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Valve games coming soon to a Mac near you

Game developer Valve has teases out of images of its popular PC games to be ported to the Mac. Will the Steam cloud-service follow as well?

A few months back, I searched high and low for a few decent Mac games in preparation for a series of long flights and found myself looking at titles that were long surpassed by their PC brethren. Titles for the Mac are a dismal representation of what's going on in gaming.

But it looks as if that's about to change.

Doug Lombardi, Valve's VP of developer marketing, confirmed to MacNewsNetwork that the company is planning to port some of its most popular games to the Mac. And while details remain thin, most in the gaming community view this as a positive step.

Valve has a number of extremely popular games including Left 4 Dead and the Portal and Half-Life series. One of the teaser images released by Value makes reference to Apple's "Get a Mac" ads. Standing in the place of PC and Mac are the turrets from Portal and Team Fortress 2, suggesting that these will be two of the first games to be ported.


But perhaps more interesting is the potential for Mac games to be connected to the cloud-based Steam service, which allows users to play games on any PC (and maybe soon Macs) while maintaining the state of not only your gaming but your community as well.

The Steam model appears to encourage more game play, though in a less linear fashion, and also suggests a higher likelihood that users purchase additional services as time goes on.

What remains to be seen is how well the Mac hardware can handle the games, or really, how good the ports are in this first go-around. As of January 2010, 42 percent of Steam users ran Windows XP, with the primary argument that Windows Vista wasn't designed with gaming in mind.

That said, the Mac hardware currently available looks pretty similar to Steam's user base, wherein Intel chips and Nvidia graphics cards dominate heavily.

And while this is all well and good for Mac computer users, there hasn't yet been anything said about iPhone or iPad ports.

What would be far more groundbreaking is if Valve ported their games to Linux. Considering the hardware requirements are easily met, it would seem that Linux offers a whole new opportunity for gaming PCs that are effectively dumb clients, running a basic OS, with everything else in the browser.