Is there a market for Mac games?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by MadDoc, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. MadDoc macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2005
    Hi all. First time game developer here (not first time programmer though).

    I've been toying with a game idea for several months and I'm at the point where I'm going to start writing code. Obviously I'm a Mac user and I'm going to write the game in Swift using Apple's SpriteKit framework. The game is a top-down management simulation genre (think theme park, prison architect, etc). I can't decide whether to target the Mac desktop or iOS as the primary target. I know there are more iOS devices in the world (and therefore a bigger market) but I'm not convinced a complex game like this would work well on the small iPhone screen and so I'd be primarily targeting the iPad.

    My question is this, I favour starting with a Mac desktop game. Do you think there is a viable market (i.e. enough money) to be made trying to sell a Mac only game (given that I should be able to port it to iPad at a later date if its well received)?

    Thanks for any insight you might have,
  2. szymczyk macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2006
    For the type of game you plan on making, I recommend using Unity instead of SpriteKit. With Unity you could release your game for Mac, Windows, and Linux with the same source code. Unity also supports iOS and Android so you could port to mobile later. Why make a Mac-only game when Unity makes it easy to add Windows and Linux support to a desktop game?

    One more piece of advice. Make a game because you want to make a game, not to make money. If you go into game development to make money, you will probably wind up disappointed. Making people aware of your game is a lot of work, almost as much work as making the game.
  3. zoomos macrumors newbie


    Jun 12, 2009
    szymczyk Speaks the truth, Unity is the key, some draw backs using unity (sluggish on some browsers) but you'll cover all the bases and maximize the possibility of profits.
  4. Garrod Suspended


    Nov 13, 2008
    Apple is dead when it comes to games. Even AAA ports for OS X don't compete to their Windows counterparts. I type this on my last ever Apple computer - once it's dead (ie. needs replacing) later this year I am going for the far more powerful Windows PC route.
  5. thisismyusername macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2015
    I think any developer that chooses to only target the Apple desktop market is crazy and must not like money. If I was making a desktop game, I'd use a cross-platform compatible framework so I could target as many platforms as possible but obviously Windows would be the primary target. Don't let your personal OS preferences influence what market you target. It's business.

    I've never developed a game but I have worked on lots of desktop apps and making them Windows/Mac/Linux compatible isn't much harder then targeting only a single OS if you use the right tools and plan accordingly.
  6. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    I think cross-platform support is hugely important these days. I'm not expecting a developer to put in a lot of work to make a game or any other app that only runs on a Mac, unless it's for personal reasons. (EG. You really need a utility on your Mac that doesn't exist yet, so you decide to write one. If it makes money is irrelevant, because you're coding it to solve a problem YOU have.)

    But at the same time? I think writing "only for Windows" is foolish too. These days, most families own more than one computer and often, it's a mixed environment where the desktop might be a Windows PC, but the notebooks the kids take to school are Macs. Or you've got mom or dad who prefers a Mac and owns one or two of them, but one of the teenagers has a Windows machine. What often happens is there's that expectation that a game someone gets for one computer can also be played on one of the others. If you were smart enough to code for both platforms, you can make 2 sales to one family instead of just one.

  7. Cineplex macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2016
    Cross platform is the way to go like others have said. The other thing to consider is the lack of real graphics cards in the Mac. If you are making something visual intensive, Mac is not the way to go.
  8. Krevnik macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2003
    I'll throw in another vote for Unity.

    Although, I'm not really sure the Unity Browser plugin is really what szymczyk was referring to. You can do it that way, but Unity is a good platform for games distributed through other channels as well (Steam, etc). See Kerbal Space Program as an example.

    I wouldn't recommend playing many AAA titles on OS X (because the "ports" are usually just WINE wrappers around the Windows app more and more frequently), but I'd actually argue that the games market on OS X hasn't been this strong in a long time. About the only desktop game I boot into Windows for right now is Overwatch, but that said, I jumped ship to console gaming long ago for the AAA titles. The indie and smaller titles being done by younger development studios are more frequently cross platform and run well enough on Apple hardware to be happy with the experience unless you are a framerate junkie (not that I have a problem with that). And there's more of those titles available for the Mac now than at any point since the OS X transition. About the only time the Mac had a strong indie development scene like this was the early 90s with companies like Ambrosia SW. If this is dead, call me a happy zombie.

    A developer like the OP isn't going to be kicking out a AAA title on their own (or even with a small team). For an indie title, Unity targeting multiple platforms is pretty ideal, and keep Mac users like me from having to reboot to play, making me more likely to plop down the cash for smaller titles like these.

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