Windows users have had the privilege to run Valve Software’s Steam application for over five years now, and the opportunity just came this week in the public beta for OS X users to have the chance to get on board the Steam train.
What is Steam? Well, if you haven’t heard of Steam, it is basically an XBox Live-esque front end for video games on the PC and now on the Mac. Steam allows you to view, play, purchase, and talk with friends about video games. You can use the game lobbys to find games, chat over text or voice with friends in and out of game, and so much more.
My first impression for having steam on the Mac is, WOW. I have been waiting for this for so long, I was an avid PC gamer for about 5 years, playing online and competitively (nerd) for most of that time. I stopped playing as much when I got my first Mac, but once I upgraded to a MacBook Pro I was playing again in Bootcamp in Windows 7.
I loved gaming, but the hassle of restarting into Windows every time I wanted to play became a real hassle and I eventually stopped for that and other reasons (time).
Now all of my productivity and freedom are going to the wayside, with the introduction of the Steam Beta for OS X.
I downloaded the beta on day one, sadly my favorite game, Team Fortress 2 is not available yet, but most definitely will be one of the titles to come. I am thoroughly impressed with Steam on the Mac.
Valve has done a great job with keeping the Steam interface consistent, while giving it a very real Mac feel.
Steam looks and runs great for me so far on my MacBook Pro (first generation Unibody version). The interface and icons look great on my desktop, something usually lacking from a PC port to the Mac.
Everything on Steam is the same as it is on the PC version, except the games for now. Right now the only premiere Valve game is the fun puzzle game called Portal. As part of the launch on the Mac, Valve is giving away Portal for the next week. There are over 60 indie and third party games that are also available right now on Steam for the Mac, but nothing that tickles my fancy.
Valve is doing a great thing called SteamPlay. Basically SteamPlay lets you buy a game one time and play it on both the Mac and PC. This is a breakthrough, as many games and media companies would never let this happen. A lot of software (Photoshop for example) doesn’t let you run the Mac version with a PC software key (annoying, because it is the same price). SteamPlay is awesome, especially when you have spent over $200 in games on Steam over the life of your account.
Download Steam for the Mac, available now for free.