Apple’s range of Mac computers have always been viewed as fantastic machines for designers and photographers, but they've never had a strong reputation in terms of gaming. This is surprising, as you'd think the qualities that make macOS ideal for creatives might make it well-placed to perform effectively from a gaming standpoint. But, traditionally, Macs have lacked cutting edge graphics cards and the processing power to run the best games.
Attitudes around the gaming abilities of Macs have changed in more recent times. There has been a rapid increase in the number of quality titles available, from free Mac games download options to AAA product launches. Here, we look at the history of gaming on Macs, as well as the key attributes you can find in the best Mac games today.
Mac games are simply gaming titles that have been created or adapted to be played on Apple’s Mac computers. The first Mac – or Macintosh as it was then known – was launched by the company back in 1984, and a host of new models have emerged in the years since.
Many different games can now be played on machines that use the macOS. While some may require upfront payment, players can even try free Mac games as we mentioned before. The best free Mac games have become really popular and they often include optional in-game purchases, which allow you to customize your experience by buying certain items.
The best Mac games can offer a truly incredible experience, but the current landscape is a lot different to how it was a few years ago. The story of macOS games is an interesting one, showing the computing titan's changing attitude to the gaming industry.
Back in 2010, VentureBeat published Richard Moss’s deep dive into the history of macOS games. The article revealed that while the machines may not be synonymous with the pastime, games have always been a part of the Mac experience since the beginning. Apple might have marketed the Macintosh as a productivity machine, but text adventures and ports did emerge on the first model.
Further titles were released as the years went by, but major competition appeared in the form of both Windows and consoles created specifically with gaming in mind. The release and subsequent success of Windows 95 made things even harder for Apple, with just 28 macOS games in total released in 1998.
Steve Jobs went on to revitalize the company and its hardware, but Macs continued to lag behind other devices when it came to gaming. Again, games tended to be released, but they were generally adaptations of titles that had already been out on Windows or consoles for some time.
Mac games continued to face many ups and downs over the years, with developments like the switch to Intel architecture having an impact. However, in recent years, Apple has been making small but determined steps to make Macs a viable gaming option.
One such development is Apple Arcade, which has brought a vast range of titles to Mac gamers for a reasonable subscription fee. From casual games to AAA titles, Apple Arcade has been a welcome change of pace for Mac users.
Meanwhile, Apple has attempted a grassroots revolution in cross-platform play between iOS and MacOS with the introduction of Mac Catalyst, helping developers port iOS apps across to the Mac. While the system is far from perfect, Apple can at least be seen to be making a concerted effort to bring iOS titles to Mac users.
On a more technical level, Apple has tried to bridge the hardware gap by providing compatibility between Macs and external graphics cards in 2018 while pushing its Metal graphics API. Once the territory of PC gamers, modern graphics cards can output intense, immersive gaming experiences. While Macs themselves haven’t widely adopted this technology, allowing users to connect to external graphics cards could be the next step in making the Mac a fully viable gaming system.
While the future of Mac gaming looks bright, the present is certainly showing signs that the smaller changes Apple have been pushing are having an effect.
The internet is full of articles from various sites discussing the best Mac games out there now. Whether you’re a fan of action and adventure, puzzles, or even strategy games, you will find plenty you can enjoy on Mac. The emergence of new monetization models also means that there are more Mac games download options, with the best free Mac games today matching the quality of any top game while having no barrier to entry.
Gaming is well and truly on Apple’s radar for the years ahead. The company has plans to develop its own ARM-based hardware to run games more efficiently. This move comes after Apple announced the Mac’s compatibility with the NVIDIA GeForce Now cloud gaming platform earlier this year, giving users the ability to play more high-end games.
In addition, commentators say that the shift to Apple silicon may allow iOS and iPadOS apps the ability to run natively on macOS going forward. This would be a game-changer, adding the whole iOS gaming world to the Mac.
Many believe that Apple may not be stopping there when it comes to their gaming interests. At the start of this year, there were reports that the company might be working on a Mac designed specifically for gaming. While that speculation has died down a little in more recent months, it is still an intriguing suggestion.
So, if you’re totally new to the gaming world and are looking to buy a machine, should you go for a Windows PC or a Mac? It is a big question that many experts have examined through the years, with the key comparisons coming down to:
Ultimately, Windows has an edge in terms of its community of players and developers, as well as the massive existing catalog of PC games. However, the likes of the App Store and Steam have ensured that the gaming experience on Macs has improved greatly.
While there are many elements that go into making great games, here are some of the key characteristics you should look out for to find the best Mac games, whether you access them online or via free Mac games download platforms.
MacOS games these days can offer a high-quality experience, so the very best titles will undoubtedly offer plenty of depth in terms of gameplay.
Macs always look the part, so you can expect that the best Mac games will have excellent graphics across the board.
The best Mac games come in many different forms, and it is fair to say that the machines excel across a wide variety of genres. This means that, whatever you're into, you should be able to find a title that's perfect for you.
The best Mac games make use of the devices’ capabilities better to get maximum performance, and that applies whether you opt for free Mac games download options or premium titles. Only the games that can utilize the sophisticated hardware of Macs properly can give you a buttery smooth experience.
MacOS games have been through many changes over the years, but Apple device owners now have a range of options when it comes to enjoying some of the top titles.
From the best free Mac games to the endless Mac games download options on digital game stores, there are many experiences that you can try today. Macs might not have had the strongest gaming reputation in the past, but they’re more than making up for lost time now.