I’m a Mac Gamer and I’m on a mission: To show you how everything you hear about Mac gaming is wrong and that the shiny aluminum machine you’re using right now is capable of much more than what they want you to believe.
Sometimes it feels like the whole world (or at least the video-gaming scene) deliberately wants to convince you that Macs sucks and that Mac gaming sucks even more. They will tell you that Apple is the worst (the company itself and everything they do), that Macs are over-priced and under-powered and that they’re incapable of playing anything better than Age of Empire 2.
I used to be part of the problem. Really. I never trashed Mac gaming, but back when I had my black MacBook, I simply believed what the internet trolls told me. I never even tried.
Fast-forward to 2014. Macs have never been better at playing video-games. I even run a blog that only talks about Mac Gaming! It’s time to put those rumors down. Not that I want to change the trolls’ opinions (that’s impossible and unimportant), I’m here to convince you that you shouldn’t have to give-up gaming because you chose a Mac. In fact, you should embrace it.
Let me tell you why everybody is wrong about Mac Gaming…
1. There are tons of amazing games available
This is going to sound painfully obvious (you’re a Mac Gamer HQ reader after all ) but you wouldn’t believe how lost most Mac users are. Every week, I get tons of emails asking me if good games exist on the Mac.
Instead of replying 10 times per week with a list of random games that I like, I did better.
The facts are undeniable. The quantity of high-quality Mac games is growing exponentially. Be it from powerhouses such as Blizzard or Valve, top-notch Mac porting companies such as Aspyr or Feral, or from quality indie studios, there are more and more
good great games coming to the Mac each year.
But I get you, you’ve heard so many times that Mac gaming sucks, it’s tough to take this seriously. Just so you know I mean business, I created this video with last year’s Top Mac games:
Those resources right there should be enough to keep you busy for months, but if you don’t feel like leaving this page, from the top of my head, there’s:
- BioShock Infinite
- Borderlands 2
- Max Payne 3
- StarCraft 2
- Diablo 3
- Portal 2
- DotA 2
- Civilization V
- F1 2013
- Tomb Raider
If there isn’t at least one game that you love in this list, there’s nothing I can do for you…. Moving on.
2. Mac Games are finally easy to find
The days when Mac games were impossible to find are long gone. It’s easy to forget that at one point in time, the only place where you could find Mac games were Apple stores. Then, when Apple stopped giving games shelf space, Mac gaming almost died.
- Mac Game Store: What sets this online store apart is the fact it only offers Mac games. This means hundreds and hundreds of Mac games in only one place, including the newest and older ones. The Mac Games Store continues to evolve with a native App, more supported languages and even a brand-new system to earn points and exchange them for FREE Mac games.
- GamersGate: While GamersGate has less Mac games than the MacGamesStore, in many cases their games are compatible for both for Mac and PC. This means you can buy for example Borderlands 2 and install it on both Mac and PC. This may not be useful for everyone, but it’s still more value for your money if you occasionally game on a Windows PC.
- GameAgent: We’ve talked about GameAgent before. What sets them apart is now their huge Mac Games collection, but their amazing GameAgent tools, including Mac Match, which tells you which games your Mac could play (consolidating system requirements) and a real time price comparator that includes Amazon, Apple’s Mac App Store and more.
- Amazon: This is a go-to place for Mac Gamers since Amazon launched its Digital Store. Ever since, their Mac Gaming collection keeps growing, offering in some cases boxed games too. The Amazon brand is so known and trusted that it easily became one of the top choices for Mac Gamers. It also includes all of Amazon’s great features. For example, you can buy BioShock Inﬁnite with two clicks.
- Apple’s Mac App Store: Apple’s Mac Store is to this day the most easy, fast and intuitive way to buy and install a game for your Mac. The fact is, with the built-in Mac Store, you already have a huge collection of Mac games (and apps) at your disposal, 1-click away. The Mac Store also offers some of the best sales around, including Triple-A games for $0.99 or in some cases for FREE.
- Steam: With so many features to offer, Steam easily stands-out from the crowd. Not only does it have one of the biggest collections of Mac games out there, it also supports in many cases Steam-Play, a feature that lets you install on your Mac previously purchased PC games. If you have ever been a Steam user, there’s a good chance you will get FREE Mac versions of your games when you first install Steam on your Mac. Also, Steam offers FREE games such as Team Fortress 2.
As you can see, they all have their strengths and unique selling points.
3. Performance continues to improve
I won’t lie to you, if you play the same game under Windows and Mac on the same machine, performance will be slightly better on Windows…
But this isn’t because the Mac is somehow flawed. The problem comes from 2 directions: Developer support and Apple’s support.
For one, most developers that support both Windows and Mac versions of their games will obviously spend more time polishing and testing their games on Windows, simply because that’s where the money is… The same can be said about graphics card companies like NVIDIA and ATI.
Then you have Apple’s support (or lack thereof). This can get complicated really fast, but the bottom line is that unlike Windows (and its DirectX graphic engine), Apple is careless with its graphics engine (Open GL) which is always out of date. And yes, that hurts Mac gaming’s performance:
If you want to learn more about this issue, you can read GameAgent’s great article about how Apple is influencing the development of Mac Games.
But the good news is that the performance gap is closing fast. Apple is working hard on fixing some of these issues. In fact, since OS X Mavericks and specially the latest OS X 10.9.2, performance has greatly improved for many games.
Aspyr’s Director of Development, Michael Marks, is reassuring: “The good news is that we continue to work closely with Apple. Partly as an outcome to some of the above situations, we have a very active and positive relationship with Apple, AMD, and NVIDIA.“
4. More and better developer support
People keep saying that nobody cares about the Mac, especially developers. I won’t lie to you, this used to be a real problem. The Mac’s market share was so tiny, it made little sense for most developers to spend resources on it. Hell, I can’t blame them. But things have dramatically changed and it’s a shame that people refuse to accept that.
Things started to turn around with the adoption of Intel processors back in 2007, making the development of Mac games much easier.
That was enough to jump start the platform. Alongside Valve, Blizzard also pledged to treat Macs and Windows PCs equally and even EA is slowly committing to the Mac with the introduction of their Origin platform to OS X last year.
Then you have some dedicated porting companies like Aspyr or Feral Interactive whom sole purpose is to develop and publish Mac versions of games. For them, there’s no discussion about prioritizing. They exist to make Mac versions of games and have the technology, experience and means to do it properly. They got into the business a long time ago and there’s no doubt they continue to grow every year. Nowadays they have close relationships with some of the world’s leading developers, including the creators of renown franchises like Call of Duty, Civilizations, Total War, BioShock, Borderlands and more.
If that wasn’t enough, the rise of Indie developers has particularly helped the Mac. More and more indies port their games for Windows, Linux and Mac simply because they decided to develop their games using cross-platform engines (with the Unity engine leading the way).
With multimillion dollar publishers, rapidly growing porting companies and hundreds of Indies supporting the Mac platform, it’s hard to claim that no one cares about the Mac gaming platform.
Your turn, because it’s all about the community
1700 words will never be enough to convince the trolls they are wrong. In fact, not even 15,000 worlds would suffice.
What really matters is that you understand what Mac gaming is capable of. If we want to take this one step further, we need to create together a strong Mac Gaming community, filled with people that both love the Mac platform and also happen to love gaming. If we stick together and guide all new Mac users away from the haters, Mac gaming will continue to grow and perhaps one day reach its full potential.
There’re many ways you can help build this community. You could do what more and more passionate gamers are doing: creating dedicated YouTube channels and Blogs. I’m talking about the guys like Inside Mac Games, Al Valentyn, Control Command Escape, Game Agent Blog, Adamski TV and Playintosh out there. If that’s a little too much of a time investment for you, you can join our Newsletter, which basically is Mac Gamer HQ’s inner circle. In fact, starting this week, some projects, news and deals will be exclusive to the Newsletter…
There’s a big chance that you already know all this stuff and are here because you crave some more Mac gaming news. But I’m sure you know at least one person that gave up gaming because they got a Mac. Do them a solid and send this article their way ;). When more Mac users embrace Mac gaming, more developers will support it!
If you had to point Mac gaming’s biggest struggle, what would that be?