The state of Mac gaming in 2014: Will Apple ever get its game on?

Over the past 30 years, it's safe to say that the Macintosh has had a ... complicated ... relationship with gaming. While it's unlikely that the Mac will ever be a premiere gaming system like a console or even like a PC, 2014 brings a certain equilibrium, along with a lot of room for improvement.

A brief history of Mac gaming

Games abounded on the Apple II, which in its day was the most popular computer in the world. Many hobbyist programmers had parlayed their experience writing games into careers, and companies (and fortunes) were founded. But the Macintosh's introduction in 1984 changed things. It was radically different from computers before it.

The Mac arrived with pre-made software (including a game called Through the Looking Glass, made by Apple, pictured above). But uncustomary for its time, the Mac without a built-in programming language, which made it a tough sell for hobbyist programmers and others interested in making video games for the nascent system. As programming tools improved, as developers gained skill and as more people bought the Mac, games inevitably followed. But games on the Mac never obtained the critical mass that they did on the burgeoning PC platform. As the Apple II waned, so did Apple's influence in the game development market, and the result was a shift in both industry development and consumer buying habits to PC games.

Mac games have been a sideline business ever since. There have been a few Mac-only and Mac-first developers (Bungie, Halo's creator, famously started on the platform), and a few others that treat the Mac equally with the PC (such as Blizzard). But there's no original high-profile game development on the Mac.

Instead, the Mac game market — outside of the indie scene and the outliers like Blizzard who do do Mac and Windows versions together — is dominated by companies that license popular games from publishers on other platforms, convert the games to run on OS X, and sell those games independently.

Changing distribution

As big box computer retailers like Comp USA slid into irrelevance, changing tastes and a diversified Apple product line also forced game boxes from the shelves of many Apple retail stores. By 2010, commercial Mac game publishing was on life support. But two things happened to change the fortunes of Mac game makers dramatically: Steam and the Mac App Store.

It's the rise of digital distribution that has really revitalized the Mac game scene. Valve's Steam game service, and accompanying development tools released by Valve, have led to a steady stream of commercial and indie game releases on the Mac. Valve also deserves credit for implementing Steam Play, which enables users to buy a game once for one platform and use it elsewhere — so people who have already bought PC versions of games don't need to repurchase them for the Mac.

The Mac certainly isn't on even footing with the PC, but Steam has lowered the barrier to entry for some game developers who didn't have either the programming expertise or the marketing acumen to reach Mac gamers before.

The Mac App Store was another sea change for Mac game publishers. It provided a purchasing and distribution mechanism that millions of Apple product owners were already familiar with — the Apple ID used to make purchases from the iTunes Store and App Store — and applied it instead to Mac apps.

These days, Mac games can be found through an ever-increasingly number of download services, and most game publishers are only too happy to offer up their titles to new services if it means increasing their distribution. The biggest problem many of them have — even Apple and the Mac App Store — is gaining the trust of the customer enough to garner payment details. With all the stories of identity theft, consumers have every reason to be gun-shy about giving out their credit card information online.

Still, digital distribution has breathed new life into a business that, only a few years ago, was almost totally moribund. Mac game publishers like Aspyr and Feral regularly dominate the Top Ten list of paid game apps on the Mac App Store, and Transgaming often works with leading PC publishers to create Mac versions of games, as well. Both companies see their products sold alongside their PC counterparts on Steam, and have a fairly wide digital distribution network besides.

Changing tastes

It's also worth noting that consumer buying habits have changed. Many more people own Macs now than used to, but they come to the Mac with a different set of expectations than they once did. And gaming is the last thing on many of their minds.

Instead, they're buying Macs to get online, to create files they need for work, to avoid malware, or because they need a computer and they don't want the hassle of dealing with a PC. Games are typically pretty low on their list at all. They may have a game console, or they may find gaming on their tablet or smartphone to be perfectly sufficient.

Overwhelmingly, Mac owners don't self-identify as gamers. It's entrenched behavior for gamers to get systems made for gaming, and for many of them, that means a PC that can run the latest cutting-edge games. Admittedly, PC sales are in the toilet, but that hasn't stopped PC game sales from surging in recent years.

So for the truly game oriented who choose to use Macs, Boot Camp has become a go-to solution to help them get their jones for games that never make it to OS X. Boot Camp lets you run Windows on your Mac natively, and it turns out that Macs are pretty good Windows PCs. In fact, the Windows version of the same game will often run better on Boot Camp than it will on OS X, thanks to differences in the way that graphics drivers and other core system elements are handled.

There's also another big reason why PC gamers stay away from the Mac - the device architecture itself. PC gamers are shade tree mechanics. They love to tweak their systems with upgraded video cards, better CPUs, faster components. That's by and large something you simply can't do on the Mac. And that's something that Apple is unlikely to change, certainly not to fit the needs of a fairly small niche of users.

Will Mac gaming ever achieve critical mass?

There are a few things working against the Mac platform ever achieving parity with PC or console systems — installed base, developer expertise and developer support are among the most prominent.

Despite the surging popularity of the Mac, it still remains a niche. So for many publishers, it simply still doesn't make business sense to divert resources into Mac game development and publishing if it means taking away from a core business selling to PC and console gamers. That's changed, as the sales of Macs have risen, and more and more companies are taking a serious look, but for many, it's still not worth it.

That leaves the prospects of companies like Aspyr, Feral and Transgaming safe — they have years of experience managing Mac conversions, assuming the risk themselves. The downside is that this has often led to a delay in the time between a game's debut on other platforms and its release on the Mac.

Developer expertise is another critical issue. At this point, generations of game developers have grown up playing and making games on PCs (and consoles), while the talent pool for Mac games is a lot smaller. A lot of the same principles apply, and there are a lot of cross-platform "middleware" tools to simplify the process, but code development is art and science, and it's very easy to make a mediocre or bad Mac app, and much more challenging to make a good one. That's best left to people with experience, and those are still few and far between, especially in the game development world.

To that end, Apple could certainly be doing more to attract game developers. Apple has dedicated developer relations staff, and some of its developer relations people work with game developers, specifically. But there's no uniformly coordinated effort to improve the OS X platform for gaming, as there was years ago at Microsoft when they developed their DirectX API.

In the end, perhaps gaming shouldn't have any higher a priority at Apple than anything else — it's hard to argue with the results. They're the most profitable computer company in the world. But speaking as a long-suffering gamer and a Macintosh user, I'd love to see Apple do better here. However, even I have to accept the changing face of gaming. I do less and less of my gaming on a computer and more and more on my mobile devices. And I'm far from alone.

How about you? Do you game on your Mac or do you use something else? Let me know in the comments.

Peter Cohen
  • The only game my wife and I play is world of Warcraft. I'm thankful it's offered natively on the Mac. Due to this our next computer will be a Mac since we've gone apple with phones and tablets. Sent from the iMore App
  • It's such a shame that Apple neglects gaming, even though the infrastructure is there (like steam). Imagine a desktop Mac with a high-end CPU&GPU, and no, the Mac Pro is no alternative. ;-)
  • If a mac had high-end CPU&GPU it would cost like $5000 and with that money you could get the best gaming desktops so there is an alternative.
  • I do flight simulation. My 2009 Mac is running X Plane 10 at very poor FPS but I still enjoy it. The newest Macs have the capacity to be much better but cost up to twice as much. At this point I can't upgrade but I am leaning toward the Mac. Maybe we will see more gaming emphasis in the future (We can hope....) Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm a Mac user since Tiger and I must say that I've been going back to gaming since 2010. Before that I had an Xbox which was more than enough for my gaming time. I've always been very thankful to Blizzard to keep developing for the Mac. The only thing I play at this point is Starcraft... some times with my young brother League of Legends... but besides that.... there's no more time.
  • but besides that.... there's no more time.
    Yeah, that's one of my big problems as well, which is why mobile gaming occupies me these days.
  • Mobile gaming is a major attraction to me as well. An mmo like wow would have trouble mobile just due to all the commands and keystrokes etc. but doable. There are subsets of mmos like the WoW auction house and pet battles were considered for mobile. I love mobile gaming on the iPhone 5s. More power than my previous gaming computer. The power is definitely there on our phones. I started gaming in the very early 80s and it still amazes me what is now capable on our phones. Sent from the iMore App
  • There's MMO's in iOS. For example, loop up "Order and Chaos" in the App Store. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks. I actually did subscribe to that one for three months. Plays quite well. Just not as deep as wow but certainly showcases what can be done. Sent from the iMore App
  • good article Peter and yeah, goddamit does being a gamer and a mac lover suck... I think I fall into the category of 'serious' gamer (!? - what does that even mean!?) so having a PC rig dedicated to gaming just makes the most sense if you can afford it. Not unhappy about how my Mac remains a pure workstation and on the road it plays enough Steam games to keep me from going into withdrawal, incoherent rage, apathy and hysterically crying (not necessarily in that order)
  • Throughout the history of computing, whenever someone says "Will Apple Ever Do Games Right?" (... or words to that effect. I refuse to use the juvenile phrase the author does), what they really mean is "When will Apple be at the very forefront of the most complex single person shooter games, war games, driving games and games of conquest with high violence ratings that most teenaged boys like to play." You know ... "real" games, right? Both the flaw, and the answer are actually quite apparent in the question itself, no? The answer, just like the answer to the question "When Will Microsoft make a decent, useable piece of software?" ... is never.
  • So I was thinking about buying a Mac, since I mostly game on Nintendo and PC products. I thought Mac would bring something new to the table, never owned one.... Wonder why? So I googled Mac gaming, and came to this thread.. Thank you Gazoobee, I remember now why I never got an Iphone, and Ipad, or a Mac. Can't stand the Ismug.
  • I'm definitely a hardcore-gamer. I even do a weekly Gaming podcast. On the other hand I'm also an Apple blogger which should explain most stuff. I'm a Mac user since Leopard though I always had one Gaming-PC, some consoles and some portable consoles The Mac will never become a gaming machine. And I don't think that will ever change. But I also don't consider most games on iOS to be "real" games (except Infinity Blade and so on). My MacBook Air is simply my work machine, while my PC is my entertainment machine (even though I'm typing these words on the PC). I don't even have games on my iPhone, since I own a PS Vita and 3DS for that.
    So basically what I want to say: I don't think any of Apple's products will ever be a true gaming machine. Not even the funnest iPod™ ever.
  • I'm one of the few (only?) Mobile Nations people still exclusively using a Windows machine. I'd chalk this up to a long history with PC gaming. Mac has never been an option for me because the games were never there. Even later on as I got a dedicated work machine, Windows was what I knew, so I naturally stayed within my comfort zone. I've been hating how Windows 8 awkwardly juggles touch- and mouse-based interfaces though, and can only assume resorting to Boot Camp on a Mac and learning a new OS is as much of (if not less) of a pain in the ass. A switch may be in my future yet.
  • I'm in the same boat. I've always used Windows but I grabbed a MBP recently, have windows on it as well and like having my feet in both worlds. This was due mainly to windows 8 and iOS integration into OSX.
  • It's a sad world we live in, having to install windows on a Mac, just to play games. And having to wrestle with Windows along the way.
    I'm very happy to play games on consoles and laptops, no need for a dedicated gaming desktop for me.
    But I wish I could just run them without installing windows. I put hopes in SteamOS, maybe one day I could use it instead of Windows and just forget about the latter, hopefully forever...
    I play on iOS as well, but it doesn't satisfy me. For me, it's like watching some cheap entertainment program on TV (iOS) vs watching a great serial like "Breaking Bad" (computer or console games). I really enjoy the latter and is what I'm looking for, but I can have some fun with the former. However it will never replace the latter...
    Just get rid of windows for gaming and I'll be happy!
  • One of the few reasons I'm sticking to my Windows PC for now. I have always been a gamer for as long as I can remember. And although nowadays, I don't play on my PC as much as I used to because of time-constraints and maybe because of a bit of mobile gaming, there are still some PC game releases that are a must-play for me. Plus, nothing beats a capable Windows PC + Steam sale combo in terms of pure gaming.
  • Over the post 2-3 years I have moved from console gaming to 95% iPad.
  • gaming and ipad don't belong in same paragraph, the types of games you play are ones that beg you for money to buy smurf berries etc... there are 0 Shooters and real racing games etc on that. Solitare maybe?
  • As long as I have Diablo 3 and the Civilization saga I'm good. God bless Blizzard & Sid Meier.
  • Great read Peter. You've pointed out some very accurate notes about the Apple/Mac gaming experience. I plan on taking SimCity for another spin when its update is released, but other than that ALL of my Mac gaming time is spent with my old friend -BLIZZARD!! I'm gonna give the new D3 expansion a little love but 95% of my mouse clicks are spent enjoying Starcraft II. Love it the mostest! ;D
    I do see an opportunity for Apple to expand on gaming via the iOS platform & Apple TV... We'll see.
  • Hey Peter, talk to Rene and get him to talk to his buddies inside Apple to take the mac pro case and just switch the Amd Fire Pro cards to either Nvidia 780 / 780 TI or AMD R290X. Sell them in Dual GPU configs. Switch processors from the one current in the Mac Pro to a Consumer Friendly model Intel Haswel 4970K and sell it overclocked. This would be a great LAN (Local Area Network) Gaming Machine. It's tiny and portable. What do you guys think? Otherwise we buy cases and water cool the pc's. The best one is the one below. After 30 seconds you can see it being built.
  • Is an iMac really usable as a gaming computer? I ran LOTRO from Bootcamp and was never sure if I was frying the inside of my Mac or not. It ran great on the highest resolution. But there was a great deal more heat coming out of the top than I get with anything else I do, and that includes running Parallels while streaming video, editing photos or running FCP X. Is a Mac designed for that much video intensive work for hours on end while Orcs meet horrific deaths at the hands of my Dwarf RK? I would love to run more games on my Mac instead of having to shift to over to my 5 year old XP box, but I also don't want to burn down my main computer. Maybe this is an unfounded fear, but if my XP box dies then I don't get to play games...not a day of tears. If my iMac dies then I don't work or pursue any of my passions...wailing like a pinched baby. Is there not a business model for a more game friendly Mac? Couldn't the Mini have a brother, Gamey, that has more cooling and video options? I would buy one of those in a heartbeat...assuming it is still under a grand....and use it as a gaming/media server box. Developers made Windows what it is....was. For a few hundred bucks you could buy and learn several languages on a PC. Not the case for other systems of the day like AS400 and such. Surely if Apple courted devs on the Mac like they did with iOS and the app store then it benefits them long term....assuming they don't eventually become a stagnant leviathan like MS.
  • I do most of my Mac gaming on steam. For that, I have to give Valve credit. Not apple. They need to do waaaaayyyy for with gaming. Especially now that they are trying to tackle more of the consumer market. When I have a Mac vs PC conversation and they bring up gaming, I can't say much. But if they talk about Photoshop or after effects, then I can speak up. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm a gamer, would say a hardcore gamer, on Mac since my first iMac with OS 9 and I never regret. Steam and the Mac App Store are a really good enhancement for old and new Gamer/User. Kickstarter gives it also a boost. And I would never change my system for gaming or would allow to install Windows on it.
  • I'm absolutely a gamer and I push my Mini to the max. the Intel 4000 HD integrated chip is capable, so long as you aren't looking for the prettiest graphics settings. I do dual boot with Windows specifically for gaming compatibility. Ultimately though, my computer is so much more to me than just a gaming platform and I would rather sacrifice gaming performance for everything OS X brings to the table for the rest of my computing needs. Most gamers aren't willing to make that sacrifice.
  • I'm a gamer too and have been using a Mac for 15 years but got a PC at some point for more game choices. Recently the iMac has done well and I'm very happy with my mid 2011 27" i5 quad core 3.1GHz model with the ATI 6970M 1Gb of VRAM. It's good enough that I gave up completely on having a PC and instead installed Bootcamp-Windows. Most of the games I play on either OS run just fine (although often better under Windows) except for Skyrim which I have heavily modded. I would not recommend a Mac just for gaming but it is a good solution for me.
    I'm still hoping one day Apple will make a gaming box that sits between the Mac Pro and the Mac mini where the graphic card is accessible so it could be replaced 2-3 years later something that even Apple could sell.
    I'd like to add that there are also benefits to changing the whole machine every once in a while as opposed to upgrading only certain components at the time which doesn't give you the full boost of a new setup. I have found that picking a high end iMac with the best graphic card has served me well twice already for about 3 years until I sell it which also pays part of a new one. Finally my current iMac allowed a SSD upgrade which is fully functional under both Mac OS and Windows7.
    Oh and the screen is gorgeous, hard to beat worth half the price of the machine.
  • Never play games on Mac. Sent from the iMore App
  • I changed over to the iMac after using a PC from the DOS days just over a year ago. I will never go back unless Apple releases a "windows 8". I was formerly a big gamer on the PC but grew tired of it. I have a fairly powerful iMac with a I7 and good video adapter, it can play many of the games I'm interested in.....Deus Ex, Elder Scrolls, Bioshock Infinite with great graphics. If I really wanted to play games exclusive to PC I'd just install them in boot camp. For some reason installing Boot Camp to me pollutes the Mac environment. It doesn't seem right. I use Parallels to run Quicken but would love to banish it from my system. I'd love to banish it but Quicken Mac is a piece of crap.
  • Since the Mac App Store launched, I've been a very staunch supporter of gaming on the Mac. I've been gaming on bootcamp since Leopard, but It's only since the launch of the MAS that I've really started to embrace gaming in OS X. Primarily, I just love how everything is tied to my Apple ID so I personally always opt for the MAS version, even over Steam. This is a personal choice of mine. I know that Steam has huge benefits, particularly with Steamplay and that's a real benefit for Mac gamers who like to play in Windows. Of course, I still bootcamp myself and regularly play such titles as Battlefield 4, but ultimately I still loathe Windows as an operating system. Given the choice, I always try to stay in OS X as much as I can and so I always choose to purchase the Mac version of any game title, which is why I'll choose the MAS personally since I'd rather have the convenience of staying in OS X. And for me, I don't care as much as others with the fact that games naturally run smoother on Windows. Going crazy over frames per second numbers is not my priority like many PC geeks out there, but I have a beefy, fully upgraded 2012 27-inch iMac so I'm satisfied enough with performance running games in OS X. Anything to limit myself from using Windows! If I could dump Windows today, I would, but unfortunately, that's just not a very practical idea at the moment for any hardcore gamer wanting to use a Mac to play. I really think it's never been a better time to be a Mac gamer because of all the renewed support driven by digital distribution.
  • As a PC Gamer there is a lot more to why the Mac isn't/couldn't be a gaming machine. A game might run better in Boot Camp also because the Mac runs Windows but it is not installed by the OEMs. So it is not full of bloatware running little processes, taking up resources and causing conflict. A part of the problem is that a large number of Macs sold are laptops. While laptops are powerful I've never gamed on it because it's never as powerful as the similar costing desktop in most cases. The laptop also doesn't have the upgradability of a desktop. The mobile gaming market right now is far from a platform a hardcore gamer would switch too. It is more profitable and with PC gamers a niche it is a segment Apple can ignore. As a gamer though I wish it wasn't. I wish they would make a gamer's edition Mac even in limited numbers. A machine that is powerful like the MacPro but without the small size and soldered on components. A Mac that gamers could buy and upgrade with graphics cards, RAM, RAID Arrays, etc. Why? Just so I could game on a Mac Even if it ran Windows. Sent from the iMore App
  • Bought a late 2013 iMac with 4gb gpu and top shelf CPU. I used to have a windows desktop with a gtx 570 that was very capable of gaming (still under my desk, actually) but the new mac is actually more powerful. Only some games i own can be played on OSX, but I got an external thunderbolt drive that I'm trying to put windows on so I can play all of my games. And isn't gaming support more of a developer problem, not an Apple problem?
  • I just got an external thunderbolt drive too but instead of trying to jump around all these hoops to install Windows on it, I simply designated Steam and Origin downloads to default to my external drive. Been working great for me so far!
  • Good article! Like you I'm both a gamer and a Macintosh user so I feel your frustration. My main complaint from Apple is how ridiculously old their OpenGL drivers are. If Apple would just keep reasonable parity with the latest and greatest OpenGL code available, that in itself would go a LONG way toward helping matters. Perhaps what Valve is doing with SteamOS will indirectly help matters on the Mac.
  • I know what you mean , i play civ on the imac ....But want Bloodbowl to come to the mac.
    I don't always play games on the imac , but Apple should really listen to it's customer base
    we would welcome the chance to buy games.....It's not all just about work.
  • I've been a Mac Gamer since before the Mac, when I played Oregon Trail on the Apple IIe and Fortune Teller and Movie Mogul (I think those are the names) on the Mac SE. I play a variety of games including World of Warcraft MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG, Starcraft, Diablo, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, LEGO Star Wars Saga, Need for Speed: Carbon, HearthStone, Depths of Peril, Unreal Tournament, Doom, Quake, plus a slew of OS 9.x and 10.x.x games (WingNuts, CroMag Rally, Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2, ONI, BloodRayne 2, Star Wars Episode I Racer) through Mountain Lion. The only remaining games I'd still consider playing on Windows is Motocross Madness, BloodRayne 2, Need for Speed 2: High Stakes and Homeworld 2. So many of the latest games released on Windows are of no interest to me. It's so much of the same. Not big on the FPS War games, and just have so-so interest in BioShock, Assassin's Creed, Tomb Raider, HalfLife, etc. I don't feel like I'm missing much not being in Windows. Outside of that, I play games I downloaded from the Mac Store, play only one game on Steam, and the rest of the games I get from MacGameStore dotcom which I find pretty decent in titles; I use their client. Finally I also use Aspyr's Game Agent, but haven't gotten a game from there in some time. There was a time I got a sense at Macworld Expo about eight years ago that Mac Gaming might make a comeback, but Apple's support of Mac Gaming wavered since. There was great interest and a lot of potential during Macworld Expo's heyday when they hosted gaming tournaments and offered prizes. Though the graphics card doesn't have all the bells and whistles the bleeding edge games support, it does the job quite nicely. Current Rig:
    Mac Pro 12 Core 2point66 GHz
    Mac OS Snow Leopard on one drive
    Mac OS Lion on another drive
    Mac OS Mountain lion on another drive
    Boot Camp on another drive, running Windows 7 Pro
    Data Volume which I'll eventually convert from a data drive to a Mavericks OS.
    Running Parallels Desktop with Win 98/NT 4/7
    64 GB RAM
    11 TB HDD Internal
    1 GB Video RAM
  • I agree with some of the comments above that it would be nice if they beefed up the graphics hardware, designed it to support many of the bells and whistles we generally don't have access to in-game, and that Apple would keep their OpenGL drivers as current and powerful as possible. Another pet peeve is there are never enough driving games for the Mac where you can use an external Steering Wheel controller; and for the few driving games that are out there, the steering wheel manufacturer (cough cough Logitech) doesn't build in game presets or provide much of any support for the driving games and the driving games in turn don't always recognize the steering wheel USB inputs. Oh, and I wish I could find that company from like 10 years ago who designed an adapter that allowed you to plug your Atari Jaguar controller to your Mac's USB port!
  • I love my macs. Using it since 2000. Early i wasn't a gamer, only music product and web design. I bought my first new mac 2004, Powerbok G4 for music. I loved Garageband and iweb. Since 3 Years i like more to game. I play MMos, for example Eve Online. I am happy theres a native mac version. Since 1 year i play World of Tanks. I am not amused theres no mac version. I hate to start my iMac with Win7, although it works good. I Hope wargaming develops for mac in the future. WOT is the only game i need Bootcamp for. Theres no reason for me to buy a PC. I hate to work with it at job. Its no fun. My IMac has great gaming performance with Nvidia GTX 780M. I hope that more Publisher develop for mac. Mac users spend much more money for their devices and software, that have to be the advantage. I Think that the new mac aren't be too expensive. They have a big worth. I pay for good quality, thats ok. Sorry for my bad english... ;)
  • This is a great and interesting topic to talk about.
    I'm a Mac user, and I plan to keep on being, the iOS is so much faster, I don't think I can go return to windows anymore. The only game I play is League of Legends, and it's starting to get really heavy to my mbp (it's a core 2 duo already with 8gb ram and ssd disk). I really enjoy the game, and my mbp still works amazing on photoshop, or illustrator, or ableton live. Why don't they figure out an alternative way of building macs so we can upgrade graphics or processor?
  • I prefer OSX platform.. feels better and since I'm only playing wow its great. I do also have windows on my mac so i go there when need it, but really prefer mac. Windows 7 feels great but i don't know... i prefer mac of because of iTunes, safari, notes, and it just feels better. I will give anything for all games to be mac supported. sorry my english.
  • I prefer Mac for gaming. Overall the mac hardware is of high quality and well assembled. I have played Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on my Macbook Pro Retina 2012 and it is fantastic no frames per second lag and that is with an NVIDIA GT 650M. I notice that macs are not made for gaming as in the past their hardware degrades if one games for extended periods. However I just bought a new iMac desktop and their hardware is definitely improving putting better NVIDIA graphic cards inside, such as mine is a GTX 780m 4gb.
    Many people think that still sucks because it has a laptop graphics card but if it can run Battlefield 3 on high at 80 fps that to me is fantastic. Their Intel processors have made many leaps now reaching a 4 core multithreading processor that can turboboost up to 3.9 Ghz.
    The new hard drives have especially caught my interest the new "fusion drive" is a great add-on. It is similar to a hybrid drive which is good for people who want space and an upgrade on speed.
    So I can see that apple has taken a large interest in gaming especially if anyone watched the WWDC14 Keynote where they dedicated a large portion to one of their gaming partners. While they were demonstrating a simple casual game the graphics requirement was insane and this was for an iPad. To me however, if Apple wants to get in the gaming industry it needs to reach out to more gaming companies and get their hardware updated regularly such as their graphics cards.
    I am looking forward to future partnerships with larger gaming companies such as Valve, as Microsoft in their infinite wisdom has decided to get rid of their Games for Windows Live and many of the developers have partnered with steamworks or gone on their own to keep their game alive.
  • The 780M is actually a very good gaming solution. It will run most current games in high detail without a hitch. I just wish Apple would throw a x80M card into one of their MacBook Pro laptops. A gaming edition laptop would be for the win. The current 750M just barely cuts it IMO. Razer Blade laptops prove you can have thin and powerful. They currently sport an 870M.
  • There's a driver for the Xbox One controller being developed, it's worth checking out and supporting.
  • Over the past few years, I have converted from a 50/50 Mac/PC ecosystem to a 90/10 ration with Microsoft in the 10% margin, and only for games that I cannot run natively on MacOS or in Wineskin. For me, the reason is convenience. I have always considered myself a serious MMORPG gamer, having played most of the big titles with at least one on the go at any given time. I prefer the MacOS environment for a number of reasons, but simplicity and cost of system maintenance from both a monetary and time-investment perspective are my largest reasons for sticking with it. My experiences with Microsoft over the years have been largely unpleasant. This includes sub-par customer service, over-complicated implementations of cost-prohibitive operating systems and productivity software that are prone to a variety of forms of failure. Compare that with a one-time investment on hardware that opens up your world to a variety of often free or modestly priced quality software and an operating system environment that is stable, reliable and fast and easy to maintain and it is no contest. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I'm done with wasting my time on Windows. That 10% will be eliminated the day every game I want to play is available on MacOS natively.
  • As a developer for a large gaming company, supporting Linux in addition to Windows is already a massive overhead in development costs, given the differences in distros, windowing systems, drivers, etc. on Linus operating systems. Because Linux has its extensive benefits over Windows on our game servers, we've decided it is worth it. Macs offer no such benefits that Linux doesn't already cover and do a better job of it. As a developer for my personal indie projects, I like having one single computer upon which I can test my software products extensively enough to eliminate most issues for the vast majority of my end users. On my PC, I can test my code on Windows and Linux, on nVidia and AMD cards, and although developing for Linux is a pain, it requires no additional hardware to do so. If I wanted to develop as reliably for Mac, I'd have to purchase Macs in addition to the massive overhead in development time. I will always develop for Windows, I will often develop for Linux too, but you will never find me developing games for Mac. It is simply not worth the overhead in development time and hardware costs. Mac users don't seem to acknowledge the fact that developing a game for Mac isn't just a simple "recompile game for Mac" command. Every little thing you see in your game has the potential to break on particular hardware if it wasn't developed with that hardware in mind. Macs make that an even bigger problem, for the obvious reasons. Even in the mobile market, I target my casual games for Android due to market share and accessibility. Apple simply made a bad choice for closed-development in the dark ages of technology, and that's a mistake that will cost them a piece of the gaming pot.