Open letter to Apple about gaming

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Roderick Usher, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    #1
    http://www.fileplanet.com/fileblog/archives/2007/04/entry_254.shtml

    The FilePlanet editor-in-chief published an open letter to Apple about the state of their support for native gaming on the Mac.

    Found this over at the Mac Observer; the folks on their forums seem to think that any overt moves on the part of Apple to support gaming would either tarnish the Mac's image or dilute Apple's resources. I'm not convinced that this is the case.
     
  2. macrumors 604

    zap2

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Washington D.C
    #2
    Its a good read, but I don't know. Apple in 1999, had Halo preview, with jobs talking about how they would be bring games back to the Mac...things kind of did, but not really.

    Also Apple's GPU state isn't too hot..to get a "gaming rig" you'd need to buy a Mac Pro(iMac can game, but its not machine that has much room for updates for GPUs) These means Apple would have to change its hardware line up around, go out and buy companys for game ect ect.

    Its just not worth it for Apple. They current are understaffed as it is, iPhone, iPod ,:apple: TV and the Mac. They shouldn't be worrying about games now, new some new iPods out, 10.5 shipped and see that the iPhone sell lots, and then focus on something new
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    madog

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Korova Milkbar
    #3
    I agree with that letter 100%. I've had a Mac for over 10 years [ever since I could afford one myself] this current one being my second one [I've had it for almost eight years now] and I loves to play mes somes games. I'm not all that consistent in my gaming, but when I do get into it I consider myself a "hardcore" one.

    On many, many occasions I find myself searching Newegg for the necessary parts to build myself a shaweet gaming rig. Personally, I don't mind the fact that Macs are lacking in the games department because I think that will change in the near future because of the Intel processor; but rather I am more angry about the fact that if you want to get into gaming with a Mac you are, in essence, trapped with purchasing a way-too-expensive-for-the-purpose MacPro tower.

    Like the article states, you can very well play all Mac games [and most PC games with BootCamp] with an iMac or a MacBook Pro; however, you are stuck with that purchase. There are little to no expansive options for you after that initial purchase aside from memory and one GPU upgrade with the iMac 24" as an after-market purchase; and other than the MacPro, none of them come with an empty memory card slot unless specially ordered -- which is absolutely ridiculous. Personally, If I had bought any other PC I probably wouldn't be limited to just the handful of absurdly over-priced graphics cards available for this machine.

    And not just for games but for many, many other uses in my opinion, Apple is lacking one fairly simple, "headless" machine that specs somewhere between a high-end iMac and the MacPro. Something that will even-more-so entice the experienced Windows gamer and Mac gamers alike. Something a lot of people crave; myself included.
     
  4. macrumors 68020

    Erasmus

    Joined:
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    Australia, Where Omnius can't find me!
    #4
    I remember that! I saw it! Too long ago for me to remember what the hell it was, but I definitely remember a Halo demo being shown... It was the time that they released the iSub... And of course, the guy played "Addicted to Bass" on it, which was kind of amusing...

    It was playing on some kind of new hardware. Maybe the brand new Powermac G4??? Geez, that was before my Cube!!! Scary...

    All it takes for Apple is to include a decent graphics card in their next redesigns of the Mac Pro, iMac and Macbook Pro. If you're gonna do a redesign, you might as well spend the extra effort so the HD2900XT will fit in if not the iMac, then the Mac Pro. Mobility HD2600XT in MBP FTW!!! ROXXOR HAXXOR ROFLMAO! :p

    EDIT: About the letter, totally agree. Want Crysis on my MBP! :p
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    #5
    I'd take the article more seriously if there wasn't so much sexual innuendo in like the first half of the letter. :D

    Anyways, maybe Apple will eventually here gamers out. But there are 3 points I must make:

    -I just don't see it fitting well into the hardware line-up. The Mac Mini and MacBook have integrated graphics. Granted, considering the market and prices they are sold at it, integrated graphics is fair. A quick look on Dell's website shows you get an ATI X1400 at the $899 price point. Perhaps Apple should add a real, but still low-end GPU in a MacBook. With the iMac, at least the new GPU interface in the 24" iMac may mean future upgrades in future models. We may not have CrossFire or SLI, but at least we do have a high end card (ATI X1900 XT) and the MacBook Pro's and iMacs definitely got some decent hardware, too. The unfortunate fact is you have to pay $2499 to have a Mac Pro for real upgrade options nor does Apple provide custom options for the iMac or MacBook Pro's GPU besides adding VRAM. It would help gamers if there was a cheap Mac Pro-like machine that is more upgradeable than an iMac while not killing Mac Pro sales. Obviously this is a hard balance for Apple to achieve by looking at the hardware line up.

    -We have yet to see what the repercussions of the ATI/AMD and Intel/nVidia mergers mean. This could reduce our graphics card options severely. Both ATI and nVidia have recently showcased new higher end graphics cards which we will hopefully see soon on the Mac.

    -Developers developers developers! The porting houses can only do so much. The indie Mac game developers can only do so much. The rumor about Apple starting up a game division is promising, but Apple does need some real Mac game developers. Apple has built up quite the war chest with iPod and iTunes and hopefully soon iPhone. Maybe it's time for some spending?

    Honestly, it's easier to game on the Mac, in my opinion. I'm always fighting with the Windows Update app to play Battlefield 2 on my MacBook Pro. It keeps telling me to restart! Leave me alone... Installation and setup of games on the Mac are still as easy as installing any other kind of app on the Mac. Can't say that about every Windows game. Oh and don't get me started on patches. God damn. FilePlanet and all of those other file serving websites... They always want you to wait in line, subscribe, or jump through other hoops. I had one hell of a time making sure BF2 was up to date. Nowhere in the game or outside of the game could I find the version number. I wasn't sure if I was patched up or not. On the Mac, a simple Get Info check would have gotten me that info if the version numbering in game is awkward (like it is in BF2). Hence native game are still important to all Mac users.

    Apple does kind of care about games. At least we don't get a uninspired version of Solitaire and Mindsweeper with our Macs. We get games like Nanosaur, Marble Blast, Bugdom, Deimos Rising, just to name a few games from the last 9 years pre-installed on your Mac. And Quake 3 and Halo demos at MacWorld expos. Memorable moments!

    Apple is in a very good position to retake the computer market. I just hope they will capitalize it and bring gamers along for the ride.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    Erasmus

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Australia, Where Omnius can't find me!
    #6
    Intel and nvidia have hardly partnered.

    Intel will make its own discrete graphics cards in the future. They have said so. Nvidia is screwed, because they won't have much with which to compete once GPUs and CPUs merge in a few years.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    #7
    I think they are missing the point. The game market is declining on Macs & PCs because of a bunch of things.

    1. The focus has moved to consoles, so there is not the development budgets there used to be for Mac and PCs.
    2. Production costs have increased way beyond potential profits for game developers big and small alike.
    3. Tons of free games are now available online, so sales to developers both big and small have declined.
    4. Tons of free other stuff is on the web so people don't buy as many games.
    5. Sales channels have shrunk. Just go to Best Buy where they used to aisle full of games, now it is just a few feet on one shelf.
    6. Old games are being remarketed so there is a glut of competition.
    7. Distribution in retail is monopolized by a few big players who limit product selection to their most profitable few titles.
    8. Pirated warez sites have saturated the internet and broadband usage has increased, so the sales of existing titles has declined.
    9. Costs of Mac/PC gaming machine are still high, as consoles cost has declined. This was the the main strategy of the consol makers in the first place, sell the machine at cost, control and make your money from the software.
    10. One hundred other things that I'm not even thinking of.

    So basically I think you will just see a further decline in Mac/PC gaming. :(

    -T
     
  8. macrumors regular

    Carrot007

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    #8
    Well.....


    1. In todays environment of middleware if a game is written half decently ity should be a quick job to move to any other platform the middleware supports.
    NOT A VALID EXCUSE (at least not for PC's which would likely be supported in the middleware).

    2. Only because they belive they have to spend this sort of money. The thing they need to concentrate on is having a good game rather than throwing money at a bad one.

    3. And most are horrible things that are ad ridden and/or pointless. We are talking about gamers wanting games here.

    4. Again see point 3. Gamers want games.

    5. I agree, unless it's for a console you pretty much have to buy online these days.

    6. Old games are still games, bringing classic to the mac would be welcomed.

    7. True.

    8. Warez are nothing new, people have always bought games and will continue to do so, especially if the game is good. Warez loses nothing. Those who would not buyt the game anyway still don;t buy it and some may use the warez as a fair demo and buy it.

    9. Only for the low percentage of silly people who have to have the greatest hardware for no perceptable imropvement. Whatever people here may say the imac (bar the bottom model) has a gfx card that is very capable and good enough for 99% of peoples gaming needs.

    10. Surely only 99 things :)

    Though unfortunatly yes, the way things are going a lot of gaming is being lost to consoles. Though a lot is this is poor quality and not wanted. Hopefully someone can step in and make some good games to fill the gap!
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    Location:
    (Metamorphosing near) Staffs, 51st State.
    #9
    Inevitable, but there's no way it'll be a terminal decline as regards gaming on PCs.

    Consoles thrive largely because MS were prepared to take massive losses on both Xbox consoles; Sony ditto with PS3. But at the end of the day, these consoles have the limited appeal of being cutting edge only for a relatively short period in their expected 5 or 6 year life-cycle. But PC games development, now with DirectX 10, will supercede all these consoles well before their successors come onto the market.

    With PCs open architecture, this favourable situation is likely to always prevail. So, IMO, PC gaming will always remain relatively strong & the PC gaming market viable enough.

    Apple's major problem with gaming is having cheap & dated graphics cards in their consumer, non-upgradable Macs. I think that's the main reason why most people buy PCs!
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    #10
    Only things I wish Apple did were these two things:

    • Add OpenGL overrides for nVidia cards, ATI has a panel for this. As far as I know Apple takes care of the nVidia drivers to an extent, and they really should add this in. (VSync override is a selling point for me.) I have to admit though newer games are giving some of these options, FSAA, AF, VSync.. but not all.

    • Give more advanced options for mouse control. I HATE Apple's default mouse acceleration, it drives me NUTS. OS 9 was great because it didn't have any. Now... whenever I get a new Mac, I always install USB Overdrive just so I can turn off that damn acceleration. Makes FPS games impossible for me (as well as graphic work) if I can't. Would be nice to assign custom commands and such to each mouse button...

    As a side note... they also really need to add a "real" graphics card to the Macbooks (and Mini), only reason I'm not getting one is because of that. It is such a nice laptop but crippled by that intergrated bull.
     
  11. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    No they don't all computers of that price come with integrated graphics too, the PC game makers need to realise that their games must run on an Intel GMA 950. Earlier this year I priced up PC's on Dell's website, to get a PC (Laptop or Desktop) with a Geforce 7600/X1600 or better (these aren't great graphics cards) requires spending over £1000, to spend that much on a computer you have to really know what you are doing, it's not justifiable unless you're gaming heavily already. Now sure if you are so inclined you can build a great gaming PC for £500, but the OEM's don't sell them.

    What is terrible about PC gaming is that Oblivion on low settings on a GeForce 5700 looks as good as Morrowind did on a GeForce 2 MX.
     
  12. macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #12
    Wow, I haven't heard that argument in 10 years or more - though back then it probably was how Apple felt - and most of us thought they were nuts. After all, have you ever heard "don't buy a PC for business, it's only a gaming machine"?

    The gaming market is a tough one for Apple to break into, for one very good reason. All you need is one spreadsheet, one word processor, maybe a handful of development/design apps depending on your line of work, so it's easy for Apple to be competitive in these markets. However, gamers want a choice of perhaps dozens of new games a year, just one or two won't make a difference.

    There's also the issue that Apple only has one range with upgradable graphics cards, and they're the most expensive, pro range.

    But ultimately, I suspect the reason Apple doesn't take the market seriously (since the Sprockets technologies) is simply because Jobs doesn't game.*

    (* why does that sound ironic, & grammatically incorrect?:p )
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Sorry, but you're mistaken. Take a gander through any recent copy of any PC magazine which has reviewed gaming PCs. These computers are well under £1,000.

    Sure, their graphics won't be cutting edge video cards, but they also won't be the cheap & dated ones that Apple uses in its consumer range.
     
  14. macrumors 68020

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #14
    Apple may have work to do while addressing the hardware problem of Mac gaming... they have been making good strides in the software end. OpenGL in 10.5 is already a bit of a monster.

    WoW using 23-28% of a single CPU to run at 60fps in Ironforge, instead of about 75-110%? Yes, please.

    Framerates aren't higher, per se.... but they are a heck of a lot more stable, and games that used to be CPU-bound are now GPU-bound. These changes being made to OpenGL are freeing up quite a bit of CPU for better AI/etc.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    fblack

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #15
    Yea I read that, funny. Businessweek about a year ago said the same thing:

    http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2006/tc20060531_384873.htm

    I mean come on people want to play games especially those of us who grew up on them.

    Tarnish apple's image? Do they mean the image that macs are not gaming machines, in fact that they bite at gaming, that image? Really...:rolleyes:

    On many forums I've read there seems to be this conflict between people who want apple to be everything all at once and those who seem to be terrified that any expansion of apple will result in diluting of resources and consequently a catastrophe. Like you I'm not convinced this would be the case. I think some middle of the road path would be a good start. Crossfire and SLI support on the Macpros would probably help, really would this be such a dilution of resources? If it helps you sell more macpros?
     
  16. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    #16
    Exactly. I think anyone asserting "image tarnish" is also unwittingly implying that the Mac's image as a productivity tool is untenably delicate - which it isn't. Anyone that hasn't been living under a rock for the last few decades knows that computers are just as much for work as they are for recreation; I can't imagine that anyone today would react to news of Apple finally spearheading Mac gaming with "What, it plays games? What a toy!"

    As I see it, even if Apple were to totally ignore the deficiencies in their hardware lineup, they would still have nothing to lose by more actively promoting native OS X gaming, in marketing and software engineering. It would only help the cumulative strength of the platform.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    fblack

    Joined:
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    Location:
    USA
    #17
    I agree with some of the things that you are saying, but I dont buy consoles because I dont want to buy 3 different consoles to get games that were exclusive to each one plus have a computer, plus a sound system, plus a big screen, plus now an appletv to streams movies to my screen, etc.,etc. Wheew, that's alot of stuff. Man just the wires being all over the place are a pain. How about one machine that does it all? If I could do all these things and more on a computer, why would I ever want a console?
     
  18. macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #18
    Because discrete devices pretty much always are better than something that tries to do everything. Jack of all trades, master of none as they say.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    #19
    The Mac is a personal computer, and the personal computer is still the ultimate general-purpose device. To de-emphasize any part of this range of functionality is to limit the Mac's growth.
     
  20. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    #20
    But are any of them Dell or HP? Or smaller manufacturers?

    I am wrong though about the price though, Dells top "entertainment" PC can have a 7900GS or an 8800 which works out at £804 with a 7900GS

    The others are all limited to X1400's which are worse than the iMac's graphics card.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    fblack

    Joined:
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    Location:
    USA
    #21
    Sometimes. But the jack of all trades master of none does not always apply. I mean take a look at your dock on your mac, and all the things it can do. Following your logic you are saying that the mac and conversely all computers bite at all they do. Instead of using that ichat on your dock you should use a phone, instead of MS Word you should use a word processor machine or typewriter, instead of iphoto or aperture we should all just go back to using a darkroom and smelly chemicals, instead of itunes we should just buy a big old jukebox and buy music from Tower Records, instead of iMovie or Finalcut lets go back to physically editing (cutting and splicing) the Quadruplex 2" tape, yipee! Instead of garage band or protools...well you get the picture.

    Computers do many things that used to be done by other technologies/discrete devices. Some of those things I would submit to you computers have improved on, others still need work. So I don't think the Jack of all n Master of none necessarily always applies.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
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    (Metamorphosing near) Staffs, 51st State.
    #22
    The only list I have immediately at hand is from PC Pro, edition July 2006. There are no Dells or HPs here, but the PCs from Vantage, Mesh, Evesham, Carrera, etc. have respectively: Nvidia 7900 GT, 7600 GT, 7600 GT, 7900 GT. All priced below £1,000 &, bear in mind, reviewed 10 months ago.

    I don't necessarily expect Apple to offer similar graphics (for eg. the quite powerful GT 7900) on their iMacs, but I think their closed-off architecture renders the X1600 as poor value by today's standards.

    FWIW, I'll be buying a computer this summer (to complement my Mac laptop). I'm hoping that Apple will update the iMac's graphics by then, rather than delaying until October. But whatever happens re those updates, I certainly won't wait beyond June's WWDC to get a computer with better than X1600 graphics.
     
  23. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    #23
    Yes, but these are all pretty small manufacturers on a global scale, who have made a specific PC as a "gaming PC", review PC's for magazines are advertising and the prices are better than if you custom configure one on their website.

    FWIW Right now I can get to £770 with an 8600GT/2GB RAM/250GB HD/Vista Home Premium from Evesham, so it's a cheaper than the Dell, and isn't too bad.

    The computers from Dell or Evesham which cost about £770-£800 aren't bad and will run games pretty well, but the only thing I've upgraded in these configurations is the graphics card (and the RAM on the evesham), the Hard Drive, Processor are all standard.

    The other problem is if you look at the graphics card options for the evesham, how the hell am I supposed to know which one to get? (Other than the price). I don't have a clue how a 8600GT and an 8600GTS compare, how is your average customer going to know?

    FWIW I play PC games multiplayer networked regularly, it's great fun and I really enjoy it, but PC gaming is dying. A bog standard PC from Dell or PC World doesn't come with a good graphics card, and consoles are much cheaper than a gaming PC, especially as even pretty cheap computers are perfectly fast enough for everyday usage.
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    You've made some good, thought-provoking points in that all these impressive PC specs are quite relative to an overall bigger picture. But, as I said, I'm not expecting Apple to compete with all these PC companies with parity on all components. My issue is with the X1600 & that it can't even handle Mac-native games such as AOE3 on the highest settings.

    I agree. I assume that the average customer wouldn't have a clue. But with MS trumping up the importance of Vista's DirectX 10 to the future of PC gaming, I imagine that most serious PC gamers will have a fair idea about those video cards.

    BTW, I always advise people buying PCs to get the best graphics they can afford, but avoid the most expensive, cutting-edge video cards. They'll come down in price soon enough & they can always upgrade later.

    FWIW, I'd no more buy a PC from PCW than I would a Mac.

    I think it's in decline, but not terminally so. IMO, PC gaming appeals to a different part of the gaming market from consoles. I'd even say that PS3 & Xbox 360 appeal to a different part of the gaming market compared to Nintendo's Wii. I also think that the cake is big enough to go around, & it's likely to get even bigger in the years to come. IMO, Apple are certainly missing out here. - But perhaps they simply don't care.
     
  25. macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #25
    Exactly.

    If you want a graphics/design machine you'd probably opt for a Mac, but you could get by with a PC with little difficulty. However if you want a gaming machine, you'd go for a PC and a Mac wouldn't suffice.

    Most people would opt for the machine that can do everything even if it isn't optimal at every single task.
     

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