Skip to main content

Apple has a chance to fix Mac gaming for good in 2024

Looking back, 2023 was a banner year for Mac gaming. As a gamer, it feels really surreal to say that, given how disappointing the past has been. But it’s true — and for the first time in a long time, the sun is shining on Mac gamers.

We’ve had the M3 series of chips with hardware ray tracing, mesh shading, and improved GPUs. On the software side, Apple has built-in tools like Game Mode and a game porting toolkit into macOS. And some massive games have come to the Mac, including Baldur’s Gate 3 and Lies of P.

Yet despite all that positivity, there’s still one thing Apple needs to fix for Mac gamers as we head into 2024. If it doesn’t, so much of the hard work over the past 12 months will have been for nothing.

The big names are missing

Lies of P being played on an iMac.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

For years, Apple’s gaming struggles have been locked in a vicious cycle. Game developers didn’t bother porting their games to the Mac because there weren’t enough players, and gamers didn’t switch to the Mac because there weren’t enough big-name games to play. Things were at an impasse.

For all the great work Apple has done on its end, it needs to do much more to attract AAA developers to macOS. Right now, there’s a superb selection of indie games to choose from, including some of the best Mac games available. But as good as they are, they’re unlikely to pull in serious numbers of players.

Big-name franchises like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, and EA Sports FC are all absent from the Mac, to name just a few. If that situation were to change, it would finally mark the Mac as a serious gaming destination once and for all.

Not only that, but it would be a testament to the strength of Apple’s hardware. Just a few years ago, a MacBook would struggle to load a word-processing document without its fans ramping up (OK, perhaps I’m exaggerating). But running famously demanding games on a Mac would be a massive win for Mac users and for Apple’s own chips.

Gaining momentum

Craig Ferguson introducing Mac Gaming at WWDC.

Of course, it’ll take more than just powerful chips to convince game developers to make the leap to the Mac. The software has to be great to work with, for one thing. And, of course, there must be a willing audience ready to snap up new titles as they launch.

Apple already seems to be working to fix the first part. With macOS Sonoma, Apple has bundled a game porting toolkit that aims to make the whole process smoother. It does this by enabling devs to see how well their games will run in macOS, which greatly simplifies the process of converting their titles for Apple’s platform. The goal is to eliminate months of work when porting a game to the Mac.

Attracting an audience will be much harder, but offering a bumper selection of top-tier games certainly can’t hurt — and we know Apple is working with developers here. That’s the last piece of the puzzle, and one that Apple really needs to fix in 2024. Baldur’s Gate 3 and Lies of P are amazing additions, but they should be seen as just the start. There’s no time for Apple to rest on its laurels.

With the Vision Pro set to launch next year, Apple fans will have another (very different) way to game. But for me, it’s crucial that Apple puts as much focus as possible on Mac gaming. The platform has a ton of momentum, and it’d be a terrible shame if it were to be lost.

Editors' Recommendations

Alex Blake
In ancient times, people like Alex would have been shunned for their nerdy ways and strange opinions on cheese. Today, he…
40 years ago today, Apple launched something as audacious as the Vision Pro
A classic Apple Macintosh shows a friendly hello on-screen.

Today marks 40 years since Apple released the very first Mac, upending the entire computer industry and sowing the seeds for four decades of success for the company. Dubbed the Macintosh 128K, the device was an unprecedented success for Apple, and it quickly became one of the most important Macs ever. It also has curious parallels to the company’s situation today.

It's easy to look back now with fondness at the impact the product made -- a familiar piece of tech history that still undergirds so much of our current technology. But at the time, it was the start of something new. A bold, risky, and unprecedented leap forward. It's hard not to make comparisons to the Vision Pro, which officially launches just next week. But will we look back in 40 years at the Vision Pro with the same kind of reverence? Perhaps, but only if Apple learns the right lesson from its own history.
A computing revolution
1984 Apple's Macintosh Commercial (HD)

Read more
Why the Vision Pro could be huge for gaming, but not how you think
A person plays a basketball game using an Apple Vision Pro headset and a games controller.

Unlike so many of its competitors, the Vision Pro was never presented as a gaming headset. That shouldn't come as a surprise, especially given Apple's track record in this department.

But just because Apple is taking a different approach than conventional VR headsets, that doesn't mean gaming couldn't be big on the Vision Pro. Just look at what happened to the iPhone and iPad over time. But could the Vision Pro ever grow into a platform for games as robust as the iPhone app store?

Read more
This one surprising laptop could actually challenge the MacBook Pro
A rendering of the two color options for the Asus Zephyrus G14.

For the last few years, MacBooks have had a serious advantage over its Windows rivals. No one else has been able to combine power and portability in the way Apple’s 14-inch MacBook Pro does, especially with the arrival of the M3 Max. But that may not be the case for much longer.

Unveiled at CES 2024, the updated Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 seems to have serious ambitions on taking Apple’s crown. It's a gaming laptop, yes, but it's been redesigned from the ground up to cater to a crossover crowd. It’s sleek and svelte, yet doesn’t skimp on the output.

Read more