Mac Gamers: Are we a rare breed?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by CJM, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. CJM macrumors 65816


    May 7, 2005
    I've been wondering this for a while; are there other Mac users who use their computers, primarily, for gaming purposes?

    Really, the only thing that keeps me using my Mac is the solid OS, I adore Leopard and cringe every time I boot into XP. I don't need to start listing everything I like and dislike, because you've heard it all before.

    Sadly though, my mac can only get older and it has recently come to my attention that one can build a powerful gaming PC for the price of an iMac. Being a student, this info is like liquid gold to me.

    I've used Macs my entire life but they've always lacked a certain something when it came to graphical power. Is there such thing as a switcher... in the other direction?

    Musings of the morning.
  2. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    Sure, if all people are into are gaming. The Mac is not exactly the best choice.

    However the new 24" iMac with the Geforce 8800M GTS is quite good and so are the Mac Pro.

    I remember playing an RPG with animals on an old Mac, an Optima or something in the 90's. I think the lead were a fox walking on two legs.
  3. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Sure, people switch in the other direction. A whole lot more rarely, but I'm sure it happens, especially under pressure from a particular employer or school maybe.

    "Adders" are more common--in both directions. Use both platforms as you see fit.

    And I wouldn't say Macs lack graphical power across the board--but they lack models that combine high-end graphical power with LOW-end other specs. They lack a gamer-oriented config. You can get a Mac well-equipped for 3D games--but it will have 8 cores and a fancy easy-access case and other things a gamer need not bother with. A Mac Pro is priced just great compared to similar name-brand machines, but it's overkill for gamers in many ways. And until/unless Apple releases a headless mid-range minitower, it's the ONLY Mac that gives gamers a slotted GPU. Meanwhile, OS X gamers would do best with an iMac. They can't upgrade the GPU, but Macs hold their value better than PCs--so they can trade up the WHOLE machine for surprising little cost, if they don't mind the bother of selling the old one.

    What you can't do is make your OWN Mac. A home-made PC is no picnic--you get no support, and you have to spend the time it takes. At the same time, it sounds like a very fun project to me! Especially building a Linux box, which I very nearly did (except I couldn't think of a use for it).

    And home-made means cheap! That is indeed gold if you are on a budget. I wouldn't blame you at all for building a PC, if you couldn't afford a name-brand machine (Mac or otherwise) able to play certain games you want.

    As for your question: how many Mac users have games as their PRIMARY use?

    Very few.

    Very few PC users too--most probably use Web and email as their PRIMARY use. Games are most often a close second I suspect.

    But some do have Windows machines they use only for gaming. (If they've built their own, for instance). And quite a few Mac users probably have a PC (or a Boot Camp partition) that they use only for gaming, while the Mac handles everything else.

    And you could certainly say Mac users in general are a rare breed--but that is changing.

    WITHIN Mac users, I don't think Mac gamers are rare at all. It seems that quite a few Mac users game very seriously on OS X. I do--it's the main motivator when I upgrade to a new Mac every few years. I have no doubt that many Mac users count games as their main activity--after Internet usage, that is. Certainly enough to keep the Mac game market afloat so far.

    So I say, build a gaming PC if you want one, and don't mind dealing with Windows for the sake of obtaining some games you want. And keep your Mac too, and enjoy the best of both worlds.

    For my part, gaming is about fun, and dealing with Windows is not fun. I use Windows for work when I have to, which is thankfully very rare. Here's why I choose to game in OS X and avoid Windows gaming:

    Now, I've been lucky, and the games I want HAVE come to Mac. If I really wanted some Windows-only game badly, I'd have to re-think my options and decide whether Windows is worth it or not.
  4. tominated macrumors 68000


    Jul 7, 2006
    Queensland, Australia
    I remember when mac was in it's hey-day with all the computer gaming on mac. I was only 4 or 5 then. I love using mac, but i don't mind using windows if i have to. Even though i love mac, i much prefer playing games on a pc even if i can play them on a mac, just because it seems a bit more 'natural' if you know what i mean. no, mac gamers are not that rare though
  5. rented mule macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2006
    The Mac gaming heyday was circa 1988-1993. At that time, pretty much all the good games were being at the very least ported to Mac. And the ports were very high quality ports. We're talking better graphics and sound in many cases (LucasArts adventure games, Prince of Persia 1 and 2, Civilization, Pirates, X-Wing, etc.) There were also many Mac exclusives or Mac original games during that time. Including Myst.

    Then it went downhill fast.

  6. luffytubby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 22, 2008
    I am a big gamer.

    Have always been a PC gamer, but the idea of upgrading is not as glamerous as many PC people will make it out to be. Because chances are that when you have to upgrade something, you have to upgrade 3-4 other things to... In the end I don't really think your saving money on upgrading... its so easy to bottleneck one part of the machine or the other.

    I dont like building computers from within.. it does not interest me. I like building the desktop, and customizing the OS...

    I would rather have a computer that would give me a long lifespan, than try to upgrade components constantly. Having your computer get old and slow, and eventually die, is also part of making you appreciate when you get a new one.

    I have tried to be on the top on having the latest technology all the time, and I found out that it didnt brought me happiness, at all. Too much of a good thing.

    I dont know how my experience with Mac will be(just ordered one), but it wont make me change my mind... I think PC is a mess and its much more complicated than it should be.

    As for PC gaming, its also changing. consoles are taking a bigger and bigger chunk. the latest craze is RTS and MMOs that actually work and play very well on consoles.

    so the landscape is going in a new direction, and PC game developers are now trying free games like Battlefield Heroes and Mythos... Free games that I hope will get Mac clients. these games are free and run on in game shops, advertisments and the likes.

    if mac has 10% of the marked now, then a considerable amount of mac users might be interested if its free.

    Thats what I would like to see.

    But also just more companies like Blizzard that create their games universal, so they both work on Mac and PC at the same time. Starcraft 2 seems to do it aswell. That deserves major recognition.
  7. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Since the iPhone will be getting alot of games, with some modification these games can be run on OS X (as the iPhone also runs OS X). And for the first time in years, game developers are actually going out and buying Macs to develop on (since the SDK is Mac only).

    COD4 is coming out on Mac, Starcraft 2 is coming out on Mac. I think we will see some more Mac games if Apple plays it right.
  8. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    I have only had Macs since my Cube in 2001, always found something in the small collection of Mac games that I enjoyed. Diablo 2, Warcraft 3, No one lives forever, Oni, Age of Mythology, Call of Duty 2, Dungeon Siege, Homeworld 2, Alice, Fallout 1+2, to name a few.

    For me the lack of games on a Mac has always been a benefit: Less seduction to try something or buy something. :D

    Nowadays I have a small windows partition for games, but I try to use it as few as possible. :)
  9. dextertangocci macrumors 68000

    Apr 2, 2006
    I guarantee you, more games will be developed for the Mac, as the market share is increasing at a rapid rate. The prices of Mac games will also come down.

    I could never use Windows. My main problem with it is that it is SO slow! Even running on all the latest hardware etc, you just can't get anything done! And iTunes on Windows sucks to say the least.
  10. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    I used my iMac primarily for gaming when I first got it in late 2006, but I have since switched to PS3 and am not turning back. Seriously, anyone who is deprived of Call of Duty 4 needs to switch to anything that can play it immediately :D
  11. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Anything with a mouse, that is :)

    I like aiming MYSELF--no auto-aim "training wheels." Consoles are unacceptable for FPS games for me, because most console games don't support a mouse. A joystick is not as direct or precise as a mouse and never will be. Practice and you CAN have fun with a stick I'm sure, but there's a reason console shooters always have some degree of built-in auto-aim: because they need to compensate for the inadequacy of gamepad aiming. I like to aim myself--all my own precise skill--not have the computer doing some of the aiming for me, just to make up for poor controls.

    That said, I might well get a Wii or PS3 for OTHER kinds of games.
  12. recoman3 macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2007
    I use my mac primarily for gaming. 2ndry purpose is to watch movies etc. Next I do work on it (monthly financial/economic updates etc for work). Lastly, I use it for graphic design (mainly animations, 2D and 3D).

    Sometimes I do all at once, thanks to spaces ;)
  13. Trip.Tucker Guest

    Mar 13, 2008
    LOL! You have very obviously not been involved in the competition gaming or professional clanning scene. You would have to revise your assumtions of the percentages if you knew what goes on. But thats fine, at least you haven't wasted as many years as I have on frivolous fun :cool:
  14. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    True--but I think pro gamers and hardcore clan players are still but a fraction of the massive PC-owning user base. So even though the pro scene exists, for MOST people games come after Web/email/chat/Internet.
  15. Dagless Suspended


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I don't play games on the OSX side of my iMac or Powerbook. I've got Cave Story but I never played through it on either side. It just sits there "just in case".

    XP for games, OSX for work and media. That pretty much sums up my iMac. I like the better performance of XP with games and the lower price tag of the games. Short of hating Microsoft I don't see why anyone would pay out more for a game that was released later and performs worse than the PC alternative.
  16. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Generally you are right.

    But just as an example I'm working from home and sometimes have to wait 30 min for feedback on a project I mailed a client, or something like that. And sometimes I like to kill some scum in these 30 min. That's why I don't mind paying a little extra for lets say CoD4 (which I want to get for OS X), I can play a little and if being called I can just quit and have the document opened from the background in a matter of seconds.
  17. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Because rebooting constantly is unacceptable--for some of us--and not just in principle, with good reasons. Such as loss of all your open apps and documents, interrupting your workflow TOTALLY to game. And loss of background apps--like my DVR--that you may wish to keep running 24/7 on the Mac side. And loss of ability to effortlessly, casually, click an icon and play a short game--like one 20-minute round of Quake Wars--then get back to work. And loss of my chosen email, browser, IM and download software--including contact lists and bookmarks--when it comes time to research strategies, troubleshoot, or coordinate a multiplayer match. And then there's the need to spend time/energy patching and maintaining Windows--including all of the anti-malware apps that keep popping up messages and bogging your system down. A whole world of know-how I'd rather not have to have. (Unfortunately, I do anyway for work :eek: )

    Also, many Macs can play many games VERY well--and if some benchmark shows me that Windows gets even more fps (that I can't even detect) on a paper report... that doesn't necessarily influence the FUN of the game for me much. (Depends on the specifics of the game of course.)

    I accept that I have to pay more--it's a market reality. I would NOT accept having to reboot. (In fact, if I did have to, I'd spend a lot LESS time gaming. I'd pay less... to play less!)

    Boot Camp is great if you don't mind, though. Especially if you never game in short sessions, or never have complex projects open on the Mac side that you'll need to get back to.
  18. Dagless Suspended


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    Meh, on my machine it takes about 15 seconds to shut down OSX and about 30 seconds to boot right up into XP. I can grab a drink or just stretch my legs or even sneeze, come back and I'm back in business.
    Granted I'm okay on the DVR front since I use my PowerBook with EyeTV. But playing a game and recording a TV show at the same time? Eek, byebye resources :eek:

    I'm running XP with just AVG and I've had no malware. As I said I only use XP for games and I've had no viruses, adware or even problems in 2 years. I've formatted my OSX partition more times than XP (that said I can count the number of formats I've done in 2 years on one hand)! I even shut down AVG when I'm playing games.

    I also don't find it hard loading up the Recent Items>Documents list :p never had a problem loading up Final Cut, Logic, Pages etc documents.
  19. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    common sense.

    If world market share of Oct 2007 is right then 3.2% of PC market are mac owners

    If as reports suggest - majority of mac ownership is actually in the 'work environ'

    Then you can roughly guesstimate that being generous 10% of those then mac owners are gamers, then yes pretty much you can say that YES mac gamers are indeed a rare breed.
  20. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    It sucks less than other Windows-based music player software, though. In fact, iTunes for Windows was the original "halo effect" app for me-- I had it nearly a year before getting my iPod. Why? The other three or four major players in the market at that time were worse.

    • WinAmp supported lots of formats and had the first really cool visualizations (Geiss!), but I found the small, pixelated fonts quite annoying. (Disclaimer: I never saw WinAmp beyond version 2.xx; perhaps later versions were better.)
    • MusicMatch wasn't terrible in basic functionality, but was severely crippled unless you bought the full version.
    • Windows Media Player couldn't rip to MP3 at first, only to WMA -- and it was probably the last to allow ripping.
    • RealPlayer's RealJukebox could rip to MP3 and to WAV, but it changed codecs every two weeks, and wouldn't shut the @!#$ up!
    iTunes was the first music collection and playback app for the Windows platform that, in my humble opinion, "did it right". It even recognized my iPod nano with no problems, and synced flawlessly the first time (and still does). My wife's stuck with WMP for her Sansa-- and it never works exactly right for her.
  21. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Actually, I've never had a problem--never noticed a game (which tend to be GPU bound more than CPU bound) bog down noticeably while recording in EyeTV.

    However, the point for me is, even if games DID slow down when the recording kicks in (and I'm sure some would) I'd rather have my game slow down (and maybe make me choose to quit) than miss the recording entirely! (Or worse, have to double-check my recording schedule every time before playing a game.)

    I can appreciate how "quick and easy" it is to shut down my Mac apps (half a dozen or more, easily, for a project in progress), shut down OS X, let Windows boot up, enter my Windows password, cancel one-to-four virus definition updates, adware scans, and Windows software updates or let them finish, THEN hop in for my 20 minutes of Quake Wars, THEN reboot again, enter my Mac password, remember which apps I need right now and which I don't, launch them, go through Recent Documents one at a time, move my various windows into the working arrangement I had before (if I can remember), scroll the documents and timelines to where I was before, select the objects and items that were highlighted for editing, and get back to work.

    But it's STILL not as quick and easy as I would personally like :) I'd still game less often if I had to jump through those hoops, and I'd still be without the non-game Mac apps I use around gaming: my browser, bookmarks, IM apps with their saved sessions, OS X Mail, etc. etc..
  22. gregorsamsa macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2006
    (Metamorphosing near) Staffs, 51st State.
    Not primarily for gaming, but I'll sure be gaming a lot on my new 20" HD 2600 PRO iMac, & Mac-natively where possible (now playing AOE III & just ordered The War Chiefs for OS X). My iMac will easily run over 90% of games out there, mostly at the highest settings. What it can't run at the highest settings, for eg. "Crysis", well neither can most PCs - hence the developers of "Crysis", after disappointing sales of only 1 million worldwide (good console games reach over 10 million sales!), have now announced they'll be concentrating more so on making games for consoles.

    With my new Mac I not only have a more than good enough gaming machine, I also have a PC via Boot Camp for those PC exclusives like Total War games, Cossacks, etc. Though I'm much more than a casual gamer, I'm not hardcore, so an iMac is the perfect solution for all my current gaming needs. If you're a hardcore gamer, then a gaming PC would seem the right choice for you. Otherwise, finances allowing, a 24" iMac with the 8800 video card would be my choice.
  23. Dagless Suspended


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    That's quite messy. For me it's just Restart into XP. Loads. No virus scans pop up (You can disable that in AVG), Steam loads up automatically and right into the games page, TF2. Whilst it's loading the start up I'll right click AVG and shut it down. Right into the game.

    That said my iMac is my own so I don't have multiple accounts so no login passwords for OSX or XP.

    Also how do you play games when EyeTV has finished recording something and "compacts" it? Even on my newest iMac the whole system grinds to a halt. Even Finder crawls.
  24. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    I used to have a dedicated gaming PC next to my G5, simply because most of my favourites were not available on the Mac (Half Life 2, many racing games).
    But the games that were available on Mac OS X, I always bought the Mac version (Doom 3, MOH series, COD etc.)

    But now, I have a Mac Pro '08 with 8800 GT.... put the Soundblaster X-fi PCIe card in it...
    Now, why did I put that audio card in it...? Yep, Windows gaming on the Mac Pro.
    My old gaming PC died on me, and I have replaced my G5 with this Mac Pro >> got a Mac and PC in one.
    So now, I do play the UB games on Mac OS X if I can, but I do prefer the Windows-side of gaming: DirectX 9 / 10, and nice 5.1 surround support.

    So, basically because of the support of Windows on my Mac, I have become more of a "PC" gamer than I was before, because I now only have to use one machine.
    Strange times... ;)
  25. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Strange times indeed!

    I haven’t noticed a problem, and I have gamed right through a recording (Quake Wars, UT2004) occasionally. But I don’t have my EyeTV set to make an iPhone/sharing version of the clip when done, so maybe that’s the step that you’re talking about. If that bogged me down I’d quit the game--or else do that conversion manually after playing. Or maybe there’s some other difference between your setup and mine. (I have a white Core 2 Duo iMac, nVidia 7600, 2GB RAM, USB EyeTV Hybrid recording HDTV. Come to think of it, I think recording HDTV is a lot less work for the computer than recording analog and digitizing it.)

    Anyway, just to be clear: I don’t think anyone’s wrong or crazy for choosing NOT to game in OS X. Boot Camp/Windows has its own very clear advantages, and for some people in fact that’s the only sensible option. I’m sure a lot of people are in the middle, too: they prefer to buy Mac games, but will buy a Window game sometimes when no Mac version is expected. (I’d even consider that myself, if the sci-fi games I want didn’t keep coming to OS X natively :) )

    But I’m responding above to anyone who wonders why someone would choose TO game in OS X. The advantages of staying in Mac OS X for everything are real--just as real as the reasons to game in Windows.

    By the way, many of us have been through this before in a sense--having to decide whether certain non-Classic-compatible games (and non-games even) were worth shutting down OS X and booting up OS 9. I know from experience that if it takes a reboot and an interruption in my workflow, then the motivation to game is diminished enough that very often I just wouldn’t play.

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