Play on Mac: A bad joke or real alternative to Windows PCs and consoles?

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Traditionally, the Mac is not the system of choice for convinced gamers. A combination of the graphics chips built into most Macs and the few game highlights that find their way to the platform has pushed players toward Windows or consoles. But it looks like things are changing. There are signs, albeit subtle, that Apple can still warm to the idea of the Mac as a gaming platform. From improved hardware to completely new subscriptions, now could be the best time in years to start gaming on Mac. The new MacBook Pro 16-inch underscores this plan with the most powerful graphics chips Apple has ever used in a Mac laptop. Apple has even released its own gaming platform, Apple Arcade.

(Picture: Manufacturer)

Pippin: This is Apple’s failed console

It’s not the first time Apple has tried its way into the world of games: in 1996, the home entertainment system Pippin debuted. This was not only intended for games, but also for all CD-ROM content and also wanted to be used when surfing the newly emerging Internet. Apple wanted to develop the multimedia box into a standard similar to the VHS system.

It was different: Apple entered into a partnership with the Japanese game multinational Bandai, but the Pippin devices still sold underground. This was due to a lack of software and Apple’s limited efforts to market the product seriously. The last “CoffinNagel” was hit by Steve Jobs on his return in 1997: Jobs pulled the emergency brake and removed Pippin from the program with a number of other experimental projects (such as the Newton mobile device).

But what happens next? Is Apple really opening the Mac to high-end games now? We want to find out.

Apple Arcade is the big throw

If you’ve been dealing with games on Apple platforms in recent months, Apple Arcade hasn’t escaped your attention. Apple’s subscription service already offers over 100 ad-free games from well-known studios for just 4.99 euros per month. All games can be used on any of your Apple devices, including mac.

The fact that Apple Arcade launched on iOS devices, however, is not surprising: iPhone and iPad have long been popular mobile gaming platforms, with Apple prominently displaying the capabilities of its smartphones in every new launch. More unusual is the attention Apple is now paying to the Mac.

Apple drummed together iOS developers and asked them to port their games to Mac. They include “Final Fantasy” creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and Will Wright, the father of “The Sims.”

In an interview with the video game news service “IGN”, P’ng Yi Wei, developer of “King’s League II”, which distinguishes Apple Arcade from other game distribution platforms, explained: “The level is very high. Getting started with Apple Arcade is similar to consoles where it’s notoriously difficult to submit their games.”

These high standards for recording at Arcade also make the games potentially the best quality. Apple is consistently expanding its service as an excellently curated gaming platform. In Cupertino, Arcade doesn’t seem to be just a casual way of making quick money for the company. In other words, Apple is now taking gaming much more seriously.

In fact, many developers praise the company for being able to design games the way they want without worrying about monetizing them. Andrew Schimmel, developer of Apple’s “Skate City” and “Where Cards Fall” arcade games, sees the potential: “Apple Arcade has opened a new playground where developers can once again view premium games as a viable business model. If enough gamers discover high quality games for this low price, it makes the development lucrative and it results in much better games”.

Listening to the developers, it looks like Apple isn’t just content to offer gaming as something that iPhone, iPad and Mac “can” “can”. Apple is transforming its hardware into a prime home for players looking for a new challenge. Luckily, the hardware has also been added: powerful Macs are available.

Games on macOS: Mac is back!

One of the first clues that Apple is finally taking players seriously on the Mac came up with macOS 10.13.4 “High Sierra”. At that time, support for external graphics cards (eGPUs) was added. At that time, the graphics cards used in Macs were at best in the middle range. Entry-level Macs didn’t exist at all with discrete graphics cards. All of this made playing on the Mac very difficult – which drastically changed the support of eGPUs in one fell swoop.

Apple never directly praised eGPU support for gamers, but clearly had this group in mind. For example, Apple’s support page for setting up an eGPU explains that it improves the experience in “professional applications, 3D games, VR content creation, and more.” Presumably, the formulation is used to ensure that the Mac continues to be seen as a device for professionals, rather than descending into the world of high-end gamers.

But it’s not just third-party hardware that makes an offer available to gamers. Apple’s own hardware developments point to an encouraging future for gaming on the Mac. “The Elephant in the Room” is the Mac Pro.

The Mac Pro is designed as an uncompromising high-end workstation. The desktop monster accommodates up to four powerful graphics cards, as each of the interchangeable MPX modules accommodates up to two cards.

This is massively exaggerated for gaming. But the point is: it shows that Apple offers options. But you don’t have to spend a small fortune on a Mac Pro if you want to play on a Mac: Apple’s latest laptop, the MacBook Pro with 16-inch display, is available in basic configurations with the AMD graphics cards Radeon Pro 5300M or 5500M. They take advantage of the new Navi architecture, which Apple says offers more bandwidth and more performance for “the greatest graphics performance ever available in a MacBook Pro.”

Compared to the previous 15-inch entry-level MacBook Pro, the 16-inch device achieves 95 percent faster gaming performance in “Fortnite,” according to Apple. The high-end graphics card delivers 55 percent faster graphics performance than the old top-of-the-range 15-inch model.

(Image: Screenshot)

Hello, Operator?

One of the stories Apple Arcade has already produced is that of “Operator 41”. This game doesn’t have a big studio behind it – a 14-year-old Londoner named Spruce Campbell designed it. Campbell started programming at the age of eight, his first app followed at 12. This caught Apple’s attention, he won a place at the developer conference WWDC.

What attracted him to Apple Arcade instead of the App Store? “In today’s App Store, people expect free games, so everything I design has to be monetized – which has hampered the variety of ideas I’m developing,” Campbell says. Apple Arcade, on the other hand, with its guaranteed recurring income, means that none of this is necessary. Apple needs to do something right when game developers specifically choose Arcade, not the multibillion-dollar App Store. That bodes well.

This means that no matter which model you choose, you notice the difference. We wouldn’t be surprised if AMD’s Navi GPUs would find their way into other models in the future that give you even more game power without having to let off steam on a top-of-the-range MacBook.

What does all this mean for playing on Mac?

Does that mean Apple is turning its Macs into game consoles? Certainly not. But Apple is no longer turning away from players. It would be foolish to stay away from the high revenues of the gaming industry. This was clearly recognized in Cupertino, as you can see from Arcade. It seems that the unbridled success of the games on iOS (after all, seven of the ten most popular apps on the platform games) has convinced Apple that there is more to come from the gaming passion.

(Image: Screenshot)

But if, for example, the availability of premium games on Mac lags behind, Apple will continue to struggle to convince many developers that the Mac is a worthwhile target for gamers. But the steps Apple is currently taking with Arcade could at least someless reduce the reluctance. What seems certain, however, that Apple is finally doing something.

Pippin: This is Apple’s failed console

It’s not the first time Apple has tried its way into the world of games: in 1996, the home entertainment system Pippin debuted. This was not only intended for games, but also for all CD-ROM content and also wanted to be used when surfing the newly emerging Internet. Apple wanted to develop the multimedia box into a standard similar to the VHS system.

It was different: Apple entered into a partnership with the Japanese game multinational Bandai, but the Pippin devices still sold underground. This was due to a lack of software and Apple’s limited efforts to market the product seriously. Steve Jobs beat the last “Sargnagel” in 1997 at his backJobs pulled the emergency brake and removed Pippin from the program with a number of other experimental projects, such as the Newton mobile device.

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