Steam gaming service for Mac now available

Steam, Valve’s digital distribution service for gamers, is now live. Steam, for the uninitiated, is essentially an iTunes Store for games, except with more social features and demos of many games. It’s the creation of game developer Valve, the company behind games like Portal, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, and one of gaming’s most beloved and legendary series: Half-Life. As my colleague David Chartier puts it, “Over the years, Steam has become the go-to place for Windows gamers to shop for and try out everything from blockbuster releases to indie hits, find new friends to frag with, and stay up to date with the latest patches.” And now all that is here on the Mac. Get excited.

As part of an initial launch promotion, you can download and play quirky first-person puzzler Portal for free until May 24. There has been no word yet on when the other Valve properties will be coming to the Mac, but the good news is that many third party developers already have their games in Steam’s Mac Store and are ready for you to download (often at greatly reduced prices).

The launch lineup includes Civilization IV (Colonization, Warlords, and Beyond the Sword editions), And Yet It Moves, Chuzzle Deluxe, Bejeweled 2, Bookworm Deluxe, Galcon Fusion, Bob Came in Pieces, World of Goo, Altitude, City of Heroes: Architect Edition, Machinarium, Torchlight, Braid, Brainpipe, Football Manager 2010, Zuma Deluxe, and Quantz.

While many of these games have already been released for the Mac, it’s nice to see them in a centralized place like Steam’s games market. We’ll be reviewing games as they become available on Steam, so be sure to check Macworld’s Game Room regularly to get full updates on the ever-changing lineup of games.

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