Jul 15

From a Mac gamer: "Why I ditched Mac and why mac gaming sucks"

Why I switched to PC for Mac gaming.

For a number of years, I defended Mac gaming. I used to be a big PC gamer back in the day before I switched to Mac (Powerbook G4). I continued to game on my Mac up to getting my Retina Macbook Pro with its under-powered Nvidia 650M GPU. Gaming was acceptable..just. I would always lower the graphic settings to minimum, lower the resolution etc etc to get acceptable frame rates, but then I bought an Oculus Rift. The performance on the Mac with the Oculus Rift was un-acceptable, even with Windows 8 installed via Bootcamp and the latest graphic drivers installed. Then it clicked...within the space of a few minutes I came to a conclusion. For years, I compromised in favour of having a decent operating system (MacOSX) and a reliable machine. Watching everyone else with their i7, GTX 980 powered gaming monsters made me somewhat envious and I realised I had stopped being a Mac gamer...why? read on.

1 - Poor Performance

Sadly, there's no way around this. My Macbook cannot compete with high-end gaming systems. The Mac release of games are nearly always poorly optimised ports of the Windows versions, even with the big Mac game publishers, Aspyr and Feral Interactive. At times, more often than not, you'll find these ports are actually just the Windows version in a wrapper to make it run on a Mac, therefore it's not optimised for Macs. There are definitely some developers who develop directly for the Mac (Valve, Blizzard etc), respect to them, but the majority do not.

Mac users seem to be happy to have a decent gaming experience at the expense of visual quality. Why do that? Why compromise? Why not use your Mac for more serious pursuits and purchase a mid to high end gaming PC and enjoy gaming properly without compromising.

2 - Poor Support

A number of developers out there will rush out a Mac version of their games, and forget about it, focusing all their support on the Windows versions. Need some support down the line? Forget about it.

3 - Cost of mac games

This is biggie for me. I know Macs do cost more and therefore, the games cost more. I can forgive this in some cases where the developer has done a lot of work to support the Mac and developed a native (i.e. non-wrapped) version of the game. In this case, they do deserve to be compensated for their hard-work. In other cases, however, some developers are charging more for the Mac App Store version of the game 'cause they can'. Frequently, you'll find the App Store version costs twice as much as the Steam version , which can frequently be run on multiple platforms (Windows, OSX and Linux). It makes no sense to buy the game from the App Store when the Steam version offers more value for money.

4 - Lack of Variety

There are a lot of games for Mac. There is no denying that, but compared to the availability of Windows games, Mac is very very small. I look at my Steam account, I have to say that about 20% of the games on there also have a Mac version. The majority do not. The amount of Mac gamers who miss out on the huge variety of Windows games is staggering.

5 - Delays in releasing

This is another biggie. There is a huge amount of legal wrangling involve when developing a Mac version of game and porting companies are delayed when they have to deal with this sort of issue. It's definitely something that will have to change if things are going to improve. Other companies release games, without warning, on Mac months, sometimes years after the Windows version has been released. It's an obvious cash-in, especially when they wash their hands of the Mac release after it's released and neglect the Mac users who have spent the cash to actually buy their products.

In conclusion. Mac gaming will not be taken seriously, at least not in the short term until things improve, the hardware gets better, the developers support their users better and releases are timed correctly. In the end, I jumped ship and bought myself a i7, GTX 980 powered Windows gaming rig and I've never looked back.

I'd recommend Mac gamers do the same, and either get yourself a decent console or a decent gaming rig and enjoy games the way you're supposed to enjoy them without compromise.

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