Apple’s 64-bit Power Mac G5 power could help Mac game market

“Mac gaming could get a major lift from the G5. Long a weak spot at Apple, the company’s standing has weakened greatly in recent years by the lack of ultra-fast Mac hardware needed to handle the graphically complex titles favored by serious gamers,” reports David Zeiler for The Baltimore Sun. “Blizzard Entertainment — the company based in Irvine, Calif., that is known for its Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft games — is intrigued by the G5’s potential.”

“Robert Barris, Blizzard’s senior software engineer for its Mac team, said he recently had discovered that the G5 can conduct a video conference in iChat AV between Internet-connected players during game play. ‘We’re finding that the new machines are fast enough that you can run the game in one window and see your friend in another,’ Barris said. Until now, online players have been restricted to text messaging,” Zeiler reports.

“Although many gamers focus on frame rates when considering performance in ‘first-person shooters’ such as Unreal Tournament, Barris said the G5’s speed and ability to use larger amounts of memory will boost the artificial intelligence required to control large numbers of units in Blizzard’s ‘real-time strategy’ style games. The more characters the computer controls, the more strain put on the processor. The PowerMac G5, Barris said, not only would be able to control more characters, but would be able to control them more intelligently, offering players a greater challenge,” Zeiler writes.

Zeiler writes, “Finally, Barris praised the G5’s speed in compiling code, a major part of game developing. A quicker, less-painless conversion cycle from Windows to the Mac should encourage Blizzard and other game developers to keep releasing Mac versions of their titles. Though gaming will never be the No. 1 reason to buy a Mac, having at least some of the most popular games available only can help Apple increase its share of the consumer market.”

Full article here.

4 Comments

  1. This is right on. The only way for the Mac to gain significant market share is to make it a better gaming platform and have the top games brought to it either exclusively or launched simultaneously with their PC cousin, like it or not.

  2. The comments about iChat AV working during gameplay were very interesting. I imagine that card games like poker would be the first to benefit from such a set-up; imagine playing poker on-line and trying to keep your face straight while you pretended to have a good hand (when in fact you have Jack-Squat). How streaming video could be integrated in games like Unreal and Doom is for the developers to figure out. It is ideas like these that are made possible by the Mac’s move to next-gen, 64-bit computing, and it is a good sign for Mac gamers to see companies like Blizzard acknowledge the potential of this hardware.

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