Mac Steam opens up with free Portal

Download service's debut on Apple systems marked by giveaway of mind-bending puzzle platformer for Mac OS X 10.6.3, initial lineup of 63 titles; rest of Valve's catalog to be released later in the year.

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Two months after it was announced in March, Steam for the Mac has gone live. Valve Software has announced that the download service is now available for Apple's line of computers, and it flipped the switch on its online store early this afternoon. The Steam client can be downloaded at www.steamgames.com

No Lie: Portal is free until May 24 for Mac users. (Cake not included.)
No Lie: Portal is free until May 24 for Mac users. (Cake not included.)

To drum up enthusiasm, Valve will be giving away the Mac version of its award-winning puzzle game Portal through May 24. The download will require Mac users to update their operating systems to OS X 10.6.3 or the game will not install.

Unfortunately, as of now, Portal is the only one of the Bellevue, Washington-based studio's hits available on the service. Past titles such as Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, and Counter-Strike are not yet available in non-PC form on Steam, although Valve has said it plans to port them to the Mac. Starting with Portal 2, all future Valve games will be released simultaneously on the Mac, PC, and Xbox 360.

Mac for Steam did launch with a 63-game catalog of mostly puzzle, arcade, and classic games. Among the titles offered are Peggle Deluxe, Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse 1, Zuma Deluxe, World of Goo, and Tales of Monkey Island Season 1. Also available are Cryptic Studios' massively multiplayer online role-playing game City of Heroes: Architect Edition and Firaxis' historical strategy "god game" Civilization IV: The Complete Edition. All purchased Mac games bearing the "Steamplay" logo can also be downloaded onto PCs as well at no extra charge--and vice versa.

Valve has also added Mac support into its Steamworks development toolkit, which allows titles built using the software to be interchangeable between the PC and Apple's platform. The developer will also release game updates for Windows and Mac editions simultaneously. Gamers on the two platforms will also be able to intermingle in online matches, playing and communicating on the same servers and in the same game lobbies.

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