Mac (still) not for playing games!

Apple Arcade: Mac (still) not for playing games!

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Since ancient times, our people have a saying: "Mac is not for playing games"

If you build a computer configuration to battle the game, you have to run Windows, most notably Linux. And Mac … Mac can be smooth, Mac can make movies, Mac can design graphics, Mac can be superior to the screen base 1000 USD … but absolutely not Mac to play games.

This has long been a "law" in the gaming world in general. But it seems that Apple has been building a plan to "save" the game experience on the Mac. Evidence is only a few days after Google announced Google Stadia, Apple announced Apple Arcade.

Let analyze for you issues around the service Apple Arcade This is to see, although it can expand gaming capabilities on the Mac really, but not in the way we often think.


Everything must have its cause. Before going deeper, let's take a look at why Mac has become a "joke" in the game world.

First of all, Macs are all Macintosh or Macintosh based devices and are manufactured by Apple. Currently, some famous Mac product lines include: iMac, iMac Pro, Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In general, these products are also normal PCs or laptops. They also have motherboards, CPU, GPU, RAM, HDD, SSD … The most significant difference is probably the macOS operating system, and the Apple logo.

The same is true, but unlike PC, Mac "struggles" when running games because of both hardware and software reasons.

About hardware, Mac … expensive and picky.

Normally, a PC or laptop will have a price range that ranges from low, mid-range to expensive to hit many market segments for gamers in particular and general users to choose. The Mac price range is more stable, ranging from expensive to "selling kidneys." So it is normal to buy a Mac, you can build 2.3 similar PC configurations.

Next, unlike Windows or Ubuntu (a popular version of Linux) which is the operating system designed to run on a variety of user-selected hardware devices, macOS is designed to run on devices. The hardware that Apple chose. In other words, compared to a PC or laptop, you have very few configuration options to buy.

Moreover, Apple designed many Mac devices to "resist" users to upgrade. For example, ifixit's well-known personal electronics repair guide for iMac Pro repair points (2018) is 3/10, while the 15 inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2019) is 1/10. Of course, there have been a number of Mac devices designed to be easy to operate with internal hardware, but in general the Mac's hardware repair and upgrade capabilities are extremely low compared to Windows laptops. say PC.

Surely Apple does so for commercial purposes, wanting users to buy highly configurable products so they can benefit more. But anyway, limiting the amount of hardware, avoiding users who "have a computer" also has the advantage that the operating system is highly compatible, because only a certain amount of Apple-controlled hardware can work. However, this goes against 180 degrees with the trend of gamers to change machine configuration, customize, upgrade, clean regularly and easily.

And yet, Apple's design motto to the present can be said to be looking "cool", beautiful, thin, light, smooth and smooth. Fashion design is nothing wrong, but doing so will make the device hot. It is not natural for PC gamers to devise three games of arcade machines, water radiators, buy more fans … The goal is to reduce the heat, increase the power, stability and durability of the system. Macs are not so amazing that they bend the physical techniques. Small, compact, quiet design, it will automatically heat up the machine.

In a nutshell, Mac's pricing, construction and hardware design may be suitable for a variety of tasks or tasks, but there is nothing particularly beneficial for gaming. And this is just the hardware!

apple arcade
Mac Pro 2019 and Apple Pro Display XDR
(Source: insights.dice)

In terms of software, developers do not even bother to program the game to run on macOS, let alone support it to play games.

Some of the well known application programming interfaces (APIs) for game developers whose abilities you have heard of are DirectX, OpenGL or Vulkan. You can understand these APIs like the way programmers connect to games using hardware. They are needed to run the game.

First of all, for DirectX, almost all games on the market are designed and supported with DirectX, since this is a Windows-specific API long ago. The problem is that DirectX is a Windows exclusive, so it definitely doesn't run on macOS.

Next, about OpenGL, this is a fairly well known and long-established API. Since Ubuntu does not support DirectX, many Linux game makers will use OpenGL. Therefore, this API is quite potential for programming games on macOS in the same … well only, OpenGL has been declared dead after macOS Mojave.

Finally to Vulkan. This is a pretty "young" API, just released from 2016 by Khronos Group, but it has caused a lot of buzz. Compared to other APIs, Vulkan is designed to increase performance and balance between CPU / GPU usage. However, because this API is still too new, there are not many titles to use it, and Apple is not interested in helping develop this API so Khronos Group has to do most of the development of this API for macOS.

macOS also has an API for programming, specific graphical calculations with the name Metal. However, developers do not have much spare time to build, optimize games for a platform no one uses to play games, and Apple does not like to use common goods but just like "chicken" Metal. And the result is you can see for yourself. For example, Rise of the Tomb Raider As one of the few games that directly supports Apple's Metal, and compared it to DirectX, Microsoft sometimes ran twice as fast.

apple arcade

In short, Mac is not used for gaming, since both hardware and software are not suitable. The hardware is both expensive, hot, and limited, and the software does not create interest for developers to use, and it is clear that Apple does not care about the game on macOS.

Naturally, you can always play games on the Mac in many ways, such as using Boot Camp, installing Windows and running all the way. But if you buy the Mac to play the game is the main, or your home must be very rich and like to use Apple goods for superior, or you blind technology to the point … pitiful.

However, recently, Apple has announced game registration service Apple Arcade, and it will work on macOS. Is this the beginning to change all?


First of all, if you are not familiar with the game experience registration form, they are a service that you will pay over time (for example, monthly) to experience the products on the list of supported games. And Apple Arcade is such a game registration service.

Apple Arcade It is expected to be released this fall, and you can pay a monthly fee to access more than 100 different games. You can experience them on any of your Apple devices, with no ads, no purchases in the app, and security. In addition, you can play offline and share with your family (up to six people).

That sounds like a potential. A game subscription service, giving you the freedom to experience on a variety of Apple devices and operating systems such as iphone (iOS), ipad (ipad OS), Mac (macOS) or Apple TV (tvOS). But this is the problem.

High possibility that no AAA game will come to this service in the near future, because if the game is too heavy, requires high configuration, how can it run smoothly on devices like iphone or ipad. Apple is expanding its gaming capabilities on the Mac, but it's not AAA games with "waking up" graphics, but soft games for mobile platforms, games like products on the App Store.

apple arcade


According to Apple, the App Store has earned a total of $ 120 billion since its launch in 2008. And at the time of writing, the 16/20 most used apps on the App Store are games. So, why does Apple have a reason to invest in a new Mac game, instead of taking advantage of the "golden egg" App Store and its iPhone smartphone? Moreover, Apple also announced that it will support PlayStation 4 joysticks and Xbox One for iOS, tvOS and macOS. This makes it even clearer that the giant wants to create a consistent gaming experience among many Apple devices.

In other words, the way to the entertainment world that Apple chooses, instead of targeting blockbuster games to satisfy a small number of fastidious gamers, Apple wants its service to be a gentle form of entertainment for Everyone, anytime, anywhere. Similar to listening to music on Apple Music or watching movies on Apple TV, people will play the game Apple Arcade, and that's what Apple is aiming for.

In the end, the future of big games, what about AAA games need to configure "delicious" machines? Whether their future will easily find their way to macOS. It's hard to say, but it seems that in the near future, Apple's attitude is still: "Not interested". Even, the company created more jobs for producers.

By September, Apple is expected to release a new version of macOS, macOS Catalina. This macOS version will not support 32-bit software anymore, and there are many games for macOS currently 32-bit games. Therefore, game makers must "mobilize themselves", port their games to 64-bit to run on the latest macOS.

In short, with Apple Arcade, Apple will increase gaming capabilities on Mac, and Mac … still not to play games!

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