Aspyr MIA?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by MagnusVonMagnum, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

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    #1
    Has anyone else noticed that Aspyr hasn't released anything new for the Mac (or Linux) since Layers of Fear in February other than some patches like pointless achievements in Fahrenheit (the game is almost linear so what's the point as it has ZERO replay value). I've been waiting to see some METAL support for over a year now and the only thing I've seen is a WoW game I don't care about. Seeing Borderlands 2 or Pre-Sequel run faster or a Mac port of the original would be 100x cooler than "Achievements" in Fahrenheit. I guess the Mac has run its gaming course (as if it even had one). I guess hoping anyone will port Dragon Age Inquisition is a waste of time. Time to go to the world of Playstation I guess.

    Hmmm, this article proved to be a total dud (I guess Metal = no more releases before I die of old age): https://www.aspyr.com/news/show?article=WWDC+2015:+Why+Metal+for+Mac+OS+X+is+a+Big+Deal+for+Mac+Gaming
     
  2. asoksevil macrumors 6502

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    #2
    With engines being more cross platform like Source and UE3, I would expect devs to release them on Windows, OS X and Linux...
     
  3. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

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    #3
    Apple is making it more difficult to support gaming engines on the Mac what with introducing a Mac only standard (instead of cross-platform standard like OpenGL) and that doesn't work so well when Apple's market share is so low. It may hurt Linux even more as they were basically getting ports for free as the Mac ports were probably pretty straight forward to Linux when OpenGL was used. Worse than that, past threads on the subject indicate that the Mac is now getting passed up because most models don't have the GPU power to handle many newer games even at low resolutions and Apple has shown virtually no interest in offering GPUs for gaming purposes in any models, even as options. A small percentage of a small percentage is a tiny percentage indeed and that is why the Mac is getting passed by again.
     
  4. kingtj macrumors 68020

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    #4
    I think we really have to wait and see what Apple's next move is, graphics-chipset wise, before saying much more on this topic?

    I mean, both nVidia and ATI have essentially skipped an entire generation of technology to bring us their latest offerings that are just now starting to become readily available on retail store shelves.

    There's no reason Apple won't be utilizing these new GPUs in future Macs -- which should in turn, make them far more viable for running modern game titles.

    If you're only interested in buying the lower-spec, lower priced Macs like the Macbook Air or Mac Mini, then yeah -- all you get are weak Intel integrated graphics, just like cheap Windows laptops come with. That's always going to be a non-starter for 3D gaming. But many people just don't care, so they may as well save money (and maybe some battery life) and not run a dedicated GPU.


     
  5. Hastings101 macrumors 68020

    Hastings101

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    #5
    I don't disagree with you about waiting to see if Apple brings more up to date technology to the Mac, but let's be realistic about something: $2500 to get mediocre 3D performance on a laptop or $1800 on a desktop at super high resolutions doesn't point to the OS X gamer population growing any time soon. Before the Retina Explosion that kind of performance was a good $500-1000 cheaper.

    Maybe Apple will bring affordable discrete graphics back into the mix and get things back on track to where they were headed a few years ago, but I bet a lot of people (including myself) have sort of ditched using a Mac for gaming. When Blizzard said it wasn't going to release Overwatch for the Mac it was a huge clue that there isn't much of a future at the moment, though that could change. Choosing to go their own way with Metal isn't helping much either.
     
  6. JordanNZ macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    The major engines are getting/have metal support (UE4/Unity). There will be some lag with games using them simply because they have to be built with the recent versions.

    UE4 had a bunch of important Metal updates recently. (Shader model 5 etc).
     
  7. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    #7

    You could have said that "Microsoft is making it more difficult to support gaming engines on Windows what with introducing a Windows only standard" back when MS first shipped DirectX. Being an open standard is no guarantee of success of a superior product. There is room for DirectX and Metal and Vulkan.
     
  8. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

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    #8
    Microsoft can afford to do its own thing given it controls the vast majority of the desktop market (Windows 10 PCs alone surpassed ALL the Macs ever sold in its first year alone as I recall). Yes, not all Windows users are gamers, but I think even fewer Mac users "game". Just look at all the "Macs aren't for gaming" replies you get in any given thread when you bring up the lousy GPU offerings in a new batch of Macs. If people believe Macs aren't for gaming, it won't get any better. If Apple won't offer GPUs capable of decent gaming, it won't get any better. I've personally never understood Apple's resistance to gaming on the Mac. It wouldn't have been hard for them to offer a desktop GPU in a slightly larger Mac Mini, for example. If they think most Mac people aren't gamers then the idea that such sales would cannibalize other machine sales is ludicrous (i.e. offering a gaming model means people who want to game will buy THAT model regardless of whether it's an iMac or a Mac Mini or even a Mac Pro (they could have used the same case with a different motherboard and video card to make a modern PowerMac replacement).

    Apple has had tons of possible options to improve the Mac gaming market and they choose to purposely limit it instead. Choosing to do "Metal" over supporting Vulkan is just one more problem. Many Linux users wish they could get more gaming support, but it seems Valve has done more for both the Mac and Linux than almost everyone else combined in that area. If you build it, they will come. There is simply no reason a gaming Mac couldn't increase Mac sales, even if it needs a Windows boot camp install at first. Some of us would prefer to stay with the Mac for security reasons (e.g. just compare ransomware cases on Windows versus the Mac for one example. Tons of PCs ransomed. ZERO Macs) but would prefer to not have to buy a separate PC just for gaming (and no not all of us prefer PS4/XBox solutions to a PC with a keyboard/mouse, etc.)

    Once upon a time, the argument that Apple is just too small with too few resources would have worked with Apple and the Mac. But times have changed and Apple is richer than Microsoft. The idea that they can't make more effort to improving gaming options (both hardware and software drivers) is ludicrous at this stage. A better question is why don't they WANT to increase Mac utility and sales? Some of their commercials suggest they want to ditch the Mac period in favor of the iPad Pro. Sorry, but no flipping iPad is ever going to replace the utility of a desktop computer for people like me. I prefer the keyboard mouse and more powerful operating system not to mention the ergonomics of it (I have enough neck and finger/wrist pains as it is without having to look down at some small screen and touch interface).
     
  9. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #9
    Feral have released a healthy number of titles since February so perhaps Aspyr have other issues.
     
  10. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

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    #10
    Are you aware that Feral has done one?
     
  11. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    #11
    I can only hope that Aspyr has cracked the code for whatever they need to make Metal scream on their ports, and is too busy to come up for air, much less inform us nerds of what they're doing.

    That's my fantasy. :)
     
  12. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

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    #12
    No, I wasn't. I guess it's because I'm on Steam and it's not there for Mac. Is there any kind of multiplayer environment to play against PC (i.e. non-mac) players with it? If so, does anyone use it? Most App Store games have no one playing by comparison to Steam, for example.
     
  13. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    #13
    The Mac version of BL uses different network code than the Windows version, so those players can't play together.
     
  14. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

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    #14
    That's a good reason for me to continue to play the Windows version in VMWare instead, then. What's Borderlands without a usable (as in players are actually there) multiplayer mode? That's where Steamplay has been of great benefit. I play Borderlands2 and Pre-Sequel and PC players have no idea I'm using a Mac. One I played with a lot was rather surprised as he commented on how smooth the game played when I hosted like he was in single player (and he was on the other side of the country), although I think that had more to do with a 5Mbps upload speed (50 down) than the Mac itself.
     
  15. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #15
    Borderlands not being a SteamPlay title would be more the fault of 2K Games choosing not to publish in that format.

    This thread has moved well off topic from Aspyr being MIA.
     
  16. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    #16
    You got me thinking about this. Was SteamPlay even available then??
     
  17. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #17
    I don't think so.

    Borderlands came out on Mac a little after Steam for Mac in 2010, but I think it wasnt until 2011 that SteamPlay was introduced.
     
  18. kingtj macrumors 68020

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    #18
    I know Aspyr laid off most of their developers back in 2008. I was under the impression they're basically just a shell of the company they once were, and they're certainly not counting on porting games for the Mac as their ticket to staying afloat these days.

    I think Feral has largely taken their place offering native Mac ports of some of the most popular game titles.

    But the common argument that "Macs that can run modern games reasonably well cost too much" doesn't seem to be a real strong one when I look at the cost of the current crop of "gaming laptops" out there. I just got an email from Costco yesterday trying to sell a 15" and 17" version of Acer's Predator gaming laptops and the cost on those was $2599 and $2799 respectively (after $200 discounts). I know even the ASUS ROG gaming desktops and laptops sell for a minimum of around $1499, and those have last year's GPU technology in them at best.

    I really think the point here is, all Apple has to do is give us refreshes of the iMacs, the Macbook Pro and the Mac Pro workstation at the high-end. If they use the latest GPU technology and keep pricing around where it's been -- they're competitive again for those who want to game on them.

    IMO, the single biggest reason we're seeing native OS X game titles dying off is the ability to use Boot Camp to run Windows on a Mac. That was always the fear when the Macs switched to Intel processors, really. Developers know if they release a really desirable game for Windows and you have a decent spec'd Mac, you'll probably just break down and boot into Windows in order to play it if you have no other choice. So they make the sale without all that extra work porting and maintaining two code platforms for it.
     
  19. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

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    #19
    We're talking about Apple here.
     
  20. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #20
    Apple always use modern GPUs; they're just modern low-to-mid-range GPUs which suit their form factor aka prioritising form over functionality.

    I don't think the weak GPU argument is really accurate either. If you look at the Steam Hardware Survey, modest hardware has been dominating for a long time.

    Also, Aspyr have still released a lot of titles since 2008.
     
  21. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

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    #21
    I think with the advent of Steam, there are more Mac games available than ever and that came long after the switch to Intel. I bought a lot more Aspyr games for my 2012 Mac Mini than ever before that since I used a PowerMac for my desktop/server until then and had a separate Windows machine for gaming and mostly used my 2008 Macbook Pro for music production and video editing. I can't run Boot Camp on my 2012 Mac Mini without getting new drives since I have a 2TB internal RAID 0 setup and that doesn't support Boot Camp. I can run older Windows games with VMWare and that's it. To make Boot Camp work, I'd have to get a SSD for the one drive bay for speed (in the 500GB range maybe) and a 2TB rotational drive for the other bay without losing space. This seems like a lot of bother and cost for a 2012 computer that's already outdated in the GPU regardless, but then Apple replaced that Mac Mini with an underpowered dual-core no i7 available model that you couldn't even put an internal RAID setup in anymore (way to make me keep my existing computer Apple!) If Apple would stop worrying about NOT selling stupid iMacs (where your monitor doesn't need replaced long before the computer itself does in most cases and so it's a waste) and just offer a properly powered quad-core Mac Mini with a decent mid-range GPU, the thing would sell like hot cakes, IMO. I don't need or care about 4K gaming. I'd just like decent 1080p type gaming but I'd like it without having to buy a monitor attached or a slower CPU (I do use this machine to transfer Blu-Rays to MP4s, etc. and slower is not better for that).

    The bottom line is even if I had a killer machine that could run Windows with Boot Camp, I'd still prefer to run it in Mac mode so I don't have to kill background processes (e.g. iTunes server or whatever) and reboot. As long as I have a reasonably smooth frame rate, I don't need it to be 400fps. But Apple could always improve their drivers or let NVidia handle them. Metal was supposed to be a step in that direction, but hardly anything supports it over a year later. We're getting a new OS version before hardly anyone uses what came in last year's version. I'm kind of tired of these CONSTANT OS upgrades. They should go back to putting new things in minor upgrade versions, IMO and leave the damn thing STABLE. Developers stop supporting older versions when Apple keeps dropping support in XCode.

    Are they going to relabel "XCode" into "macCode" or something equally STUPID? I think Apple spends more time working on minor visual things than they do on what really matters and it's getting old. I already went with someone else for a smart phone (Microsoft of all people). Now ditching the headphone jack...it's asinine. $700+ for a phone without a headphone jack when Bluetooth audio SUCKS. Great move Apple. GREAT move. :rolleyes:
     
  22. MichalM.Mac macrumors regular

    MichalM.Mac

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    #22
    Let's stay focused on topic: Aspyr.

    2016 is really weird year for them.
    They published Layers of Fear. I think they did mostly publishing work on this one since it is Unity game.
    And there is this recent Jade Empire fiasco -> http://www.insidemacgames.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=47542&st=100

    Take a look at the data I collected for previous years https://www.icloud.com/numbers/000FwW4-q73bJa4ss3P18OzFw#Mac_Gaming_Data

    I want to believe they are working on several projects at once. Taking into account porting could take about a year we might just be seeing a gap in releases.

    Howeever when I look at their top releases. Last big game from Aspyr was Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel at the end of 2014. Since then there are only rereleases, remasters, DLCs and patch duty.

    What do you think about possible focus shift on iOS ports (KotOR 2, Fahreheit and unreleased Jade Empire)?
     
  23. Janichsan macrumors 65816

    Janichsan

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    #23
    That's a claim that gets made since the advent of Boot Camp – 10 years ago! – but it doesn't hold water: there have been more native Mac game releases (by porting companies and first-party) per year after 2006 than before.

    The current dearth of triple-A Mac games is simply due to OS X's lacking graphics APIs. The developers simply have reached the limits of what they can do with the outdated OpenGL 4.1 and Apple's proprietary OpenGL ES replacement Metal. Overwatch, Elite Dangerous: Horizons and F1 2015 were only the first games not coming to the Mac because of this, and they won't be the last ones.
     
  24. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    #24
    I think it's a bit of both, actually.

    The existence of Boot Camp is a crutch for developers who think there won't be a sufficient fiscal reward for them to port AAA games to macOS. Apple's late updates to OpenGL is no longer a problem, from a technical standpoint, but people still remember it - both developers and gamers. Metal can help. Apple seems to think it can, and in the last 12 months they seem to be moving in a direction to reinforce those promises.

    Blizzard seems keen on Metal - at least to dip their toe into for WoW Legions. 60% performance gains may just give them pause to reconsider not offering Overwatch on macOS.

    Epic seems keen on Metal for UT, although I've not seen framerate numbers yet.
     
  25. Janichsan, Sep 10, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016

    Janichsan macrumors 65816

    Janichsan

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    #25
    Performance is one thing, available features something different. Despite WoW's engine's updates, its cartoonish graphics are nowhere of having the same demands as a really modern game.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 10, 2016 ---
    The last major "new" title was Civ: Beyond Earth, but that's admittedly only a month after Borderlands TPS.

    Anyway, don't dismiss the re-releases and remasters: Fahrenheit not only was a completely new port (it never was previously available for Mac and Linux), the whole "remastering" (redrawing the textures to higher resolution, adaption to modern operating systems) was also all done by Aspyr. Homeworld Remastered and KotOR 2 were also a completely new ports.

    So, while basically older games, neither were less work to port and/or release.

    I don't think so: the Jade Empire re-release was also (more or less) announced for Mac, and they are (most likely) also porting Civ VI.
     

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