steam had been a service exclusively for PC users since launched it in 2004. This year, however, Valve has not only ported it over to the Mac, but given it a visual refresh!
The Steam client downloads as a DMG file, and installs fairly easily, though, as John Gruber discovered, there were some odd decisions in the build. All the elements of the PC version are here, such as the built-in Steam Community. A new feature with this launch, however, is Steam Play, which allows customers to purchase a game once and play it on all Steam supported platforms. Gamers who have previously purchased games on Steam will find them available in their account on the Mac as they are released.
One of the best features of this launch is that Valve is allowing any Steam user to download Portal for free until May 24th! Powered by Valve’s Source Engine, this FPS puzzle game has earned critical praise and won several game-of-the-year awards, and is well worth trying out. Naturally, giving away this game only adds to the anticipation for it’s upcoming sequel.
Valve has announced that on subsequent Wednesdays, additional collections of Mac titles will become available, each designed to highlight specific functionalities of Steam on the Mac. We suspect that more Source games, such as Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead, will be staggered over the next couple weeks to keep the community interested in the platform. But with sixty-three titles at launch, several good bundles and some fantastic games, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t dive in right now. :D