The Boston Globe looks at the state of Mac gaming

The Apple Power Mac G5 is “among the most powerful desktop computers on earth” due to its 64-bit G5 CPU and high-speed hard drive, according to The Boston Globe’s Hiawatha Bray. The Power Mac G5 is just the sort of machine you’d want for playing intense 3-D games. Bray says it’s too bad there aren’t more games for Macintosh. “There are 660 million personal computers in use worldwide, but only 40 million of them are Macs. Nearly all the rest use Microsoft Windows operating systems. That means few companies will spend the millions needed to produce a top-drawer 3-D game just for Mac users, preferring to target the huge Windows market instead,” Bray writes.

Due to porting of major titles, though, Bray says “this is a golden era for Mac gaming” because the most popular game makers “now routinely issue Mac versions of their most popular titles. You don’t need a PC to play hot PC games such as Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Warcraft III, Soldier of Fortune II, or The Sims. A Mac will do just fine.”

Bray looks at genres of games, different game makers, and Apple’s role in bringing more games to the Mac platform in his article, “Thanks to new technology, Macintosh gets in on the action” here.

MacDailyNews Take: More games would be nice, but the game situation is one of the most blatant results of Mac market share. Not a lot of hardcore gamers look to Mac, which means not a lot of Mac users are very interested in games. Some interest, yes. But, obviously not enough to make it worth it to develop new titles exclusively for the Macintosh first. Apple is doing it’s part, with Open GL and other technologies, to make is easier to get the best games to the Mac; games that have the potential to realize a profit from the Mac user base. You want the best personal computer? Get a Mac. You want to play the best games? Use a dedicated game console instead.


  1. Hyawatha says “The Mac market is a really cerebral crowd. They’re just not into sports games” hence lukewarm (at the best) interest in the platform for game developers. Well, maybe if some big titles come to the G5, hopefully a flight simulator as well, with astonishing effects and not-to-find-anywhere-else features thank to the 64-bit machine gamers will lookk at the G5.

    I know PC users from when I was flying actively Falcon 4 who built their PC around the simulator tuning and swearing to get that fps more.
    If best-of-the-best comes out of the box with the G5 then Mac market will be gamers again.

  2. More games would be nice – this is an understatement.

    As a developer I can tell you programmers play a lot of games. Of my friends (programmers) that are resisting Mac’s, all the objections are that it won’t play this or that. If we could get more programmers using Mac’s, they would push for cross-platform development in their organizations. Apple should pursue two area’s with great passion, Development tools and games.

    Program availability will get market share. If apple can win developers, then they will gain market share. Apple should align with some game compainies and with Borland (the largest non-Microsoft tool maker) and make the Mac the best platform to develop on. Apple should embrace cross-platform tools that surpass all the others, so that even Windows developers will be screaming for mac’s to develop for windows.

    I do not know a programmer that does not appricate Mac OS X, but only about 10% are willing to buy a mac – because their games will not run on it. If Apple managed to exceed Windows in these two areas, the side effects would be unbelievable.

  3. I agree with the MDN take. The only reason I drool over getting a nice new Powerbook is that so I can play more games. If not for that desire, I’d be perfectly content with my iBook 500 MHz that does everything I need it to do otherwise just fine. I think that I may just end up buying a PS2, or maybe a PS3 (whenever that comes out), or a PS Portable which is due soon, instead of a $1,700 plus Powerbook. (Not intedrested at all in the X-Box. I will never knowingly and willingly give M$ my money.)

  4. Mr. Tangent Says: “If my math is right that means that our global market share is 16.5%, given this article’s figures?”

    Sorry, fellow, the maths is as follows:
    (40/660)*100 = 6.06%

    16.5 is the times 40 fits 660, but percentage is the inverse division.

    In the other hand, there are people that don’t use a Mac solely because it does not have simple games, as hearts, carte blanche or solitaire with the look and feel of the Wintel machines. Really. It does not matter if there are better conectivity solutions, more stable OS, better look and feel, etc. They want the old and -for them- secure look and feel they are used to. And they don’t want to change.

  5. I’ll keep repeating this over and over because it only makes sense. If you want a real gaming system, buy a PlayStation 2. If you want a real computer, buy a Mac. And if you want both, then buy both! A Windows PC is just a cheap and buggy imitator and doesn’t do either one of those things nearly as well.

  6. I just had a brilliant idea! What if Apple teamed up with Sony and offered a deep discount on Sony Playstation 2’s with a purchase of any Macintosh? The upside would be that Sony would get more people buying their games, and could sell the units cheaper knowing they’ll reap more gamers. Apple could use this as a way to counter the gaming problem, and give their users a discount on Sony games/consoles. It would be like how printer manufacturers sell their machines cheap knowing that they’ll make more money in the long run from printer cartridges.

    PS: thanks for the numbers clarification, Peter/Rick.

  7. Peter,

    The statement “660 million personal computers in use worldwide, but only 40 million of them are Macs” means that the 40 million Mac users are included in the 660 million. They are not additional users. So rick’s math is right. The base is 6.06% worldwide (if the numbers are even close). Of course, how many of the 620 million non-Mac “personal computers” are not actually used by an individual? How many are really servers, or business owned, or sitting in a warehouse somewhere after being replaced, or sitting in a scrap heap somewhere?

    What exactly does the 660 million number mean? Where did that come from? What methodology was used to arrive at it? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop? The world may never know.

  8. Hyawatha says “The Mac market is a really cerebral crowd…”

    This is somewhat surprising coming from Bray, considering what he published in the past. So, does it mean we’re no longer Mac zealots? Or does it mean we are zealots with brains?

  9. About that juicy 44 million Mac user base. I email Hiawatha about that. He replied that it was a typo that he told his editor to correct prior to the column being released. To quote hiawatha in his reply to me, “AARGH!!” 😀

  10. Games actually are often what makes a computer (or GPU) obsolete first. If I get a new PowerBook, games will be an important reason!

    But I have no problem with the Mac game selection–there are more Mac games out there, which I want to own, than I could ever buy OR find time to play!

    That doesn’t mean I’m not happy that the Mac game industry is growing. More selection is never bad.

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