Hahaha, yeah you can stop laughing now…
Gaming has never been the Mac’s strongest point – after all, anyone in their 20’s knows Macs as computers for work, not play. The PC has always been the choice of the gamer in his cave.
Well, we’re sure that hardcore console and handheld gamers will give you scornful looks if you think that way.
Jokes and console wars aside, gaming in Mac could be a norm in the future since Mac computers are as (or are more powerful) than personal computers.
The question is though, will it finally stand on equal ground with the PC? Let’s look back to Apple’s gaming past…
Apple computers and gaming
Little do most users know, Apple’s retro computers had a ton of games in the past. Apple II had games like Karateka, Choplifter, and Zork. However, Mac as a gaming device never took off unlike the PC, which has enjoyed tons of success. There was once a time when Maxis regularly introduced The Sims games and there was even a time that Halo (you know, the game that sold millions of Xboxes) was going to be a Mac-exclusive, but the 90s was a tough time to be a Mac gamer. And it really got worse from there in the early 2000s.
This is partly due to the Macintosh losing ground to personal computers in the late 80s and early 90s. While Apple was trying to stay afloat, PC games like Counter Strike, Age of Empires, and Red Alert were already topping the charts. In fact, one of the contributing factors to the PC’s success is its gaming capabilities – and its comparatively lower price.
After Apple experienced a resurgence in the new millennium, gaming in Mac has taken the backseat. The iPhone and iPod were the company’s biggest priorities, while the newest Mac computers were aimed at professionals, not gamers.
Sure, there were game developers who were porting games to Mac computers, but given the relatively lower consumer base and the games’ compatibility with Windows, Macintosh games were never a focal point.
Mac gaming resurgence
Ever since the rise of the iPhone, developers started creating games for the device. Since it was received positively, the number of gaming applications on the App Store ballooned to epic proportions. Most of the devices highest grossing apps are games – check the App Store and you will agree.
But hey, what does this have to do with gaming in Mac?
With Apple’s popularity gaining ground and it switching to Intel CPUs in 2007, Mac computers started to become more like the PC. Since then, Mac sales started ballooning. After which, developers had the bright idea to create games for the device, which in turn led to it starting to look like a legitimate gaming platform.
By 2010, the Mac cemented itself as a computer where you can play modern games in. This is partly due to the Mac App Store and the entry of Steam – a digital distribution platform which – oh..there’s no need to explain what it is: if you’re a gamer, then you have definitely used the service before.
Notable games on the Mac
There are games – both native and on multiple platforms – which can be played on the Mac. And yes, there are hundreds of them: from indie games to those made by famous developers.
Steam made it possible for games famous on other platforms to be ported on the Mac. Remember, if Steam is there, then the games definitely are. Though there are hundreds of great titles, the most notable one is DOTA 2, a massive multiplayer online battle arena (or MOBA) game which had over 620,000 players playing 20 minutes before I started writing this piece.
Meanwhile, in the App Store, SimCity is currently the top grossing game. The premise is to create and simulate a city of your own: expand, earn, and take care of the health of your citizens. Another notable mention is the port version of GTA: San Andreas which was one of the highest-rating games in the past decade.
The biggest draw for hardcore gamers are strategy games like the Total War series, Civilization V, Company of Heroes, and Borderlands. Indies and casual games for those who just want to kill time and are not looking to immerse themselves in large gaming worlds are also available for download.
With the entry of these games, software like Boot Camp and Parallels are rather obsolete: you no longer need them to run Windows if you just want to play games. With the entry of Steam and increase of software in the Mac App Store, it’s no surprise as to where gaming in Mac is heading.
Will Mac gaming ever be mainstream?
Despite the multitude of games available, gaming on Mac is still far from being a mainstream thing. For Apple it’s still at the back of their minds: they’re more focused in promoting the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement and the iPhone 6s than letting the world know that their computers are now a gaming platform. However, this has not stooped developers: like in the iOS, new titles are regularly appearing in the Mac App Store.
Though there is a lack of major titles in the Mac and regardless of how it’s being perceived, its has all the capabilities of being a mainstream gaming device. The hardware in most Mac computers – even in the smaller MacBook Air – is powerful enough to allow most games to run smoothly.
However, it still has to get over everyone’s general notion that Mac computers are not for gaming. And despite the numerous games in Steam and in the Mac App Store, there are still large, gaping voids in its gaming inventory.
Looking into the future
Overall, if you’re a gamer still stick with using a PC. Compared to PCs and gaming consoles, the Mac is relatively new in the gaming world (thanks to its growth being stunted) and has a lot of room for improvement. Regardless though, it is still thriving despite the many competitors it has.
Apple has never prioritized gaming but if you look at how the iPhone progressed, games are its top-grossing apps – with large developers and companies in the fray – and it required little effort.