Apple is finally pushing hard to bring back gamers on Mac

Apple MacBook Pro

Apple makes one of the best personal computers, but gaming was never its priority. The company expressed interest in entering the gaming market but did not actively pursue game developers to bring their games to macOS. It always had powerful systems but never made them for gaming. Apple’s prime focus was offering compact but powerful PCs and laptops for productivity and performance. But WWDC 23 has changed the whole game. Apple made two key announcements that confirmed that Apple is finally serious about gaming on Mac.

Before I tell you about recent announcements, you should first have a look at the history of Gaming on Mac.

History of Gaming on Mac

Macs in the late 80s and early 90s had a favorable position in gaming, but Apple always avoided promoting any of its machines as a gaming system. In the late 80s several games including Dark Castle, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and SimCity were launched Apple was the first company to ship computers with CD-ROM drives. So, several CD-ROM-based games were initially developed for Mac. 1993’s Myst was originally developed for the Macintosh. This was the highest-selling game of the 1990s. SimCity 2000 was also developed for Mac and was ported to Windows.

Read: Interesting Facts about Video Games

Mac was looking good gaming platform attracting most game developers, but things changed soon after Microsoft released Windows 95. Apple’s sales were falling and it found really hard to compete against Windows. After the return of Steve Jobs to Apple in 1997, Apple’s prime focus was to offer a good personal computer to consumers. Steve Jobs disliked video games, so gaming was not the prime focus. But Apple made a few attempts to bring some good games to Mac. In 1999 at Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs announced a new blockbuster title for Mac. This was the original Halo game by developer Bungie. But Microsoft acquired Bungie and made the game exclusive to Xbox. This was heartbreaking for the company.

Over the years, game developers lost their interest in making games for Mac. The primary reason was the low number of Mac users as compared to Windows users. So, most PC gamers were buying Windows computers for gaming.

Also see: Best Deals on Mac

Apple’s success in gaming came with iPhone

Apple’s biggest gaming success came after the launch of the iPhone. Apple also worked hard to make iPhone a good gaming platform. Due to the high market share of the iPhone and iPad, major publishers and developers released their games for iPhone. Apple also started making a huge revenue from the App Store cut. Gaming on smartphones was a good revenue source for Apple. As per a report published in 2021, Apple earned more money from gaming than Microsoft and Nintendo made in 2021.

With Apple Arcade, Apple attempted to push further in the gaming segment. Apple Arcade is a video game subscription service that is available on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac. Several noted game publishers and developers partnered with Apple to create Arcade games.

During WWDC 2020, Apple confirmed its plan to switch Mac computers from Intel processors to Apple silicon. Apple Silicon-based Mac computers had very capable GPUs. Not many games were available on the Mac, but people tried some of the high-end games available on the Mac and surprisingly found good gaming performance. Games like Total War: Warhammer 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and F1 2017 were offering good gaming performance on the M1 Pro MacBook Pro. I also tried playing some of the Steam games on Macbook Air with M1 and was impressed by the graphics performance. All we require now is a high-refresh-rate display-equipped Mac computer and a gaming-optimized keyboard.

WWDC 2 announcements show how serious Apple is about Mac gaming

macOS Sonoma will come with Game Mode. Game Mode promises to offer an optimized gaming experience with smoother and more consistent frame rates. It ensures that games get the highest priority on the CPU and GPU to make gaming more immersive. Game Mode also lowers audio latency with AirPods and also reduces input latency with gaming controllers.

macOS Sonoma will come with Game Mode

Along with Game Mode, Apple also announced Game Porting Toolkit that can help developers bring their Windows games to MacOS. Game Porting Toolkit translates controller inputs, audio and graphics APIs, CPU instructions, and other APIs automatically. So, Mac computers can now run DirectX 12 games. Developers can use this toolkit to understand how well their game could run on Mac. This will help them in creating the Mac game port. Users can also use it as an emulator to run Windows games on Mac.

Apple has also published the Game Porting Toolkit under an open-source license, Anyone can add it to their applications. With this step, Apple has brought thousands of Windows games to Mac.

What Should Apps Do Now?

Apple has its own hardware, own software, and own distribution system. If you look closely, Apple is the biggest game publisher even if it is not a game publisher. It has everything it needs to dominate gaming. Now the company needs to encourage game developers to bring games to Mac. Apple needs to start incentivizing game developers for Mac games. Apple can also bring some exclusive AAA games and it will surely bring several gamers to Mac.

Apple should also establish a dedicated gaming ecosystem for Mac users, similar to what they have done with the App Store for iOS devices. This gaming system Mac will provide a centralized platform for discovering, purchasing, and downloading games. Apple should also start engaging with the gaming community through events, conferences, and online platforms. By listening to feedback, collaborating with gamers, and addressing their specific needs, Apple can build a positive reputation among the gaming community and establish itself as a viable platform for gaming.

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