updated 03:55 pm EDT, Fri April 13, 2012
Apple CEO visits Valve for possible software deal
Apple CEO Tim Cook was supposedly spotted at Valve Software's Bellevue headquarters on Friday. His purpose and who he talked to weren't mentioned by the AppleInsider contact. Most likely, he would be visiting company founder Gabe Newell.
Any visit could have multiple potential motivators. On a basic level, it could see Apple working to get Valve games as showcases for the Mac, as it has in the past with id Software or similar titles. The support for both Steam and the Source engine on the Mac has meant that many of Valve's own games are available on the Mac and, more recently, have had simultaneous releases with Windows versions.
A more advanced software involvement could see Steam integrate more tightly into the Mac, iOS, or both. Apple's Game Center and app stores fulfill some of the core functionality of Steam, but they lack any link to each other as well as some high profile games. Valve doesn't port its games outside of Steam or consoles, and it would have to either tie into Apple software or port titles wholesale to support the OS X and iOS platforms.
At the far end is the possibility of hardware, which follows just after Valve began hiring a hardware engineer. A console isn't likely given Valve denials of the rumored Steam Box, but it doesn't other devices.
Cook's visit would be a rare instance of executives actively pursuing any game developer and a turnaround from Apple's own attitude towards gaming in the Jobs era. Initially, Apple would repeatedly ignore complaints about what it needed to do to improve gaming. By 2010, Apple was actively assisting in Steam ports, but it has still focused most of its game support on iOS.