Gaming on a Mac®: The Benefits and Limitations
Looking to dive into the world of computer gaming with your Mac? Find out the benefits and limitations of gaming on a Mac system, including the availability of games, software, and hardware implications and what to consider with your budget.
The history of gaming and Macs
PCs have been the mainstay of gamers for years, with PC gamers around the world clocking hours of game time online. Traditionally, PC gamers have taken pride not only in their ability to play, but in their ability to modify their gaming PCs into highly powered machines.
Because of the higher graphic quality of the early Macs, gaming was a natural fit, and the first games were made for Macs. Game developers moved away from developing for the Apple® operating system after Apple moved most of their software in-house.
Games available for Mac
For many years, it was almost impossible to find major game titles that could run on the Mac operating system, leaving people to wonder if any Macs were good for gaming. That has changed, with many popular games now available for Mac gamers.
Digital distribution platforms like Steam®, GOG.com®, and Battle.net® have games for the Mac OS, many of them the same games available for Microsoft® Windows®. In addition, if you have a Windows computer as well as a Mac, and you’ve purchased games for Windows, you should have access to the Mac version, as well. And vice versa. Games in the STEAMCLOUD® are cross-platform compatible, allowing Windows and Mac players to play together.
If there is a game you want to play that isn’t available for OS X®, you can use Boot Camp® Assistant to install Windows on your Mac. You can then run any Windows game, or even work applications.
Of course, like any other system, check your hardware specifications for the game you want to play to make sure it will run smoothly on your Mac. In general, if you have an Intel® Core™ processor and a separate GPU (not integrated with the CPU) you can play most games.
While Macs are great at what they’re designed to do, older Macs might not have components installed that are robust enough for gaming. Check the specifications on all your hardware, but especially your integrated graphics card to make sure it can run the games you’re interested in without lagging or stuttering.
Virtual reality gaming and Macs
Macs with appropriate hardware are starting to edge into VR. OS X High Sierra has native support for virtual reality. Concurrently, Steam is offering an SDK for the HTC VIVE™ headset to take advantage of the new support. You will need to check the specifications of the components in your system to make sure they can handle the demands of VR.
The cost is one factor; for the amount of money you would spend on a Mac, you can build or buy a fairly high-powered gaming PC. But, if you have a Mac for other purposes, gaming is another thing you can do with your system.
Check the graphics card especially if you have a MacBook®, mobile graphics cards are sometimes even less robust than a desktop graphics card. Also, be aware that some games are very resource-hungry and can drain your battery quickly.
There’s no reason you can’t enter the world of gaming if you have a Mac as your main computer. You no longer need to have a Windows PC to play all the popular games.
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