Should Apple make a Mac game?

“It’s time for Apple to use some of its superior design skills to come up with a game for the beleaguered Mac loyalist — like me,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek. “There’s nothing that can be done with Windows that can’t be done better on a Mac. With one major exception: games. Gaming is the one area of computing where the Mac has seriously lagged in the area of software. While a few major titles have been ported over the years, Mac gamers are treated like a market afterthought. Major releases on the Mac are usually a year or so behind those on Windows. Most of the feelings I have about this situation can’t be put into polite language.”

“…A small shop in Austin, Tex., known as Aspyr Media… makes more games for the Mac than any other company,” Hesseldahl writes, “How many Mac developers does Aspyr have? Five who work full time. That’s it. Why so small a team? Because, as Aspyr’s Director of Development Glenda Adams told me, a successful Mac game might sell 50,000 units. It physically hurt my head to hear so low a number. My first question after hearing it was, ‘How do you do this profitably?’ Her reply: ‘It’s always been a razor-thin kind of thing.'”

“Turns out, Mac users aren’t really into games. That, or they just don’t think of Macs as the machine they turn to for gaming. It’s strange, since Macs have always been generally better at graphics, producing animation, editing sound, and so on. It would seem the Mac would be an ideal gaming environment. And yet the market indicates otherwise,” Hesseldahl writes. “Maybe Apple’s user base just isn’t fully aware of great games that are now available for the Mac? Sure, there are games to be found at the Apple store, prominently displayed in the software section. But does Apple market the Mac as a gaming machine? Adams says it should… But first, another question needs to be addressed. In the Boot Camp era — in which Mac users can simply install Windows on their machines — is there even a need for Mac-specific games? Aspyr’s Adams thinks so. ‘The majority of the end-users we talk to still want Mac-native games,’ she says. ‘If they can get Mac-native games, they’re willing to wait for them.'”

“And while we’re on the subject, why doesn’t Apple try its hand at building good games for the Mac on its own? Apple is full of creative people turning out great software, but why hasn’t it ever turned out a game? After all, gaming is in Apple’s very DNA. Early in their pre-Apple careers, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (some accounts suggest that Woz did most of the work) created Breakout for Atari… An Apple game might help prime the pump. One great game would get Mac users looking for more great games, and thus help demand, which would encourage more games. In time, one of the weakest planks in the pro-Mac sales proposition would start to look stronger,” Hesseldahl writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: First of all, a hex upon Hesseldahl for writing “beleaguered Mac loyalist.” Mac users are the last personal computer users who should ever be described as “beleaguered.” Now, while we’d like to see the end product of an Apple-produced game and we’d love to see Mac and Windows games released on the same day (only market share and games sales increases would really accomplish that latter goal), realism dictates that we recommend, “Get a game console if you want to play games.” You know which one we’ve got our eyes on…

FYI: Some Mac game links:
Amazon Mac Games
Aspyr Top Selling Mac Games

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  1. I’m not sure if there really is a HUGE need or want to have a higher selection of games for our beloved platform. I have alot of friends who have Macs and none of them even have any thought of gaming. That being said, sometimes I do have that sudden urge to play Bugdom or Cro-Mag Rally! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  2. “”There’s nothing that can be done with Windows that can’t be done better on a Mac.”

    …which says it all quite concisely.

    Microsoft: Designed to make you feel stupid… and best for nothing but games.

  3. they could just ‘do a microsoft’ and buy a games company, im not very interested in games, i got doom 3, my 1st ever mac game lol, ill play it once in a blue moon, most of us use macs for productivity i think, and those that play games buy consoles

  4. What would they make? A first person shooter that fires off rainbows and pussywillows at the downtrodden?

    I don’t know what that means. But, I think Tom Cruise does! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”big surprise” style=”border:0;” />

  5. I usually get a game or two every year around Christmas. I go to WWDC, play a few games, and add them to my Christmas list–although I might go out-of-order and get Call of Duty 2 this weekend because I liked the first one and I’ve played a little CoD2 on my roomate’s nephew’s XBox 360.

    I don’t think Apple “writing a game” would really make a difference, though. I doubt it would sell more Macs, no matter how good it was. While people might be willing to spend $300 for an XBox to play Halo, nobody’s spending $1299 for an iMac to play a game that Apple develops.

  6. Ok I’ll sum up the gaming problem on Mac’s

    1: Apple doesn’t offer a low end, open configuration tower that will appeal to the 3D Gamer crowd based upon price. Like PC’s have. 3D Gamers are mostly young and in a lower income level which 3D gaming occupies their free time inexpensively.

    2: PC gaming in general is on the decline in favor of dedicated boxes like X-Box and Playstation’s which today are more powerful than most PC’s. M$ and Sony are losing a great deal of profit on the hardware and making up for it on volume sales of game licenses to third party developers. Sony and M$ also have alternate forms of income to wage this battle amongst themselves. Apple doesn’t have such a luxury to get into the console market to compete.

    3: When one gets older and can afford a pricey Mac gaming tower, their reflexes are most likely shot to hell anyway so online play really isn’t a option. Plus there is a certain “immaturity” and desperation issue when a 30 plus year old is at home playing video games instead of going out and chasing girls and socializing like a adult should be.

    4: 3D Gaming is almost 100% video card performance dependent, it needs to be upgradable over time to take advantage of more detailed games. So where is the money for Apple if the parts can simply be upgraded via third party sources?

    Apple creates mostly closed systems for all their computers except the expensive Towers for two reasons, to keep people from voiding their warranty, increasing after-sale repair and for adequate turnover in the lower margin area.

    With the Tower, Apple caters to the computer experienced, and less likely to be operated on by the house 16 year old. In fact Apple will be glad to ship most customer serviceable parts to a Tower owner overnight for their own self repair.

    Now Apple has offered a 3D graphics upgrade option in the iMacTel line, this has solved our need for a zippier mid range product as well as preserving the closed box design Apple craves in this market segment.

    If Apple wants to appeal to 3D Gamers, a very small market, they will need to produce something that addresses the cost concerns, open architecture, expandability, customization options etc.

    Also now that Apple is on the same Intel processors as PC’s, they need to have a easy method to compile Windows code and DirectX into X-Code and Open Gl for developers.

    Developers complain that the Mac platform doesn’t return as much ROI to bother tweaking the code. So we get lousy ports of Windows programs if anything at all.

    So if the ROI is higher for developers, they can not refuse the Mac market, perhaps even including Mac and PC versions on the same game disk, to be sold in millions of stores all over the world.

    Cheap advertising for Apple. People check the specs to see if their PC can run the game and there they see a Mac. They ask themselves “What is a Mac computer?”


    There are plenty of game developers out there that would port their versions to Mac’s for extra cash provided it was worth it to do so.

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