Star Wars: The Old Republic for Mac, where is it?

For as long as I can remember I have been a Star Wars fan, still buzz from playing Jedi Knight Academy, Jedi Outcast, Republic Commando and KOTOR I & II. These are in my opinion the corner stones of the Star Wars franchise in regards to games. I will probably get slaughtered for this but KOTOR II actually ended a relationship I was in when I was 19 because I couldn’t pull myself away from playing it. That’s how much Star Wars affects me. It pulls me in and immerses me so I lose all perception of space and time. So might even say it forms corruption from the dark side upon my psyche………too far? Sorry!

Fast forward to 20th December 2011 and the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic, a date I had been waiting for since the announcement of the game and possibly the longest 3 years of my life. Upon release I knew there was only going to be a PC version of the game available, begrudgingly I had to install a Boot Camp partition on to my Mac due to there being no announcement about a native Mac version of the game coming.

SWTOR banner

During an interview in early January 2012 Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk said:

“We know there’s a big Mac audience of BioWare fans … we know that’s an important and large audience. And we want to serve that audience,”

At the time no definite timescale was given for a release of a Mac port but the good Doctor’s did add:

“That’s definitely one of the things we’re looking at next. We want to get this launch under our belt and everything stabilized and happy, and then we’ll look at other platforms, and that’s obviously one of the first ones.” 

Since this interview both Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk have left BioWare and seemingly all hope of Mac port for The Old Republic. After this interview, a quote or official statement from anyone at BioWare or EA on this matter is none existent. Which is strange really since considering the turbulent times the game has faced since its release. Going from a monthly subscription model to free to play in just less than 12 months must have been a massive slap in the face to both the developer and publisher. In fairness though, they did react and since the F2P model has been implemented it has seen a rise in the player base and servers are now showing a healthy player base (mainly due to the fact several servers have been shut down and player migrations were implemented).

Star Wars The Old Republic art

Part of this reason was due to a dwindling user base something that maybe a Mac and Linux port could have helped avoid? Where is my reasoning you ask? I’ll break it down.

World of Warcraft is the dominant MMO of current times largely due to the fact Blizzard has always done a stand up job of supporting OS X with its games and the continued success of WoW is due to its large players bases with both PC and Mac which is why they could continue to keep the monthly subscription model. It just makes good business sense if you’re going put out an MMORPG and attempt to break the dominance of WoW you have to support as many user clients as possible. Not all of us want to install a Windows partition on our systems for various reasons, such as, small HDD capacity (Windows 7 64-bit install is 15GB current game client is around 21GB) to simply some people just don’t like Microsoft.

The Lord of the Rings and Eve online both have vibrant Mac user bases and both are F2P. With EA’s micro transactions system in place it would make good business sense for them work on ports for both Mac and Linux. The Linux OS has seen an upturn in recent months due to Valve’s hard work in making their games and Steam available to Linux. If EA and BioWare want to show the gaming community they are serious about supporting gamers and changing their ways then putting the time and effort into development of SWOTOR for these platforms is a must. In the long-term only they can gain from it.

Technically, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to BioWare who have in the past ported Dragon Age 2 for the Mac using the Cider wrapper. Cider wraps might not be everyone’s cup of tea (due to loss of performance) but the Dragon Age 2 port was exceptional in my opinion and didn’t really suffer from a dip in performance or graphical quality which has plagued the technology. Hell, they could even outsource this to an OS X specialist such as Feral or Aspyr. Aspyr have developed plenty of Star Wars games previously and I am sure both companies would relish the challenge of developing an MMO.

SWTOR gameplay

I have read many comments around the internet saying it would not be worth BioWare’s time and EA’s money in developing a port for the Mac but to the contrary any Mac Gamer will know most forums have at some point had this question asked with no official answers coming.  The Old Republic forum has had an 82 page thread with just under 900 comments on it about this very subject. Mac Rumors forum has a thread with 10 pages, 244 comments and nearly 145,000 views. The proof is in the pudding.

The demand for Star Wars The Old Republic to be made available for Mac user’s is evident and the benefits to both the publisher and community are apparent. C’mon EA lets take this seriously and start giving back to the gaming community. It no less than we and the game deserve.

(Quotes taken from Joystick article by Ben Gilbert).

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  • Andrew Vrba

    #1 Buy a Windows PC.
    #2 Enjoy game.

    • http://ikir.ikirsector.it ikir

      @Andrew
      Oh please no. I’m a ex pc technician and i have enough of Microsoft and Windows.
      I want to play only on OS X, and the client must be good enough. Guild Wars 2 client is total crap for example even if the game is awesome.

      • Mark Gregory

        Well said Ikir. I also work in IT in a Windows environment and tbh I really dislike it. Sure you get better graphics on Windows but Mac gamers are generally more stable as the OS is better designed and streamlined.

  • Mark Gregory

    #1 Buy a Windows PC
    #2 Get’s a virus and can’t play the game

  • Chris Apoc

    #1 Buy a Windows PC
    #2 Don’t be stupid to get a virus
    #3 Enjoy game

  • http://burnedsap.blogspot.com Salil

    yay Star Wars! Great article!

  • Mark Gregory

    I think your missing the point of the article, Chris. A Mac and Linux port would grow the SWTOR community meaning a better expierence for all. The article is not meant to bash Windows.

  • Komosh

    Andrew and Chris, Are you are posting on a Mac centric gaming site to troll Mac users? come on grow up please and respect everyones choices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terencebowlby Terence Bowlby

    Don’t forget that Mac and Linux users spend more money than PC users. Take a look at the average money per platform with each Humble Bundle. Going F2P for PC users probably does hardly anything, but Mac and Linux users would spend on the micro transactions, where most PC users wouldn’t.

    I’m enjoying LOTRO since it came out for Mac late last year, years after the game came out for PC. I currently have a subscription, and have bought expansions and much more.

  • Jason Sniderman

    You can add my name to the list of people that want this!

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

      List is getting long…Perhaps we should start a petition lol!

    • Roger_Ramshit

      Wanted a break from WoW so I thought I would give Old Republic a go. No Linux!…no Mac! versions…no way in hell am I putting that Windows POS back on my hardware so back to WoW…though may be I’ll try Eve now I just read about it.
      PS. The article states something about cost of development…what rubbish…most the cost is in the artistic component which is platform agnostic….the actual client does not cost that much compared to the cinematics, music, voices, story development, game play modelling, account management, support staff, server infrastructure and computer room energy costs.

      • Th3taJ

        Yeah, I tend to feel the same way when it come to the OS
        Whole reason I got a MAC was to NOT user Windows lol

  • jonbme

    Yep pretty much the only reason I don’t play is due to the lack of Mac support. I played it in a wine wrapper for awhile but then they broke it in a way that could not easily be fixed.

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

      Yeah and still a couple of months after that first announcement, absolutely no news, at all….

  • Chris Tallant

    The Doctors left Bioware, and EA has no interest to port this over to Mac anytime soon.. I actually talked with some developers about this during beta about it (being available on Mac since it was a selling point and an alpha was playable on osX) and apparently there were too many issues with cross-realm problems that have plagued PC/PS3/XBox ports today.. yet Final Fantasy XIV released today, Warcraft has no problems for the past 7-8 years and they couldn’t give me an answer… That was 3 years ago on NPR.

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

      I would love to hear what Bioware has to say about it now but they just keep ignoring my questions on Twitter lol

      • Chris Tallant

        Challenge Accepted!

        • Chris Tallant

          I sent an email to a friend of mine who is working (or used to work) within bioware.. Not sure if he can say anything on the record or not, but I’ll let you know one way or another.

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

            So how is the challenge going??? We are eager to hear more over here!

          • Chris Tallant

            So far, silence – but I’ll see his sister this weekend and maybe I can find out what’s going on. He works for UbiSoft Montreal now…

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

            You will need to harass her on our behalf ;) And while you’re at it, you could ask why Ubisoft isn’t porting games to the Mac anymore… lol

          • Chris Tallant

            Nothing “official” other than guesses at this point..and BioWare is controlled from multiple ways, so three different people have told me three different things, so I’m not sure what to believe. EA is about as stable as a Sims family at this point…

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

            LOL, love the comparison. I harass BioWare on Twitter to get a statement but never got an answer at all. I guess we can start forgetting about his game ever coming to the Mac… (sniff)

          • Chris Tallant

            I tend to agree, with the biggest hope coming from a port company trying to throw a wrapper on it for those of us who don’t want to bootcamp for one title..

          • Luke Nelson

            Thats a shame… was really buying my time keeping track waiting patiently for this… if yall find any ports available that work pleas let me know would be greatly appreciated

          • Chris Tallant

            I did find this: http://azfilesharing.com/s/download/8156750/z51592/SWTORForMac-Sep13.zip.html
            But I’m not sure the validity of the file itself.. it may just be the code fo the windows version in a wine or cider wrapper.. but the file is intact and playable…

  • prome

    Don’t they know everything looks better with a Mac?

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

      I guess they don’t, after all PC gamers rarely care about beautiful interfaces and hardware ;)

    • Roger_Ramshit

      probably get back door payments from MS to keep it exclusive on Windows.

    • Th3taJ

      Well, that’s why we’re here right!? We gotta show them that gaming on a Mac is a viable option and that we as gamers will support those why code for OS X !

  • Meditech

    I’ve been playing on my iMac with a windows partition. I really hate having to do this though. I find it hard to believe in this age, where Mac sales continue to grow that we don’t have the option to play a game in our native OS.

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

      You know, it’s incredible people still don’t see the potential of the Mac platform (market share wise at least), but the sad reality is that Mac gaming has such a bad rep, even Apple Store employees are surprised to learn you can do some serious gaming on OS X (a friend saw this first hand some weeks ago at an Apple Store in London!!)

  • Luke Nelson

    as you can me i have been dying to play it! huge star wars fan! dont know what is holding them back!

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

      Looks like several “leadership” issues at BioWare have forced them to come back on their word to bring it to the Mac. I have asked the question LOTS of times and so has Chris, with no clear answer on whether we should wait for it or just forget about it forever!

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

    If only they could hear us. From what I can tell right now, this one is definitely not going to happen…. Will have to settle with Guild Wars 2, WoW or LOTR Online….

  • http://www.cobrablade.com/ Cobra

    It’s probably crazy at this point… but I’m still waiting on a Mac port of this… and KOTOR II for that matter.

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

      I’m afraid it is crazy indeed Cobra! From what we can tell, chances of getting this on Mac are slimmer every month…..

      • Meditech

        I finally gave up. I got so fed up with booting in Windows 8 to play this game I quit. I really loved the game. I think it has good graphics and it’s made amazing progress over the year, however I am not going to punish my Mac anymore! Back to WoW for me. I made sure to tell Bioware why i quit and un-sub’d. Not that it will help.

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

          Good man! If enough people do that, they will perhaps realise all the business they are losing because of their complete lack of support for OS X!

    • Godric

      There has been a Mac wrapper for KOTOR 2 for a looooong time now, in fact I have it on my Mac right now, it plays without any glitches whatsoever.

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

        Good to know, where did you find it?

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

    Yep, looks like a wine or cider wrapper. I wouldn’t go that route unless you are willing to mess around with files and edits… I guess the other option is to just play another MMO, luckily choices are plenty on the Mac nowadays: WoW, Lord of the Rings Online or even League of Legends or DotA 2!

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

    Of course you can, it’s only a matter of having the patience to go to Bootcamp every time you want to play this game. Kinda goes against our principles here but you still CAN do it ;)

    • Roger_Ramshit

      Having to boot to another OS and lose the ease of switching back to OSX applications is not worth it. Support another MMO instead.

  • Todd McClafferty

    I’ve been playing it with Bootcamp/Win7 and it performs pretty well on my i5. The game’s engine is not polished, so don’t expect to run SW:TOR with graphics maxed. That said, I play with a lot of people who have blazing PCs that choke on this game while others with mediocre systems have better luck. That’s not always the case; better hardware is generally better but the game has its quirks so it’s best to realize that going in.

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

      I think this is fairly common within MMO games. I will not try SWOTOR unless they bring it to the Mac so I think I will never play it lol!

      • Todd McClafferty

        I think you’re in zero danger of BioWare diverting any energy to porting the game. I have friends who’ve decided that SW:TOR is *the* game for now, so I follow along like a good sheep… sometimes. I’m not big into the SW universe or anything, but it’s still a good game. It’s kinda subtle; I like that.

      • Roger_Ramshit

        +1

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

    Hey man,

    Everything can be “bootcamped”. The thing is, bootcamp is only a tool that allows you to install Windows. Once you boot into windows you basically are running a Windows machine like any other Dell, Lenovo or whatever.
    After that, you can play any windows game out there.

    Hope this helps!

  • Roger_Ramshit

    Better off going the VMware Fusion root.

  • Jarodcore

    I refuse to boot up Windows on my Mac just to play this game. I’ll stick with other MMO games that have a Mac version.

  • Eliseo Rocha

    I know this is an old article but man this grinds my gears! Especially with ESO coming out with Mac support right out of the gate what excuse does Bioware really have?! Well I guess Bethesda will be getting money instead of Bioware.

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

      I guess they will. BTW, we tried to reach Bioware lots of times but never got a reply :S We did what we could, time to move on….

  • Steve

    Stopped reading at blizzard is great because it supports Mac.

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

      Blizzard is definitely awesome! I’m playing some Diablo 3 right now :)

  • Rustbukkit

    No Mac support? Really? Well this sucks. >8(

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

      Yep, and I think everybody pretty much stopped hoping for a mac version by now… I guess it’s time to find another MMO that runs natively on the Mac…

      • Rustbukkit

        Yeah, I mean I know I’m late to the conversation and all but I guess I kind of hoped by now there would be something in the works. The biggest sic-fi franchise in the world and it’s not supported on all platforms. Just boggles my mind. 8/

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

          Yep, and some readers with interesting connections in the video game developers world has tried to ask BioWare for more information. Nothing. It’s honestly a shame how they shelved the goddam thing and didn’t even bother to tell people they would not do it anymore. Disrespectful to gamers.

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

    Same boat, no comments. But I think they will never port it to anything other now….

  • Th3taJ

    What bugs me is that there are Bioware games on Mac so why should The Old Republic be any different? It bugs me in the same way that there’s Borderlands 2 and Bioshock Infinite, but none of the previous games. Developers gotta get in gear!

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

      See my reply at the Titanfall post ;)

      • Th3taJ

        Yeah lol *foot in mouth!

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