Some thoughts on Mac gaming (and the lack of it)
Phil Harrison predicts that Apple could come to dominate the games industry in the next ten years. The claim was made during this interview with Edge and reported on here by MCV. Okay, Phil. So where are all the Mac games?
Back in January when the Mac App Store launched I had a good whinge about the games on there that were being passed off as RPGs. They weren't really RPGs at all. Since then I've not really had a thorough look at what's been added to the Mac App Store. Glancing at it now, the RPG category certainly hasn't improved much (Borderlands is NOT an RPG, guys). You can get a version of the original Knights Of The Old Republic for 12 quid if you really want to but aside from that the pickings are pretty slim. And that goes for the rest of the categories in the Gaming section.
However, this list from derangedshaman.com features five Mac App Store games that you 'should' be playing now. It's not a great list. Bejeweled 3, Angry Birds and Civilization V are on the there, and they're hardly Mac exclusives. I do love me some Civilization V, mind you. It's the only game I play on my MacBook Pro. However, the graphics settings are all turned down to minimum, it can't handle the Huge map sizes without the world breaking apart and the ferocity of the internal cooling fan while playing is such that you fear the Mac will either explode or take off and make a break for outer orbit.
I downloaded Civ V from Steam, and aside from the above issues, it runs fine. Some of the comments on the Civ 5 App Store page, however, make for unpleasant reading, with a couple of folks saying that it's fundamentally broken when downloaded from there, full of bugs and crashes. Steam for Mac certainly ups the number of decent games available for Mac, especially of the smaller indie variety, but it's hardly a comprehensive catalogue of new and interesting 'big' titles. A quick search reveals 163 games are available, with just 26 of them released this year.
Personally, I'm not too bothered about the lack of gaming software for Mac because essentially my Mac is my work tool and I've got a bunch of wife-displeasing consoles stacked under the telly and a few handhelds on the bookshelf to provide me with all the gaming I need (apart from Civ, of course).
But that's hardly the point. Why aren't there more games for Mac? Is developing big titles for Mac as well as PC and consoles too much work and financial outlay for not enough reward? Is there simply not the audience for big games on Mac? What? These and other are questions posed in an article by a community member on website sarcasticgamer.com entitled "I’m a Mac Owner and a Gamer: Why Can’t I Be a Mac Gamer?" and it was reading the article that prompted the above longer-than-I-meant-it-to-be article of my own.
So a lot of questions have been posed about Macs and gaming. Harrison was more than likely referring to iOS gaming on iPhone and iPad and iPod in the interview, but that doesn't mean Apple don't have broader plans for gaming on home and portable Macs, does it? These are all questions that need answering. I feel a thorough investigation coming on. Watch out for a big feature on the future of gaming on Mac coming soon (or soonish if I can't tear myself away from Civ V for an evening or two).
- Related Games
- Sid Meier's Civilization V