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Apple has everything it needs to dominate gaming — except games



Apple is finally hitting its stride with gaming. The company today announced the new M3 family of chips during its “Scary Fast” event, and they pack a redesigned GPU that adds some much-needed features for gaming in 2023. There’s just one problem — you can’t play a ton of games on Mac.

There are some great games available on Mac — just check out our list of the best Mac games — but the big hurdle for Apple has always been broad game support. With the release of M3, along with some recent developments to porting games from Windows to Mac, Apple has a chance to make its gaming ambitions a reality. But all of that effort won’t matter until we see games releasing on the platform alongside PC and consoles.

Let’s talk about what makes the M3 special for gaming. It sports a new GPU architecture packing three key features: hardware-accelerated ray tracing, mesh shaders, and a new feature called Dynamic Caching.

Apple made a big deal about Dynamic Caching, but we’ll have to see exactly what it’s doing once we have M3 devices available. It’s clear the tech is doing something already, though. We got an early look at games like Myst and Lies of P running on an M3 MacBook Pro at what looked like above 60 frames per second (fps). If that holds up across games, Apple has some capable hardware on its hands.

The M3 is a payoff for a foundation that Apple has been laying for about a year now. With games like Resident Evil 4 coming to iPhone and an appearance from gaming legend Hideo Kojima at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) earlier this year, it’s no secret that Apple is making a push into gaming. But more than flashy releases, Apple has been building a foundation of tech that will enable games to run on Macs.

MetalFX and the Game Porting Toolkit are now meeting the M3, which packs ray tracing, mesh shaders, and Dynamic Caching. The hardware and ecosystem is all in place — we just need the games.

We need more games


The problem with Mac gaming now is simply game support. It was a problem in the past, for sure, but it was a problem in addition to a lack of dedicated hardware and software. We need to see more games with native Mac versions, and I’m sure we will. But that won’t happen right away.

If you look at any year in gaming, the vast majority of releases won’t see a native Mac port. There are exceptions like Civilization VI and Resident Evil Village, along with indie darlings like Hollow Knight and Hades. But if you look at the overall number of games released on PC, only a small fraction of them arrive on Mac in any official capacity.

This isn’t an easy problem for Apple to solve, and we’ve seen the company stumble around that issue over the past year. A good example of that is Death Stranding. Apple made a big deal when the game was brought to Mac earlier this year, and it’s great to see such a high-profile release get an official port. It came nearly four years after the game first released, though. Similarly, seeing games like Resident Evil Village and Resident Evil 4 work their way into the Apple ecosystem is fantastic, but it would’ve been much more exciting to play these games when they released for everyone else.

Apple is playing from behind, likely courting deals with developers to bring games to its platform. The big gaming push won’t pay off until we see new games release on Mac alongside PC, though. Currently, any AAA game that releases on Mac feels like a novelty. For Macs to become a true gaming destination, game releases need to feel like the norm.

A 24-inch iMac with Civilization VI running on it.

It seems some of that is already in motion. Titles like Lies of P and Baldur’s Gate 3 released on Mac this year around the same time as Windows, and those are two massive games. In order for Mac gaming to work, Apple needs to capitalize on releases like these by working with developers ahead of release to guarantee native Mac versions on release day.

Hopefully, that’s already happening. It’s no coincidence that the Resident Evil franchise has appeared so much in Apple’s gaming initiative, and there’s a good chance Apple is developing a relationship with developer Capcom to bring games over right away. Similarly, ports like Death Stranding may not seem like much, but they could lay the groundwork for future games.

If Apple sticks with it, Mac gaming could be a great experience in the future. We have the hardware to support it now, after all — we just need the games.



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