It looks like Steam, Valve's digital distribution system for games, is finally getting ported to the Mac. [Update: Story was confirmed on March 8, 2010. Steam coming to Mac OS X in April 2010.]
We technically have to treat this as speculation, but based on a series of images that Valve sent to various gaming blogs it certainly seems likely. Six images went out, the coolest being a 3-panel strip showing Half-Life 2's Alyx hurling a crowbar at a movie screen in a way very reminiscent of the classic 1984 Apple ad. But the picture that more or less spells it out looks like one of the old "Think Different" Mac ads, only the text says:
In the olden days, people had to go to stores to buy games. It was awful. Not many people knew how. And not many people wanted to learn. Seminars. Wallet manuals. Walking classes. Remembering to carry money. It was so complicated you'd have to be a store expert to understand it all. But then, on a bright day in Bellevue, Seattle, the people who didn't go to stores got together with the people who make things for money to figure out a solution. After a half hour nobody had come up with any ideas, and tempers were running high. Then somebody had an idea: they should get into a fight. Later, at the hospital, a doctor said, "You guys should really invent something that lets you buy games without leaving the house." Everybody told him he should shut up if he didn't want a fat lip. "Man, I don't want a fat lip," the doctor though, so he didn't say anything more about it. A couple of days later, though, everybody agreed that mouthy doctor might have been onto something, and so they built a thing that let them buy games on their computers without leaving the house. "There's different types of computers, though," said one guy. "We'll figure that out later." said another guy. And, years later, they did.
That last line seems pretty definitive to me. This is great news for Mac owners. I've been using Steam for years and it works pretty well. You buy a game and the Steam client downloads and installs it for you. It'll even keep your software patched for you. There're "Steam Achievements" for you goal-driven types and some community features as well (in-game chat with other Steam users). To top it all off, there are frequently very good deals on older games. Now we just need Valve to give us a release date! (OK, official confirmation would be nice, too.)
Remember the old "1984" Apple ad?
The "ad" that the text above comes from