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Old Oct 2, 2012, 08:41 AM   #1
MacGamerHQ
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The state of Mac gaming

Hey guys,

I wrote an article about the state of mac gaming. Where we are and where we are going.

It is doing pretty well on Reddit so I decided to share it with you:

The State of Mac Gaming

All your comments and suggestions are more than welcome!

EDIT:
I pretty much did again my "State of Mac Gaming" assessment, taking things a little further, using stats, graphs and comments and questions I've received. I hope you find it more helpful than my first try.

You can find it here:
The State of Mac Gaming
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Old Oct 2, 2012, 09:47 AM   #2
Dirtyharry50
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Nice overview but I don't need or want a hackintosh myself. I love my whisper quiet, elegantly designed 27" iMac with its beautiful display. The 6970m GPU is plenty for my needs which do not require everything on maximum all of the time. I have not personally played it but from what I've read, Skyrim for example on my system can run with high settings. That is plenty good enough for me.

You don't need a three thousand dollar gaming rig with a five hundred dollar video card to be a "hard core gamer" in my opinion. Hard core is more about how much you love playing games and spend time doing it than it is about the hardware you do it on. When I was a windows user my machine was never better than midrange for gaming purposes but it was always good enough for me to enjoy them and enjoy them I still do, very often. My relatively new iMac is much nicer than my old PC was and more capable for gaming than it was.

It is awesome we have ways to play whatever we want to on a Mac. I personally have come to greatly prefer playing games in OS X without rebooting. I'll do it for something special like Skyrim or Fallout New Vegas when I get around to them but I'd rather never leave OS X.

Fortunately, Feral and Aspyr keep turning out great titles that are going to be enough for the most part to keep me entertained in the future. It'll be a rare case going forward that I'd buy a windows title with so many cool Mac titles to play.

Right now a lot of my gaming time is consumed enjoying World of Warcraft and its new Mists of Pandaria expansion. I love the game and have a lot of fun with it. It runs great with settings cranked at native resolution on my system. What more could I ask for? I also have StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3, a bunch of great games from Feral, some from Aspyr and a lot of old classics from gog.com that being older, all run inside a Parallels Windows XP virtual machine, again with no rebooting.

Can you tell I dislike rebooting and leaving OS X? ;-)

Anyway, I am grateful to have the option and will use it for Bethesda RPGs and some other stuff but I am really thinking the next Mac I own I won't even bother with windows. There is so many hours of high quality entertainment available for Macs now that I see no need to bother.

What I should do is become familiar with Wineskin so I can just run Skyrim, the Fallout games, etc. also without leaving OS X. I've admittedly been lazy here but I am becoming more motivated by wanting to just stay in OS X. I do not like windows nor microsoft.
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Old Oct 2, 2012, 01:45 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dirtyharry50 View Post
Nice overview but I don't need or want a hackintosh myself. I love my whisper quiet, elegantly designed 27" iMac with its beautiful display. The 6970m GPU is plenty for my needs which do not require everything on maximum all of the time. I have not personally played it but from what I've read, Skyrim for example on my system can run with high settings. That is plenty good enough for me.

You don't need a three thousand dollar gaming rig with a five hundred dollar video card to be a "hard core gamer" in my opinion. Hard core is more about how much you love playing games and spend time doing it than it is about the hardware you do it on. When I was a windows user my machine was never better than midrange for gaming purposes but it was always good enough for me to enjoy them and enjoy them I still do, very often. My relatively new iMac is much nicer than my old PC was and more capable for gaming than it was.

It is awesome we have ways to play whatever we want to on a Mac. I personally have come to greatly prefer playing games in OS X without rebooting. I'll do it for something special like Skyrim or Fallout New Vegas when I get around to them but I'd rather never leave OS X.

Fortunately, Feral and Aspyr keep turning out great titles that are going to be enough for the most part to keep me entertained in the future. It'll be a rare case going forward that I'd buy a windows title with so many cool Mac titles to play.

Right now a lot of my gaming time is consumed enjoying World of Warcraft and its new Mists of Pandaria expansion. I love the game and have a lot of fun with it. It runs great with settings cranked at native resolution on my system. What more could I ask for? I also have StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3, a bunch of great games from Feral, some from Aspyr and a lot of old classics from gog.com that being older, all run inside a Parallels Windows XP virtual machine, again with no rebooting.

Can you tell I dislike rebooting and leaving OS X? ;-)

Anyway, I am grateful to have the option and will use it for Bethesda RPGs and some other stuff but I am really thinking the next Mac I own I won't even bother with windows. There is so many hours of high quality entertainment available for Macs now that I see no need to bother.

What I should do is become familiar with Wineskin so I can just run Skyrim, the Fallout games, etc. also without leaving OS X. I've admittedly been lazy here but I am becoming more motivated by wanting to just stay in OS X. I do not like windows nor microsoft.
Thanks for the comments Dirtyharry50.

Don't get me wrong, the idea behind my article was not to convince people to get a Hackintosh (perhaps I am not very clear on that part) as I 100% agree with you. I used to have an iMac and had a hard time deciding whether to get rid of it or not.
I ended up getting the 27" Mac cinema display as a compromise (they are just gorgeous to look at)
Anyway, in this situation, the advantage of a Hackintosh is that you can build yourself something similar (but no as powerful) to a Mac Pro with 1000$. That may sound like too much but we all have our priorities

Otherwise, I have the same "problem", so many games to play natively that I just don't see a reason to launch windows anymore

Thanks for the comments!

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by kd5jos View Post
You obviously have interest in what you are writing. You have done a great job with selecting a theme for the website that makes this article easy to read. The article is a good start. What parts of what you said are you planning on expanding? You've basically covered what is already well known. There are great Mac games out there and if you are an avid gamer you'll likely need one of the two ways to run Windows (why did you leave out virtual machines)...

What I didn't see was anything new. Did you find out what the first game was that was a Dos or Win/Mac crossover (available on both platforms). Why don't more studios spend money on developing for both platforms? If OS X and iOS are in an inevitable head on collision (with only one survivor), what will gaming look like because of it? Any interviews with indie developers that develop on both platforms (I bet if you asked you could find ONE person that would be happy to interview)?

You have started, now continue, and improve.

Thanks for the comments kd5jos, I appreciate the kind words AND the constructive criticism.

As you see I'm barely starting but yes, you ask very interesting questions and they are all going to the "post ideas" list! I will focus next on the future, what games are coming? are there more studios thinking about the mac? etc.

I will also make some experiments and compare performance between the same game running on windows (native / virtual machines) and mac.

The interviews are something I hope to be able to do, but I need a little more experience, and specially, an actual reader base (developers have to have a reason to spend time doing the interview ....)

PS: The Mac /iOs likely to collide is a good catch.

Do you blog?
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Old Oct 2, 2012, 03:44 PM   #4
doh123
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You really consider gaming in Windows (mac or hack) as "Mac gaming?"

A Mac is no longer a Mac without Mac hardware and OS X. Otherwise its just Mac hardware (part of a Mac) with Windows.

I was expecting to read more about actual Mac gaming, or something with gaming and Macs... maybe talk about the thousands of Windows only games that are playable on OS X with different options...
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Old Oct 2, 2012, 03:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by doh123 View Post
You really consider gaming in Windows (mac or hack) as "Mac gaming?"

A Mac is no longer a Mac without Mac hardware and OS X. Otherwise its just Mac hardware (part of a Mac) with Windows.

I was expecting to read more about actual Mac gaming, or something with gaming and Macs... maybe talk about the thousands of Windows only games that are playable on OS X with different options...
I believe the games I listed as AAA mac games are all native OSX...

The last solutions (bootcamp and hackintosh) are for what I would call hardcore gamers, people that want to play all the latest games (maxed out if possible).

Otherwise, I have to agree with you, if we are going to talk about gaming in bootcamp, than I might as well call my blog Windows GamerHQ
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Old Oct 2, 2012, 10:21 PM   #6
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I very much enjoyed reading your article and I think you do a great job explaining the current world of mac gaming and the future of it too. Great job!! I would love to read an article about hackintosh machines as I am considering making one.
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Old Oct 5, 2012, 10:27 AM   #7
Irishman
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Originally Posted by MacGamerHQ View Post
I believe the games I listed as AAA mac games are all native OSX...

The last solutions (bootcamp and hackintosh) are for what I would call hardcore gamers, people that want to play all the latest games (maxed out if possible).

Otherwise, I have to agree with you, if we are going to talk about gaming in bootcamp, than I might as well call my blog Windows GamerHQ
I think that I greatly admire the work you're putting in to begin a new Mac gaming site. You're basically working to cater to a niche within a niche, which isn't easy! Kudos to you!

I think that, given the off-the-charts success story that has been iOS gaming (since 2007) has eclipsed Mac gaming, and rightly so. Native Mac gaming has seemed to have lain fallow in the interim, driving some of us long-time Mac users a bit of crazy! In that interim (caused, I think, by Apple themselves by releasing Bootcamp and giving legitimacy to Windows gaming on the Mac), we've stopped hearing about efforts by porting houses to line up and develop AAA titles that aren't currently planned for Mac release. We've stopped hearing about lobbying on behalf of Mac gamers to get Windows-only titles made available (whether by the original developer or someone else).

At least to the degree that we used to before Bootcamp.

Bootcamp, Wine (and its varieties), Fusion, and Parallels, are all bandaids to heal a wound. And that wound is the paucity of new AAA, same-day titles for the Mac. (Especially cutting-edge graphical titles).

It keeps some of us gamers satisfied at best (not me), but it distracts game developers at worst. For me, if I were going to make a Mac Gaming site, it would need to be primarily focused on native games, not wineskin ports, or Windows games running in Parallels or Bootcamp. Maybe once in a while I'd feature one of those AAA Windows titles to remind readers of what we want and don't have.

The success of iOS gaming should remind us of the size of the prize. If we get developers interested in the OSX market - as small as it is - we'll have the same vibrancy of releases on OSX as we do on iOS.

Just my two cents.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 04:12 PM   #8
Tombs
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Originally Posted by doh123 View Post
You really consider gaming in Windows (mac or hack) as "Mac gaming?"

A Mac is no longer a Mac without Mac hardware and OS X. Otherwise its just Mac hardware (part of a Mac) with Windows.

I was expecting to read more about actual Mac gaming, or something with gaming and Macs... maybe talk about the thousands of Windows only games that are playable on OS X with different options...
I'd say its the other way round....its a PC running Windows but in an Apple designed case...after all the components are PC components just packaged nicely.

----------

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because thats not what people usually say. the normal thing you hear is "Bootcamp is the best way to game on a Mac" and Windows is rarely ever mentioned when people discuss "using Bootcamp"

Its also misleading because its not the "best" way to run Windows on a Mac. Its running Windows on Mac hardware... sure, and it might be the best, it depends on what the user is doing. I the user is running some very simple little apps, and needs to multitask with OSX apps, then no, its not the best way to run Windows for that user.

Bootcamp is a tool to help you get Windows installed, and contains some drivers you'll need. You can install Windows directly on your Mac without using Bootcamp... no Bootcamp is not required to do so, but its just easier to do it that way. If you don't use Bootcamp you'd probably want to grab the drivers out it has anyways and still use those.
But it isnt all Mac hardware is it? GPU, CPU, hardrive, RAM....all made by other manufacturers.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 05:52 PM   #9
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I'd say its the other way round....its a PC running Windows but in an Apple designed case...after all the components are PC components just packaged nicely.

----------



But it isnt all Mac hardware is it? GPU, CPU, hardrive, RAM....all made by other manufacturers.
if you don't know what it takes to actually design a computer... you can see it that way. Apple of course buys components, but its not like you just buy a bunch of components and plug them in and it works. Designing a laptop is not like building a desktop at home. There is a huge difference in building and designing. The main logic board design in there (which is Apple's) is very complicated.
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Old Oct 4, 2012, 03:31 AM   #10
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I'd say its the other way round....its a PC running Windows but in an Apple designed case...after all the components are PC components just packaged nicely.
This would be so if Apple sold Macs running Windows only with no OS X & all the integrated Mac software. But as long as PCs don't run OS X legitimately, or at least sufficiently hassle-free for most consumers, Macs are't PCs even if they're running Windows in Bootcamp. Macs stay unique.

When you buy a Mac, you're also buying OS X & some great software.

Not knocking PCs as I own one & actually like W7.
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Old Oct 2, 2012, 09:54 AM   #11
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This is meant to be helpful...

You obviously have interest in what you are writing. You have done a great job with selecting a theme for the website that makes this article easy to read. The article is a good start. What parts of what you said are you planning on expanding? You've basically covered what is already well known. There are great Mac games out there and if you are an avid gamer you'll likely need one of the two ways to run Windows (why did you leave out virtual machines)...

What I didn't see was anything new. Did you find out what the first game was that was a Dos or Win/Mac crossover (available on both platforms). Why don't more studios spend money on developing for both platforms? If OS X and iOS are in an inevitable head on collision (with only one survivor), what will gaming look like because of it? Any interviews with indie developers that develop on both platforms (I bet if you asked you could find ONE person that would be happy to interview)?

You have started, now continue, and improve.
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Old Oct 5, 2012, 03:41 AM   #12
lannisters4life
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Originally Posted by MacGamerHQ View Post
Hey guys,

I wrote an article about the state of mac gaming. Where we are and where we are going.

It is doing pretty well on Reddit so I decided to share it with you:

http://macgamerhq.com/the-state-of-mac-gaming/

All your comments and suggestions are more than welcome!
I don't really understand this...

You built a reasonably powerful PC, you run OS X on it, and run your games in OS X. Sorry if I read this as being a little backwards... your games will always play better in Windows 7, they're going to be generally cheaper and if you're waiting for new releases you'll often also have them sooner.
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Old Oct 5, 2012, 07:06 AM   #13
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I don't really understand this...

You built a reasonably powerful PC, you run OS X on it, and run your games in OS X. Sorry if I read this as being a little backwards... your games will always play better in Windows 7, they're going to be generally cheaper and if you're waiting for new releases you'll often also have them sooner.
Well the whole point of a hackintosh is basically to have a Mac but with different specs than what Apple offers. I do not even have windows installed right now....

I do see your point but the same applies to bootcamp / windows. Some people just does not want to boot all the time to play....
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Old Oct 5, 2012, 07:44 AM   #14
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Well the whole point of a hackintosh is basically to have a Mac but with different specs than what Apple offers. I do not even have windows installed right now....

I do see your point but the same applies to bootcamp / windows. Some people just does not want to boot all the time to play....
Currently a Hackintosh is a very real option for many people due to the lack of support the Mac Pro has been getting for the last couple of years. Many people still want a traditional desktop computer tower but want a mac, currently the Mac Pro is the worst vale for money computer I have ever seen.
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Old Oct 5, 2012, 07:42 PM   #15
lannisters4life
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Originally Posted by MacGamerHQ View Post
Well the whole point of a hackintosh is basically to have a Mac but with different specs than what Apple offers. I do not even have windows installed right now....

I do see your point but the same applies to bootcamp / windows. Some people just does not want to boot all the time to play....
These people need their heads examined
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Old Oct 5, 2012, 07:54 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by lannisters4life View Post
These people need their heads examined
If you like Windows, good for you... some of us will not run Windows. There is not a game in existence thats worth having to install Windows to play for me... if I need Windows, then I won't play it... no big loss to me.
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Old Oct 5, 2012, 08:06 PM   #17
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If you like Windows, good for you... some of us will not run Windows. There is not a game in existence thats worth having to install Windows to play for me... if I need Windows, then I won't play it... no big loss to me.
You definitely apply to the you need your head examined comment of earlier
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Old Oct 5, 2012, 11:37 AM   #18
Jookbox
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When Apple switched to intel chips, it was just a matter of time when the hardware became up to par. If only DirectX only worked on macos, lol. In the meantime, if you have a nice enough system, I would just boot into windows. The latest macbooks run windows games nicely.
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Old Oct 5, 2012, 08:35 PM   #19
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I game fine on a MBP 13" 2012 with 16gb of ram. However I'm sure my gaming habits differ from others. I currently play GW2 via the beta Mac client, DIII & waiting for Torchlight II.

I'm sure this scenario differs from the WoW kiddies and the hardcore FPS folks of course.

Its hard to wrangle the "state of Mac gaming" in to one corral.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 01:55 AM   #20
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Apple needs to get their **** together with their awful OpenGL support. Having only up to OpenGL 3.2 is unnacceptable seeing as how that version is going on 4 years old and they are selling Macs with GPU's capable of much more than that. Their drivers are a mess and if 10.9 doesn't get it right they can expect to miss a lot of modern engine support that is going to be approaching.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 08:36 AM   #21
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Apple needs to get their **** together with their awful OpenGL support. Having only up to OpenGL 3.2 is unnacceptable seeing as how that version is going on 4 years old and they are selling Macs with GPU's capable of much more than that. Their drivers are a mess and if 10.9 doesn't get it right they can expect to miss a lot of modern engine support that is going to be approaching.
Agreed & further to El Awesome's VG points, hence, despite the growing Mac user-base, there's still so few Mac games companies who find the OS X games market viable enough. The excellent Feral & Aspyr being the obvious ones & they're relatively small.

Sadly, Apple are highly unlikely to increase focus on the non-casual gaming side as some of us might wish. Their likely future focus, as now: increasing profit margins via further integration of OS X with iOS, improving mobile devices, etc. & the only gaming they'll pay serious mind to being casual, non graphically-intensive games.

As their iMac & Mini desktop ranges will almost certainly continue to get thinner over time, they seem more likely to move to more integrated video cards with future updates. Though Haswell will be about 3 times more powerful than Ivy Bridge, it'll still not compete with decent discrete cards.

Apple do many things well. But, realistically, they can't win by competing in a market long-dominated by Windows PCs. Not unless they also offer more powerful Macs GPU-wise at much cheaper prices. As much as I might wish otherwise, they're extremely unlikely to do that.

Hence buying a PC for gaming (or using Bootcamp for its better FPS) will always be an attractive option, even for a fair number of long-standing Mac users.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 09:11 AM   #22
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Agreed & further to El Awesome's VG points, hence, despite the growing Mac user-base, there's still so few Mac games companies who find the OS X games market viable enough. The excellent Feral & Aspyr being the obvious ones & they're relatively small.
Small but feisty

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Sadly, Apple are highly unlikely to increase focus on the non-casual gaming side as some of us might wish. Their likely future focus, as now: increasing profit margins via further integration of OS X with iOS, improving mobile devices, etc. & the only gaming they'll pay serious mind to being casual, non graphically-intensive games.

As their iMac & Mini desktop ranges will almost certainly continue to get thinner over time, they seem more likely to move to more integrated video cards with future updates. Though Haswell will be about 3 times more powerful than Ivy Bridge, it'll still not compete with decent discrete cards.
Yep integrated cards like the HD4000 and retina screens (like the 13" MacBookPro) are not the best combination for high end gaming!

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Apple do many things well. But, realistically, they can't win by competing in a market long-dominated by Windows PCs. Not unless they also offer more powerful Macs GPU-wise at much cheaper prices. As much as I might wish otherwise, they're extremely unlikely to do that.

Hence buying a PC for gaming (or using Bootcamp for its better FPS) will always be an attractive option, even for a fair number of long-standing Mac users.
Making Windows versions of some games is now becoming marginal as all the money is on console. The fact that piracy is much lower on console compared to PC also helps large publishers with their decision.

If you assume the Mac gaming market is roughly lets say 100 times smaller than the PC then you can see how gaming is not a big target for the large games publishers.

They are more than happy in most cases to license games and have someone else spend the time and money to release the game on the Mac (or PC) but they don't want to take the risk themselves as the profits are tiny compared to their console sales figures. Many games the console day one sales figures will beat the lifetime Mac/PC combined total over the entire lifetime of the product!



I do think the selection of games on the Mac will keep growing but as the PC is now a smaller player compared to consoles the Mac is unlikely to become a first tier platform for gaming. In fact many Windows versions are now ported to Windows by a third party after the main console game has been completed. Deus Ex for example as I recall was brought to the PC by Nixxes after Eidos Montreal had made the console versions.

I can see the Mac a good second tier platform just behind Windows (also second tier), in fact it is already much better than a decade ago but I can't see it being a primary platform alongside consoles any time soon.

Edwin
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 11:00 AM   #23
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Small but feisty
Thanks for some VG points! RE the above: probably the better for it as Feral's output continues to be of a high quality & at a fairly good rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edddeduck View Post
Making Windows versions of some games is now becoming marginal as all the money is on console. The fact that piracy is much lower on console compared to PC also helps large publishers with their decision.

If you assume the Mac gaming market is roughly lets say 100 times smaller than the PC then you can see how gaming is not a big target for the large games publishers.

They are more than happy in most cases to license games and have someone else spend the time and money to release the game on the Mac (or PC) but they don't want to take the risk themselves as the profits are tiny compared to their console sales figures. Many games the console day one sales figures will beat the lifetime Mac/PC combined total over the entire lifetime of the product!
I agree that's been the trend, but it hasn't stopped the quality PC developers from continuing to capitalize on what is still a massive, viable gaming market. For eg., Creative Assembly & their Total War games, or Sports Interactive & their Football Manager games, et al. Fact is, some games will always work so much better on PC/Mac than consoles!

Also trends can reverse. As console games-development is expensive & those costs continue rising, notably for gamers also, I can see a renaissance in PC gaming, not least from more of the smaller developers. I think that Valve & their Steam Box, esp if they can price it attractively at launch, can also play a significant role in this.

As you correctly point out, a lot of potential PC sales were lost over those years to piracy. However, those sales charts you linked only go as far as 2007. Since then, most recent PC games have increasingly sold via Steam & other digital downloads, which are far less prone to pilfering piracy.

I think those more extreme divergences in the PC v console sales chart you've linked may have come down since. IMO, it's probable we'll see them reduced even further in the years to come.

Image

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I do think the selection of games on the Mac will keep growing but as the PC is now a smaller player compared to consoles the Mac is unlikely to become a first tier platform for gaming. In fact many Windows versions are now ported to Windows by a third party after the main console game has been completed. Deus Ex for example as I recall was brought to the PC by Nixxes after Eidos Montreal had made the console versions.

I can see the Mac a good second tier platform just behind Windows (also second tier), in fact it is already much better than a decade ago but I can't see it being a primary platform alongside consoles any time soon.
Indeed, but as I say, things are changing all the time. Consoles continue to see falling sales with each new generation, whilst PC gaming is far from dead.

Agree re the great potential for Mac gaming to consolidate its position within realistic boundaries. If only Apple could be a bit more developer friendly in future, who knows what more could be achieved?

By the by, what'd be just as interesting for me is to see a similar graph of Mac game sales over the last 10 years. Wouldn't surprise me at all if the more recent trend was a fairly positive one. - Regards.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 05:14 PM   #24
Huntn
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Originally Posted by edddeduck View Post
I can see the Mac a good second tier platform just behind Windows (also second tier), in fact it is already much better than a decade ago but I can't see it being a primary platform alongside consoles any time soon.

Edwin
Stunning graphic... I guess I knew that though.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 09:34 AM   #25
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Stunning graphic... I guess I knew that though.
At a tangent, but not entirely unrelated to this thread. I see that you do most of your gaming (if not all) in Bootcamp, whilst your serious work is in OS X. Do you ever get tired of the frequent rebooting?

BTW, question is from genuine interest & has no hidden agenda. - Cheers!
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