Apple and the entire gaming ecosystem have never mixed together well. Over the years, Apple has always focused more on productivity and creating stylish products than on catering to the gaming community.
But why hasn’t Apple made a gaming-centric computer or console in its long list of successful products?
Why doesn’t Apple care about games on macOS?
The PC community has always been way ahead of Apple in the gaming category. This is true when it comes to the number of games available for their systems, as well as the jaw-dropping performance they are able to achieve on their bespoke workhorses. Apple devices are always more expensive and fall short of the value-to-performance ratio of PC users.
Apple is an incredibly smart company that knows its customers. It knows who is buying what products, what subscription services they are paying for and why they are buying its products compared to the competition. If Apple doesn’t see game enthusiasts buying its devices, it won’t make the effort to create devices for gaming.
However, at the end of the day, it’s up to video game developers to bring their amazing titles to Apple’s operating system, but that often doesn’t happen. So what are the factors that limit the number of gaming experiences available to Mac users?
1. Developers don’t want to design games for macOS
Developing a video game to run well on a Mac can be a bit tricky and has its drawbacks.
The integrated graphics in Macs make it harder and longer for developers to create games for the Mac operating system. Apple attempted to remedy this by releasing Metal for developers who want to build apps and games to run well on macOS.
On the Apple Developer Website item, he states that “Metal provides a platform optimized and low cost API to develop the latest professional 3D applications and amazing games using rich shading language with tighter integration between programs graphics and calculation. “
Apple makes these tools available to developers who want to create amazing apps for their operating system, but game developers know that their game won’t reach large audiences on macOS devices.
2. There are not a lot of gamers using macOS
The market for gamers running macOS is extremely small and therefore not profitable for game developers to bring their titles to the operating system. Statistically, there are a lot more people playing games on their Windows laptops and desktops than on macOS.
A Statista.com to study fact in 2021 found that over 96% of Steam laptop / desktop gamers were running a Windows machine. The remaining 2% is macOS and the remaining 2% is Linux. This low user base discourages developers because it takes a lot of extra time to port a game to macOS, and if their players are not on that system, it’s not a profitable business.
There have even been some extremely popular video games that make their games for Mac, but then realize how low the user base is. Rocket League, which has over 40 million active users and is now a professional esport, brought the multiplayer experience to macOS users.
In March 2020, the developers announced that they would be phasing out multiplayer for macOS and Linux due to the incredibly low number of active users. The company said it was no longer viable to support the game on operating systems that were not being operated by its users. Local multiplayer with friends, as well as other single player features, are still available for macOS and Linux users, however.
3. The majority of Apple’s gaming revenue comes from the App Store
It’s no surprise that Apple makes a huge chunk of its profits from purchasing apps and individual apps through its App Store, as well as selling the devices that run them. Due to the Epic lawsuit against Apple, more information has been released regarding the actual profits in Apple’s gaming ecosystem.
The information available shows that Apple makes around $ 8 billion in profit per year just from gambling on its products. This takes into account in-app purchases, with users purchasing individual apps, as well as the Apple Arcade. Its profits are greater than those of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft combined.
Apple is focused on games; it just focuses on where the money is, which is on mobile devices, not macOS. Developers spend a lot of time creating a mobile version of their game for the App Store, as this will allow them to reach a new, larger audience on Apple devices, as well as profit from in-game microtransactions.
How can macOS users play games?
Currently, the easiest way for macOS users to play on their devices is through a cloud gaming service, such as Google Stadia. These gaming services are great because they allow you to play full versions of video games right from your Google Chrome browser without the need for installation.
Cloud gaming services also require very low minimum specs to play their titles, allowing even Apple devices with the lowest specs to join in the fun. The caveat against cloud gaming is the need for fast internet speeds to reduce lag.
Mac users can also play locally, using services like Steam to find and install some popular titles. Just like on PC, each game will have minimum and recommended specs to let the user know if it will perform well on their system. Games played locally will require your system to have higher specifications than a cloud gaming service; however, there are many more games available.
Mac owners can also choose to download a virtual machine, such as BlueStacks, which allows users to play Android games directly from their system. BlueStacks 5 has an extremely large library of over 2 million apps, provides users with consistent FPS while gaming, uses little RAM, and is less demanding on players’ processors than previous versions. BlueStacks X enables cross-platform play, over 200 free games, and you can play them all right from the web app.
While none of these deals are perfect and require fast internet speeds, they do feature a good number of games that can run well on a macOS system.
Windows vs. macOS feud continues
Compared to some Windows laptops, Apple has higher hardware and performance figures, along with some amazing macOS-exclusive apps. However, Windows users have the upper hand when it comes to gaming. Building a PC is relatively cheaper than buying an Apple laptop or desktop and can have much higher performance specifications.
Despite this, Apple device owners love to live in its ecosystem and would choose it everyday over a Windows device. If gaming is a high priority, go for a Windows device. However, macOS users still have several alternate ways to play at their leisure.
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