How to unlock your Mac’s potential and play all the games you want

It’s so common to hear Macs suck for gaming. “There’re no games to play!”they say all the time! But the real problem isn’t trolls saying this. What bothers me is that most people (and even some Mac users) believe Mac gaming is non-existent too! Well, this guide is meant to clear things up. Macs are perfectly capable gaming machines, if you know how to use them. You will be surprised with all the ways you can use your Mac to play pretty much every PC-games out there.

In this guide, we will cover all the methods available to play games on your Mac, from the easiest, better known methods, to the more “obscure”, yet highly efficient ones. I will cover:

  1. Playing native Mac games on your Mac
  2. Playing PC games with Bootcamp
  3. Playing PC games using virtualization software
  4. Playing PC games using a wrapper (Wine)

Let’s get down to it!

 

1. Playing native Mac games on your Mac

Mac games native

It can’t get easier than this… Plug and play!

This one is quite obvious, but I did say I would cover all methods! The easiest way to play a game on your Mac is with native Mac games.

Simply put, this means the game was created and coded to work on Mac OS X, out of the box. No tweaking required. You just need to:

  1. Get the game
  2. Install it
  3. Play!

Native Mac games can be either coded during the game’s development or afterwards.
To give you an example, Blizzard will work on both a PC and a Mac version of their games from the get go. This is why they always release PC and Mac versions of their games at the same time.

In most cases though, games are ported to the Mac afterwards. They are usually released on the PC first and then the game is translated to work on the Mac. This is either done by the game’s developer (like ArenaNet did with Guild Wars 2), or by Third-party companies which specialise on  porting games to the Mac. The main two Mac porting companies are Feral Interactive and Aspyr.

 

Are there really many Mac games?

In spite of popular belief, there’s a ton of great games available for the Mac! You have hundreds available today, including heavy-hitters such as StarCraft 2, Civilization V, Call of Duty games, Borderlands 2 and more. Every year, more and more games come to the Mac. You can see a very detailed infographic about this, from my most popular post: The State of Mac Gaming. Still not convinced? Just check Mac Gamer HQ’s older posts and see all the game announcements happening all the time!

 

Where to get them?

Some people still think you can only find Mac games in obscure stores. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You can buy hundreds of Mac games from the comfort of your home thanks to the many internet stores out there.

Here are the most popular stores offering Mac games:

Steam: Steam not only offers thousands of PC-games for digital download, they also offer but hundreds of Mac games too! Some of these games are even Steam-enabled, meaning you buy them once but get both PC and Mac versions. Some Steam-play enabled games also include cross-platform multiplayer between Mac and PC!

Mac App Store: Apple’s Mac App Store is also a great place to find hundreds of Mac games. Mac App Store’s games also include Game Center support, giving you leaderboards, achievements and more.

Mac Game Store: This one is a Mac-exclusive digital game store. I really like the presentation and information they have for every single game they offer. Good store.

GOG.com: Last but not least, GOG.com is different from the rest. They offer both PC and Mac games too but they focus on older games. If you like old-school games such as System Shock or the original SimCity, this is the place to shop!

Benefits

  • Easiest solution: works out of the box
  • Performance is usually optimized
  • You support Mac gaming

Drawbacks

  • Some games can be more expensive on Mac (compared to PC)
  • Smaller selection compared to PCs
  • Several high-profile games don’t make it to the Mac

 

2. Playing PC games with Bootcamp

Mac Games BootCampBut even if more and more games are released on the Mac, some high-profile PC-games just won’t make it to the Mac. Ever. What if you want to play Crysis 3 or Dishonored?

Do not worry, all is not lost. The Mac offers many, many methods to play pretty much every PC-game available today. Let’s talk about the easiest one: BootCamp.

What is BootCamp?

Boot Camp is a free utility that allows you to install and run the Windows Operating system.  Once Windows is installed on your Mac’s hard drive, you can restart your machine and use either either Mac OS X or Windows. It may force you to restart your Mac every time you want to play a Windows game, but BootCamp lets you run Windows natively. This is why many Mac gamers chose this method: there’s no virtualization or emulation involved. You Mac runs Windows using all it’s power, just like any other PC. The bottom line, BootCamp will give you the best performance possible, which is why it is the best way to play high-performance games.

How to install it?

BootCamp is very straightforward. You just need to open the BootCamp application in your Utilities folder and follow the assistant:

BootCamp install

You can check Apple’s support page for FAQs and guides on how to install and use BootCamp.

Benefits

  • BootCamp gives you access to all PC-games out there
  • Straight-forward method (if you are familiar to Windows)
  • You get the best performance possible

Drawbacks

  • Unpractical (you need to restart your Mac just to play a game)
  • Only works on Intel-Macs
  • Requires a Windows license
  • Requires lots of hard-drive space (for the Windows installation and its games)

 

3. Playing PC games using Virtualization software

Mac games using ParallelsFor those who find BootCamp tedious and just don’t want to have to reboot in order play a game, Virtualization software can be a good option. You have two main virtualization solutions in the market: Parallels and VMware Fusion.

As most tests and benchmarks found Parallels to offer better performance for games, we will focus on Parallels only.

 

Using Parallels

Parallels allows you to install Windows on your Mac too (or even use your BootCamp installation if you have it) but it offers something BootCamp can’t: You can have both Mac OS X and Windows running at the same time! With Virtualization, you can run two (or more!) operating systems at the same time. As a gamer, you can be using OS X  for all your everyday activities, but also have Windows 7 running at the same time for occasional gaming. Overall, you have most of the benefits of Boot Camp but without the need to restart your Mac. Is it a perfect solution? No, it also has some drawbacks, including a performance decrease (your Mac needs to run two operating systems at the same time!)

Mac games using Parallels

Rocking Mountain Lion and Windows 7 simultaneously!

Benefits

  • Parallels gives you access to all PC-games out there too
  • Straight-forward method (if you are familiar to Windows)
  • Practical: You don’t need to reboot to use Windows
  • Allows you to use Mac and Windows apps at the same time

Drawbacks

  • Requires a Parallels license (costs $110.97!)
  • Requires a Windows license
  • Requires lots of hard-drive space (for the Windows installation and its games)
  • Hurts graphics-performance significantly (modern games will suffer a lot)

 

4. Playing PC games using a Wrapper

Wine logo

For those who still want to play PC games but do not want to have to deal with Windows (and pay for it!), one last method exists: using a Wrapper . In this guide, we will focus on Wine.

What is Wine?

According to Cult of Mac’s tutorial:

Wine actually runs as more of a translator between the instructions in the PC program and the Mac operating system. It basically fools Windows into thinking they are running in a Windows environment, without actually emulating that environment (and taking the same performance hit) like Parallels does. Wine has the benefit of a large, open-source community for support as well, which means it will continue to get better and improve compatibility for a lot of games along the way.

For a complete guide on how tu use Wine, check out Cult of Mac’s great tutorial here.

Benefits

  • Wine gives you access to most PC-games
  • Doesn’t require a Windows license (or any other paying software)
  • Doesn’t require you to use Windows at all
  • Practical: You don’t need to reboot to play PC-games

Drawbacks

  • The most complex method of all
  • Requires a lot of tweaking
  • Not all PC-games will work
  • Performance will not be as high as with BootCamp

 

Your turn

Hopefully, after these almost 7000 words, you are a believer. There are many ways to play games on your Mac. When you know this, your Mac truly becomes a more than capable gaming machine.

However, when it comes to gaming, the “it just works” isn’t accurate. You have to read on, investigate and decide what is the best solution for you.

I cannot tell you which one is the best, because it depends on you: How often you want to play PC-games? Does it bother you a lot to have to reboot? Are you willing to pay for Windows licenses or third-party software?

For me, BootCamp with Parallels work wonders. I only use BootCamp when I know I will play a high-performance game for a couple of hours. The rest of the time I use Parallels (which I configured to use the same partition as BootCamp) to install games, tweak them or play light games without having to leave my precious Mac OS X. :)

Now I’m going to ask you 2 things:

  1. Tell me in the comments what method do you use
  2. Share this guide with all your friends who think Macs can’t play games ;)
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  • http://gravatar.com/iomek iomek

    …or build a hackintosh I suppose. :D I’m starting to lean towards that option, mainly because I don’t want to have to install a huge partition of Windows via Bootcamp on my Mac. You still have to use the slower more ancient OpenGL, but at least you can use a monster graphics card.

    • http://macgamerhq.com Ric Molina

      Well you know I love Hackintoshs so I can only agree with you there ;) Technically I wouldn’t call Hackintosh a different “method” to play games, but more of a special kind of Mac. For example, with my Hackinstosh, I still use the combination Windows (ok, you don’t need BootCamp but it’s the same principle) + Parallels.
      The biggest advantage of a Hackintosh for gaming over most Macs is that you can easily upgrade it and put monster Graphics cards indeed. The main advantage over a Mac Pro is the price….
      Go for it, but only if you don’t mind some tweaking (the initial setup is not always hassle free)!

      What Mac are you currently using?

      • http://gravatar.com/iomek iomek

        I’m using an early 2011 2.2GHz i7 15″ Macbook Pro with a AMD Radeon HD 6750M, Scorpio Black 750GB WD and 16 GB of RAM. I’m also hooked up to a 30″ Cinema Display. I’m mainly looking at a hackintosh now, because like you said, the price is much more affordable. And you can upgrade more easily.

        Not to mention, I just started play Heart of the Swarm, and I’m very saddened by the performance under Mountain Lion. I’m still considering a Windows 8 Bootcamp partition for a stop-gap measure though, seeing as how Wineskins are buggy and VMs are too sluggish for me. Perhaps retina displays will nudge Apple into improving their graphics engine and cause them to implement better graphics cards.

        • http://macgamerhq.com Ric Molina

          I plan on getting Heart of the Swarm this week end, I will let you know how it runs on my Hackintosh :)

          BTW, nice rig you have there!

          • http://gravatar.com/iomek iomek

            Thanks! I still wish it had a better graphics card, but I think it will last me awhile.

            Heart of the Swarm is so awesome! Blizzard really stepped it up this time. It’s definitely way more fun and interesting than Wings of Liberty. I only wish the campaign was a little longer.

          • http://macgamerhq.com Ric Molina

            We will have to play Heart of the Swarm one of these days thenlol, BTW, I tried to reach you by mail but the address didn’t work, can you send it through the “contact” page?

            Cheers man!

  • Pavel

    > Requires a Parallels license (costs $110.97!)

    Where did the cost come from?

    Normally it costs $79.99, right now – $64.99.

    • http://macgamerhq.com Ric Molina

      Hi Pavel, the price comes from the website actually at buy.parallels.com… Unless they change the price for each country (even if I ask to have a price on dollars) – I’m in France

  • http://gravatar.com/markgregory1985 MGregory666

    Bootcamp all the way for me. Everything else is just to long and complicated. Playing games is meant to be fun and “easy” why I always try to find the game on OSX first if not Bootcamp will suffice.

    • http://macgamerhq.com Ric Molina

      I have to agree on that, gaming is supposed to be about having fun :) and BootCamp also gives you the most performance you can get…. It’s also my number one source when the game doesn’t exist on Mac and I know I’ll play for a while.
      Thanks for the comment!

  • http://gravatar.com/ikir ikir

    Mac only for me, sometimes I use Crossover which is getting better and better :) IMHO every user who rely on Bootcamp should bother the game developer for a OS X version ;)

    • http://macgamerhq.com Ric Molina

      We just need to get their personal cellphone numbers and start harassing them for more games on the Mac ;)
      How well does Crossover work for you? Haven’t really tried it myself…

  • Eric Carter

    Thanks a lot for the article. It really helped a lot.

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Always a pleasure! I think most people don’t know about this, which is one of the reasons Mac gaming struggles to gain more interest….

  • Ryan Williams

    Where do I get a windows license? How much does it cost and is there a preferred license?

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Well, you can find the Windows license pretty much everywhere. To give you an example, Amazon here has all the Windows versions you can imagine: http://www.amazon.com/microsoft-windows-7-8-software/b?ie=UTF8&node=1286119011
      To give you an example of the costs, a Windows 7 home premium will cost you around 170$, which is pretty expensive just to play games, I agree…. But it can also serve you with Bootcamp.

  • Tim Race

    I’m looking into getting a MacBook Pro to replace my laptop. I would like to be able to play games like Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty but I don’t know I’d it would work well. What Mac laptop do you suggest to surf, do school work, and play games?

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Hey Tim, a MacBook Pro is a pretty good choice, they are great all-around machines.
      Regarding which one, man that’s a hard one, as I would basically say “get the most expensive one” but not everybody has an unlimited Mac budget!
      Focus on the graphics card, you can get a “standard” 15 inch MacBook Pro and bump up the graphics card on the Apple Store website, that should help you run games faster :)

  • Robby

    Hey, I have a MacBook Pro, and want to play PC games, but don’t know the “best” and least expensive way. I already have parallels, and it came with windows 8, however quality does suffer. Would I be better getting Windows 7, or getting 16 GB of RAM for parallels? Thanks!
    P.S. I don’t plan on playing too many games, mostly PlanestSide 2 and possibly Star Wars the Old Republic. These games can be heavy-hitters on a pc, so Parallels with only 4 GB of RAM isn’t an option.

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      What I did was to use BootCamp to install Windows and then use that BootCamp installation to use Parallels when needed.
      In your case, use your Windows copy and install it with BootCamp. That should give you the best performance.
      If restarting your Mac each time annoys you, than you can buy Parallels and during setup, chose that same BootCamp partition.

      Try to optimize the software before buying more RAM. If Bootcamp + Parallels still give you crappy performance, than upgrade the RAM.
      In any case, Parallels will hurt your performance…

      • Robby

        I used the free Windows 8 file that now comes with Parallels 8. I run Lion, so I don’t think I can run Windows 8, however, if I upgrade to Mountain Lion, can I somehow obtain the ISO file from the Windows 8 copy? Thanks!

        • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

          Check out this FAQ on using Bootcamp with Windows 8. You will probably find everything you need ;) If not let us know, perhaps someone around has managed to solve a similar problem!

  • Dan Hayward

    Hi – I chose the bootcamp option prior to reading this post so am pleased it is a ‘known’ or even ‘common’ way of accessing the many brilliant titles out there on a Mac.

    However, having successfully played a good few games on my boot-camped version of windows to date, I have recently come across a problem with BioShock Infinite.

    I was going great guns on this game until I got to the loading screen of one specific level (Plaza of Zeal) and it simply hangs. No music, no movement, no cursor – just plane stuck.

    I trawled the internet for solutions, and tried a good few, but I could only find those that related to people that have altered there .ini files etc – needless to say I haven’t (I’m not that smart!).

    I also updated my graphics card, validated the game files through steam and a few other bits and bobs – all to no avail.

    As a last ditch attempt to get the game going again (and relinquish the sense of guilt I now have over buying the game in the first place!), I approached 2K Gaming support for help. This proved futile as all they were able to tell me, in a nice but totally unhelpful way, was “you’re running it on a Mac right?”. “Yes” I said. “We don’t support Mac’s”. [End of conversation].

    No help coming from there then.

    So – long story short time – can you offer any advice for troubleshooting this issue? Surely there is something I can do to revive my game and get it past this seemingly troublesome level? Considering I have been playing this game issue free for a good many hours so far, I refuse to believe it is solely related to the fact I am running it on a Mac!

    Any ideas/help/advice welcome!

    Thanks

    Dan

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Hey Dan, I’m still waiting for BioShock Infinite to come on the Mac so I cannot help you “directly” with this problem.
      In my opinion you have 2 solutions and I would do them on this order:
      1. Find the most detailed guide possible on how to modify those .ini files (which can be intimidating but not THAT hard once you give it a shot)

      2. Contact 2K again and not say you are running it on a Mac. Probably they think you mean Mac OS X. But you are using Windows and Macs using Windows through Bootcamp natively, the same way a Dell would.
      Tell them your Windows version, Graphics card model and software version and that’s it.
      Don’t even mention you are on a Mac. Why bother trying to explain the whole thing when you are running the game natively just as everyone else!

      • Dan Hayward

        Thanks for the advice Mac Gamer Ric – I will take a look at the ini files again then to see if there is anything that can be fixed that way.

        On the last point, which is a good one, I didn’t tell them anything about the fact I was running the game on a Mac partition as I thought exactly the same thing – why waste the time trying to explain it? Sadly they asked me to send in my dxdiag and config32 files and I think they got it from there.

        This is my concern – I don’t think they even tried to resolve the problem. They just saw it was a Mac and replied accordingly. Really frustrated with that approach.

        So now my options are to either give it up as a lost cause and wave goodbye to my dosh or, wait for it to come out on Mac in a few days and start all over again – neither are appealing to me to be honest!

        Any further suggestions/advice most welcome!!

        • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

          Damn, they put you on a though spot there. You should really try the .ini files hacking, something tells me it shouldn’t be that hard. Otherwise you will have to “fight” with them and make your point that the Mac is running Windows natively so they have to support it (explaining you meet the Windows minimum requirements too).

          Last thing would be to start all over again on Mac. The game is coming out tomorrow and is Steam-play enabled so you don’t need to buy it again ;)

  • Aden

    I like to get a Mac for school. However, I like to use the Mac as a gaming laptop. But in the previous comment it looks like it will be frustrating to play PC games in bootcamp?

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      The ideal would be to play mostly native games on the Mac, with no Bootcamp needed….
      In all honesty, once Bootcamp is set up, it is as straightforward as simply restarting a computer.

      • Aden

        If it is easy y is the previous commenter having a lot of problems
        ?

        • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

          Dan is having a lot of problems because his BioShock Infinite is messing around…. That’s more an exception than a rule…

          • Aden

            If I run bootcamp in Mac it will work like an ordinary windows pc?

            What do u think it is the suggested memory for both windows and Mac OS X

          • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

            That’s the seliing point mate. At the end a Mac is a PC, it uses the same components as a Dell or whatever and it can run Windows nately, so yes it is really the same.
            The only thing is that the drivers come from Apple and can sometimes be slightly old.

            I would suggest at least 4gigs RAM in any case, the more the better… Are you picking up a Macbook or iMac?

          • Aden

            I’m want to get a MacBook Pro

            What is your suggested hard drive size for both windows and OS X

          • Aden

            Is it possible if you could give me you email address and I could talk to you further by emailing you rather than in the comment section

          • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

            Sure, you can get in touch with me through the contact form here: http://www.macgamerhq.com/contact/

  • Nawmi

    This is totally out of topic…but i downloaded Counterstrike: GO for my Mac. I played it using steam for a few days. And then this new armsdeal update for the game came and after updating I cant play the game anymore! If i start it, it crashes on the first page. Any solution to this problem?

    P.S. I have tried deleting and restoring it from backup, I tried downloading the game again, I tried verifying integrity of cache!

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Wow, very specific problem you got there. I am sorry to say I haven’t played CS on Mac so I won’t be of much use. I did have a similar problem with another game and I honestly tried everything and never found a solution The game wasn’t that interesting so I left it to rot on my Steam library…. Sorry!

  • Nosferatu

    Bootcamp only gets interesting on a Mac Pro with a spare hard drive. Since High End gaming requires a rig like the Mac Pro anyway, that’s the solution I use. I am more interested in Wine though, didn’t know that one.

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      You would be surprised with how good the latest iMacs can be. In some cases they are faster than current Mac Pros (which is understandable given their age).
      Wine is very interesting indeed but damn tricky, I don’t like spending too much time messing around with that.

      • Nosferatu

        I know I was considering the new iMac 27″, but I wasn’t sure if the 680MX was gonna give the same performance as the EVGA GTX 680.
        I just bought the EVGA card for my Mac Pro before hearing about the upcoming new Mac Pro, which would not support component upgrades. I am even considering upgrading my 2 Xeon processors instead of waiting how the new Pro is gonna turn out.

        • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

          I have to agree with you on that, a GTX 680 is of course better for gaming than a “mobile” version of the same card.
          Having said that, when you take into account the price of an iMac Vs a Mac Pro, it really changes the whole thing, as getting even an older Mac Pro + a GTX 680 will be a hell of a lot more expensive than a top of the line iMac for perhaps 10% more performance while playing games.
          This is of course no scientific analysis but you get the point ;)

          • Guest

            I got an older (2010) Mac Pro + GTX 680.
            Unlike the iMac, with the (old) Mac Pro you can just get the base version and still upgrade it with (cheaper) market components like GPU, RAM, CPU.
            Basically I do what I used to do with my PCs, LOL!

          • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

            Exactly! Is like buying RAM through Apple or Sony or whomever for that matter, it’s always better to buy that yourself. I love how the Mac Pros are almost as flexible as a Windows Tower!

  • Reuben Tor

    I’ve played tonnes of video games, both Mac native games and PC games via Bootcamp.

    Asphalt 6 (Mac)
    Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (Mac)
    Assassin’s Creed Revelations (Windows)
    Batman Arkham Asylum (Mac)
    Batman Arkham City (Mac)
    Borderlands (Windows)
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Mac)
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Windows)
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Windows)
    Call of Duty: Black Ops (Windows)
    Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Mac)
    Fifa 12 (Windows)
    Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (Windows)
    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Mac)
    Prototype (Windows)
    Prototype 2 (Windows)
    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Windows)
    Sleeping Dogs (Windows)

    Thats all I can think of for now. Cheers! (:

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      You got some pretty awesome games there!
      What was your experience playing Native Mac games? Performance wise?

    • Reetro

      mine…..iMac Late 2012, 8Gig RAM,1TB HD
      1.F1 2013
      2.Borderlands 2
      3.Bioshock Infinite
      4.Amnesia War Pigs
      5.Max Payne 3
      6.Modern Warfare 3,
      7.Tomb Raider 2013,
      8.Black Ops
      9.Dead Island
      10.Goat Simulator,
      11.GTA 4,
      12.Omerta,
      13.Spec Ops
      14.XCOM Elite Edition

      No Bootcamp & Parallels..100% Mac
      Enjoyed it so far…..

      • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

        Nice games there, but I see you put GTA 4 there, that can’t be 100% Mac.. Unless you found a wrapper for it?

        • Reetro

          got that game from verified torrent..but i deleted it last week due to lag..maybe you need a Mac Pro or something,its was just unplayable with my iMac

  • Raymond Mcfarlane

    I have used Boot camp since I got my late 2011 macbook pro successfully. I upgraded to full 8gigs ram increased hd to 750g 7200pm ( I plan on getting a hybrid later on for increased speed ) and have had no problems with the games I play. I use boot champ which I got from the hackstore ( which is perfectly legal open source type mac tweaks ) which will automaticaly reboot me into windows form mac os. I like the fact that I can get the latest catalyst drivers for my radeon 6750m if you know how to install them properly. The games I play are mostly 3rd person shooters like Dead Space and Mass Effect and they run great with full settings, Dishonoured and Crysis 2,3 whoa not so much, you have to tone down the settings significantly. I used wine to translate windows in unbunto but I had no idea it did the same for mac. I heard of parallels but I am not forking out $110 cash when I have no extra charge solutions at my finger tips.

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Sounds like you know what you’re doing! I’m honestly not surprised Crysis 2 and 3 and the like struggle in a 2011 MacBook Pro. They are extremely demanding after all and would struggle on most laptop PCs too…

      I use Parallels but I have to agree $100 is a lot just to play games when you don’t want to boot into Windows. I think Native + Bootcamp is plenty already!

  • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

    Hey man, I hope you got my email with my answer. Basically, I would suggest using Bootcamp and try to install the games again. Bootcamp is generally more stable than Parallels, which should give you a better chance of success!

  • Liam Mulcahy

    For bootcamp it says it has no emulation but bootcamp emulates windows

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Bootcamp allows you to install Windows. Once it’s installed, you can run Windows natively. That’s why I say it doesn’t emulate it but just runs it as any other PC.

  • Brandon Hedrick

    Hey man I want you realize I’m explaining this on a very basic level so its not super complex. Apple uses openCL framework to support 3d games. Windows uses Direct x11.x. When you install Windows via bootcamp you will be able to play any Directx11 game because you are running windows. Also yes technically a GT750M will run BT4 but you will struggle to run it at higher (maybe even medium settings) without sacrificing resolution. Hope this helpes

  • Raymond Mcfarlane

    You could also try using game booster from the razor site as it turns off several windows settings when you play your games in order to give them even more resources. It won’t be the same as having a monster vid card but will probably give a few more fps.

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Good comment! I used to do that. Honestly, I don’t know how much it helped but it will sure improve performance, at least a little bit! Thanks for the tip!

    • Th3taJ

      Oh that’s awesome! Thank for the info Ray!

  • Jess DeTata

    OK I know nothing about computers so please bare with me. I just bought the brand new top of the line most expensive Macbook Pro. I am currently deployed overseas right now and on my off time it gets horribly boring out here. I want to start playing games on it… Alot of people are telling me running windows is just a bad idea and that it could mess my macbook up. someone just clarify this for me. i want to start playing games but dont know if i should get windows. remember im an idiot when it comes to computers.

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Hey Jess, don’t worry man, we all started like you, not knowing much about Macs.
      2 points that I need to clarify:

      – Start slow, start easy, get a couple of games which work natively on Mac. That way you don’t have to worry about windows at all. It’s also the easiest way to install them and make them work. Just google Steam Mac and you will find more than you could ever want!

      – Installing Windows using Bootcamp will not mess up your Mac (but it will introduce bugs and issues common to windows, nothing major though..)

      Good luck!

  • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

    Yep, that’s the main drawback of virtualization… Sometimes it’s just a pain to make it work and demands lots of tinkering…. If you’re not comfortable with that, I suggest Native first, Bootcamp second…

  • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

    That’s great, Brandon already said everything I could have said…. Just to summarize:
    – Windows uses DirectX (and only Windows can)
    – Mac OSX uses OpenGL (as DirectX is not compatible)
    – A Mac machine can run both Windows and OS X, therefore if you boot into Windows thought bootcamp, you have DirectX

    Other than, you got yourself a sweet machine there! Congratz! That said, Battlefield 4 is like one of the most demanding games out there. You would need a monster Graphics card and Ram and processor to run that a the highest settings. Your Mac will probably only manage mid settings.

    Let us know how it works man, I’m sure people here will be interested!

  • Fed A

    Hi, i’ve got a white mac 2011 with 8gb of ram and 256 mb of nvidia Geforce Graphics card, now i want to know whether i could play games using wine bottler.

    Ok here’s the deal, i’ve download a pc game, so my plan is to open it up with wine, I’ve done this before with Assasin’s creed revelations and it ran great.
    But this game i’ve downloaded it says that the minimum system requirements are 512 mb of video graphics card, so will i be able to play it with low settings? I don’t care about the high graphics shit, i just want to know if im able to play it…
    Also, does the ram affect the graphics in any way?

    • Chris Tallant

      There’s an app called “GameAgent” that will take a snapshot of your current hardware profile and come back with all the available mac and pc games available (through WINE and bootcamp or VM) and tell you which are on sale or whatever, and even send you email if you want when certain sales for Borderlands or Civ V show up on various sites. Check it out and tell me what you think: https://www.gameagent.com

  • digitalcrow

    On mac you will have the half of performance that you have on windows or linux this is the LAW ! So your graphics card will not be able to give its full capabilities . Macs are expensive for no reason i don’t think mac osx has good performance either in 3d or in general they only reason to get a mac is if you want an alternative os and you need professional apps to run on it.

    • Keegan

      Actually, i run some pretty heavy games on my mid 2013 MacBook Air just fine. This includes Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Devil May Cry. Dont knock a Mac man, i used to till i got one.

      • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

        Favorite comment of the week… You know your stuff Keegan ;)

    • Chris Tallant

      Site technical sources or try trolling elsewhere.

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  • Chris Tallant

    It *should* be fine, since I’ve played BF4 on my 15″ non-retina 2012 model…but the 13″ I believe has the standard Intel graphics card.. One thing you can do is on the bootcamp partition, google the site “can I play this” (I think the site is called systemrequirements.com or something close) and you can check out various games with a little java applet that will poll your hardware to tell you if it’ll run or not.

  • alejo

    I tried installing a game called Imperiumao. It worked well (with wine) at the installation but when I opened the game it said there was an error because of something of the software . Is this because it is not compatible or why?

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Whoa, you’re getting something so specific I would need to try the same game with the same wine installation ;S I’m afraid I won’t be able to help you there buddy…

  • Th3taJ

    I love this article, I really do.
    It so much more informative that any information you can Google when looking for ways to run all games on your Mac Desktop. However, I have found that there are so many games available on Mac nowadays that I really don’t need to boot in any other OS.
    I have a PS3, PS4, and 3DS as well so any game that usually isn’t available on the Mac is available on one of my consoleI have a PS3, PS4, and 3DS as well so any game that usually isn’t available on the Mac is available on one of my owever, if it ever occurs that a game is strictly available on PC, I’ll be sure to reference this article to move forward in playing is. Thank you for writing this up and giving us such a good reference to rely on.

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Thanks a lot man, although it probably deserves an update! Was one of my first articles and a little update always helps ;)

  • Cody

    How much space should one partition for bootcamp?

    • Chris Tallant

      Depends how much you want to dedicate to the OS/Games partition. Personally: with a 1 TB drive, I wanted the OS (10GB for core files, swap file, hibernation, drivers, updates, any hidden fluff MS throws in,) and about 30GB for games. But that’s me and I’m always installing/removing stuff around. It comes down to the titles themselves and personal preference.

      • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

        10GB for the OS? Last time I tried Windows 7, it was more like 18GB if my memory serves me right :S

        • Chris Tallant

          You can do a base-slim install, removing all the non-essential stuff like the help files and other things to make it streamline (also by injecting the Apple BootCamp drivers directly into the build image itself saves space, as sad as that sounds…) but there are ways to clean up a windows installation. But you are right, a standard pro install is usually between 16-18GB depending on features.

    • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

      Last partition I made was around 70GB and found myself stuck because of not enough space. I even wanted to try out Titanfall but the 30GB needed were too much for me! I would go for 100GB if possible.
      Let me know what you ended up doing and how it worked out!

  • Niall Burke

    I am thinking of buying Windows 7 or Windows 8 for my macbook pro and plan to use it for playing classic PC games such as X-wing fighter collection, TIE fighter, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Battlehawks 1942, Stealth fighter 117, Super EF 2000 combat sim games.

    I am not interested in buying latest PC games such as Assaisn Creed, HALO, witcher, etc ‘cos I have these games for my xbox 360 & PSX3.

    There is a ebay shop offering these games formatted in Click XP Vista Windows 7 & 8 install CD disks.

    I am unsure which method would be most suitable to allow me to play classic PC games.

    please advise me

    thanks

    • Chris Tallant

      Niall, Older games (for me, anyway) I have on Steam, GOG, or other similar sites (Origin for EA tittles). I’m still not a big fan of Windows 8.1, even though I dual boot it on my MBP, but since I’m going through the MCSE courses I have to run it (and the instructor’s face when I pull out a MacBook is priceless) but I still say Win 7 would be preferable for the time being on the BootCamp option. The TouchPad/MagicMouse is wonky at best for gaming, so grab a new/cheap/alternative mouse option as well. But for the games themselves, don’t worry about finding the physical media – especially if you’re planning on buying them retail instead of have them in a box under the bed or something. GOG has TONS of older games, and Steam improves every day on their OSX titles.

      • http://macgamerhq.com/ Mac Gamer Ric

        I have the second that GOG.com is a great place to find some older classics. They offer Mac versions and the whole process works as a charm!

  • Gabe Egan

    Hey Mac Gamer Ric,
    I just downloaded Call of Duty and Call of Duty United Offensive off Amazon. It seems as though both are not compatible with OS x 10.7 or later. I am currently running OS X 10.9.3., do you know of any round about way in which I could get the game to run? Thanks in advance