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Today is a great day for the Mac (s aapl) gaming crowd, as Valve has officially released the Steam client for Mac. For those of you unfamiliar with Steam (and it may be quite a few of you if you don’t look across to the PC side of the fence that often), it’s a software marketplace that deals in the digital distribution of games.
But Steam is more than just a marketplace. It also provides achievements, leaderboards and matchmaking for the games it sells, so that it’s much more like an Xbox Live for your PC. And now for your Mac, too. And between both, if you happen to use both OS X and Windows machines.
All of Steam’s launch titles on the Mac feature “Steam Play,” a new ability that allows you to purchase a game once on one platform and then download it and play it on any other Steam-supported OS (which for now includes Windows and Mac). That’s great news for me, since I often will buy a game here at home and then want to play it when I’m visiting my parents, for instance, or traveling and using a friend’s computer. It’s also handy if you have a PC at work and want to sneak in some Torchlight dungeon crawling between reports.
You can go ahead and grab the client here (DMG). As expected, launch titles include the above-mentioned Torchlight, a Diablo clone that I’ve played on PC and enjoyed immensely, and Portal, Valve’s celebrated shooter. Also available are Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Loom, and The Dig from LucasArts, and the Sam and Max episodic adventures. A full list is available at Joystiq.com.
The full Mac Games store is now live, and it looks just like its PC counterpart. Games seem to cost the same as their PC counterparts, and you should be able to play multiplayer games across platforms (meaning PC players can game with Mac ones, and vice versa). Torchlight is available for a special launch price of $9.99 by the way, so I recommend picking it up if you’re unsure of where to start.
At first launch you’ll be prompted to sign up for a Steam account, which takes all of 30 seconds and can be done entirely through the Steam Mac app. New games are set to be released on Wednesday of every week, with plenty of Mac titles already in the pipeline.