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Apple working with partners to improve Mac gaming performance

With more major releases than ever headed to the Mac platform thanks to the release of Valve's Steam service, Apple is working closely with its hardware and software partners to improve performance of graphically intensive titles.

Rob Barris, a Valve employee who worked on the Steam client for Mac, revealed on the company's official forums that improvements are expected in the near future. He said that smaller, quick fixes could come sooner, though improved drivers in the future are expected to have the greatest impact.

"Performance is going to improve as drivers are updated," Barris wrote. "I would expect modest improvements in short term and larger ones in longer term. No, I can't put dates on them."

He continued, "We are making a lot of progress is identifying specific issues that need work inside the game and inside OpenGL and drivers. Apple, ATI and NVIDIA are all involved."

Barris' comments came in response to a thread complaining about game performance within Mac OS X. Though performance so far has been decent, it has fallen behind PC counterparts running similar hardware with Windows 7.

Steam is an online gaming networking service and storefront, which allows users to connect with one another, track each others' achievements in specific titles, and join each others' online games quickly. Its release for the Mac in May has inspired some game developers to bring their titles to the Mac, which traditionally has not been a strong gaming platform.

Earlier this month, Valve revealed through its monthly hardware survey that more than 8 percent of Steam users were on Mac OS X. Apple achieved that total in its first month of availability.

In March, when Steam for Mac was announced, Valve told AppleInsider that it worked closely with Apple to bring the client natively to the Mac.

"We've been working with them a bunch as we get more acquainted with their platform," said John Cook, director of Steam development at Valve. "They've been a great partner so far and we look forward to growing our relationship with them over time."