is a digital distribution system for games on Windows/Intel-based PCs - what MacRumors refers to as "essentially a PC game App Store." Buzz has been spreading on the Web that Valve, developers of the system,which calls itself
"the nexus of PC gaming," may be working on a Mac OS client. Intriguing hints were found of Mac OS X interface elements in the source code of the client's beta release, and the company is apparently searching for Linux and Mac engineers.
The public beta of the new Steam client was released on Tuesday to deal with the 200% growth in the userbase: 25 million users that log 12 billion player minutes in online games per month, and 75 billion minutes per month of Steam client acces. None of these minutes took place on a Mac, despite the fact that games developers like EA, id Software, PopCap, and Take-Two Interactive have titles on Steam. The presence of a Steam channel for delivery of games may provide more motivation for developers to work on Mac OS titles, though Valve says its own efforts to work with Apple have been unrewarding. In a 2007 interview with AppleInsider
, Steam's co-founder Gabe Newell said "We have this pattern with Apple where we meet with them, people there go 'wow, gaming is incredibly important, we should do something with gaming. And then we'll say, 'OK, here are three things you could do to make that better,' and then they say OK, and then we never see them again."
An alert public beta participant [ame="http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1157656"]posted screenshots to the Steam user forums of Mac OS X-like interface components[/ame] - including versions of the maximize, minimize and close "traffic light" icons - in the source code of the beta. Some viewers are unconvinced, saying these could just be elements for a Mac OS X theme of the site. However, a note on Valve developer Chris Green's LinkedIn profile
indicated that the company is "REALLY looking" for Mac engineers.
Valve's latest update also switches for the first time from Microsoft's Trident rendering engine used in Internet Explorer to the open-source WebKit engine Apple uses for its Safari browser.
image via warriorlax5506 in the Steam User Forums