Apple Silicon won’t change Gaming on the Mac

by birtanpublished on November 27, 2020

Oh my god you can stop asking me this question every freaking second of every freaking day okay i know we're all excited for apple silicon and it should be all good news for the future of mac os but you should absolutely not expect drastic changes to come when it comes to gaming on the mac just because apple is designing their own processors in-house i apologize if this feels redundant to some of you but there's enough people questioning me about it so let's just begin

I don't know where this mentality came from maybe it was because of that weird tomb raider demo that they did at quadruple udc this year it was like hey check it out we're playing the tomb raider on a mac mini with an ipad cpu and everyone was like wow that means everything's changing when it comes to gaming right now any mac in the future will be capable of playing games somehow much better than before there's more to it than that guys okay it's not just a matter of apple bad at making gaming machines so they switched to nvidia boom they would

Suddenly be good at gaming it's not that simple okay in order to make an adequate gaming experience you need work from both the hardware developer and the software developer i see so many people in the tech space that seem to all think that it's only apple's fault that they're not gaming machines when in reality it has a lot to do with how aaa game devs don't really want to optimize their games to run on mac in fact there's a lot of apple hardware that can do some decent gaming

They've got powerful graphics cards they've got decent cpus and fast ssds so they're able to play games pretty well but you don't see a huge game selection because game devs know there's not a huge number of fans or gamers that are using mac hardware so there's not much financial incentive for them to optimize their game to run on the mac now let me be clear i know there are definitely some macs out there that aren't good for gaming because they're inherently designed in a different way the base

Model macbook air is obviously not being purchased by gamers so when apple built it you know they prioritize something being thin in light and have durable materials and hopefully have a decent battery life so when that's the point of the product no it doesn't have good graphics performance and i'm not saying that those types of mac machines are really good at gaming and it's just the software devs not optimizing no for sure there's definitely some apple hardware out there like the mac mini that's really just not

Meant for gaming but i'm more alluding to things like the imac or the imac pro and the mac pro or even the 16-inch macbook pro can play some decent games no obviously it's not going to be a better dollar compared to whatever custom pc you guys can envision in your heads we know they're not intentionally built for gaming but they can't do it the reason you just don't see that much game support on there is because game devs have very little incentive to optimize their games for apple's metal graphics rendering which

Of course is not what they optimize for when they want to put a game on the xbox the playstation or pc they have huge markets of gamers in the pc category which is why they optimize their games for running on windows and why there's a decent number of people i've talked to out there that actually use their macs with bootcamp and play games with their windows partition it's more popular than you'd think but all this ties back into apple silicon in the sense that don't expect really much to change because that fundamental issue of

There's simply not being a lot of gamers in the mac community resulting in devs not optimizing their games for the mac none of that changes when apple switches to their own custom in-house build processors yes obviously from a performance standpoint we should expect apple silicon to vastly outperform everything that's in the max right now okay i don't expect apple to keep using amd for the graphics cards i think if they're going in-house they're really going all out and going you know

In-house i think they're going to be designing their own graphics processors of course the cpus as well and that's going to result in better graphics performance more power efficient cpus of course but just because the performance of the macs are getting better does not mean that a bunch of game devs are now gonna all come out and be like oh we should start optimizing the mac now right no because the market of the mac community hasn't really changed that much we're getting performance gains we're getting better graphics but that doesn't

Instantly mean that game devs now need to optimize everything for the mac because oh graphics are getting better now we can do it my point is that wasn't the holdup the the reason game devs were not optimizing things to run on macs that often was not because the gpus or cpus weren't powerful enough in fact with high-end machines like the mac pro and the imac pro you had plenty of power there and if you optimize your games to support apple's metal you could get great performance on it but again not a huge demographic for them

There's not a lot of people buying these high-end macs and expecting to run a bunch of games on them which is why of course the game devs are like yeah not worth it why bother it makes actual sense i'm not blaming the game devs by the way for this you know if you're not going to get much of a payoff for redesigning your game and redesigning its architecture internally why bother because all that recoding and re-engineering internally costs them a lot of money cost them a lot of time and if there's not much payoff for it why would you

Optimize things to run on the mac if anything re-adapting to apple's new in-house custom cpus and gpus would result in more work because they're not using graphics cards in processors that game devs have experience with this is all new territory we're going into which is why i would expect even less support and even less adoption compared to previous aaa titles not making their way onto the mac and i know a lot of you are probably thinking well the iphone has custom apple branded silicon in that and apple makes all of their gaming

Revenue through the ios app store right so maybe just like we have some of the best games on ios we can now get some of the best games on the mac where i don't think that's the case here i think there is a big difference between mobile gaming and console in pc gaming mainly because apple kind of invented the mobile sector when it comes to smartphones and an app store and that kind of thing so they kind of had a monopoly in that sector for a long time and they were a major player since the

Beginning of the smartphone world whereas apple is long long past the competitive phase when it comes to game consoles and pc gaming so they've kind of missed their mark on that one so now they're competing with so many different mediums between the nintendo switch the playstation the xbox and of course pcs that there is such an oversaturated market that for them to kind of cram their way in and start maybe partnering with game devs on bringing exclusives to the mac or that kind of thing i highly doubt it because apple

Has tried to partner up with gaming companies in the past and it just never really formulates into anything i remember way back at quadruple udc in 2017 they were like hey the macs are great for vr stuff now and now they've kind of dropped support for that due to lack of activity not that many people doing it i don't see apple doing a big turnaround i mean having more power efficient gpus and cpus could allow for some great potential gaming hardware you know in the future i'm not saying this year or next year even but if apple wanted to

Start bringing 120hz promotion to the mac that would be cool and i could see maybe a couple of games optimizing for it but don't expect a lot of them to i don't expect a huge shift in apple's gaming category just because their cpus and gpus are getting better because again the other end of the spectrum is the game devs have to kind of meet them halfway to result in better gaming performance that people could actually feel good hey this mac is decent at playing games that

Takes two to tango and when it comes to performance that wasn't really the issue with why game devs weren't supporting it so that's why i don't think you guys should expect a drastic change in gaming performance on the mac just because they're designing things in-house internally that won't really change the market that game devs are in right now and you know sure some of the games that do support mac already they might take advantage of that so i'm not saying gaming will get any worse if there's a bright side to the story

It's that game performance won't get any worse than it was before because thermals and gpu and cpu performance should be improving but no once again apple will not be the hardware you should go with if you're looking for something to play games on absolutely keep your eyes on the pc and console market that's where that belongs but of course i could be missing the point on this because i'm not a gamer myself so feel free to hit me up over on twitter join my discord we can chat more about it there this is your app shape here i'll see you in the next one

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