Steam for Mac Details: Native Performance, Chipset Limitations, Closed Beta Underway

Last month, Valve Software announced that its Steam game distribution platform and its own library of games would be coming to Mac OS X in April. In recent weeks, Valve has kicked off a closed beta for Steam, and an extensive thread in the Steam user forums has led to a nice summarization of where things stand.

162312 steam mac 500

Reports confirm previous claims that Steam and the Source gaming engine will run natively on Mac OS X using OpenGL instead of relying on a wrapper such as Cider to translate the Windows versions to Mac. That commitment and designation of Mac OS X as a "Tier-1 Platform" offer evidence that Valve is seeking to make the Mac gaming experience as equal to the Windows experience as possible.

Steam itself will also be Intel-only and require Mac OS X Leopard, although individual games may require newer versions of Mac OS X. Reports also indicate that systems using Intel's X3100 or 900-series integrated graphics will not be supported for Source-based games, although testers have been able to get the Mac version of Portal running at 10-15 frames per second on lowest settings on these systems.

Other details coming out of the beta testing are confirmation regarding Steam Play, which will allow users to purchase a game only once and play it on multiple systems, as well as corroboration that Windows and Mac users will play on the same servers with the ability to join the same lobbies.

Beta users are reportedly still limited to Portal for testing, although word is that Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life 2 will be added shortly. Other confirmed games for Mac include the remainder of the Half-Life series, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, and the upcoming Portal 2.

Despite a refresh of the Steam client user interface released today, Valve has yet to announce a specific release date for the Mac version of Steam, continuing to hint only "coming soon".

Popular Stories

apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Said iPhone Driver's Licenses Will Expand to These 8 U.S. States

Monday February 12, 2024 7:51 am PST by
In 2021, Apple introduced a feature that lets residents of participating U.S. states add their driver's license or ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, providing a convenient and contactless way to display proof of identity or age. Unfortunately, states have been slow to adopt the feature since it was first announced in September 2021, with IDs in the Wallet app only available ...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

New Macs and iPads Coming Soon: What to Expect

Saturday February 17, 2024 3:00 am PST by
Following the launch of Apple's Vision Pro headset, attention has shifted towards what is next on the company's agenda this year. As usual, March should be eventful for Apple, as it is expected to release new MacBook Air, iPad Pro, and iPad Air models during the month. In a recent press release, Apple also confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March. Below, we recap what to expect...
iPhone 15 General Feature Black

iOS 17.3 Added New Feature That Every iPhone User Should Know About

Friday February 16, 2024 6:28 am PST by
Apple's recent iOS 17.3 software update includes an important new feature that all iPhone users should know about: Stolen Device Protection. The Wall Street Journal last year reported about thieves spying on an iPhone user's passcode before stealing the device, often in public places like bars. With knowledge of the passcode, the thief can then change the victim's Apple ID password, turn off ...
samsung galaxy ring

'Apple Ring' Allegedly in Development to Rival Samsung Galaxy Ring

Tuesday February 20, 2024 2:27 am PST by
Apple is speeding up development of a smart ring that can be worn on the finger to track users' health biometrics, claims a new report coming out of Korea. Teaser image of Samsung Galaxy Ring shown at Galaxy Unpacked in January Apple has toyed with the idea of a ring wearable for several years, as indicated by several patents, but with Samsung preparing to bring its own product to market, the ...