In the span of just a few decades, the gaming industry has transformed from a niche hobby into a global entertainment powerhouse. It’s now at the point where it can rival incumbent entertainment sectors, with a predicted worth of over $330 billion by the end of 2023.
Not only have video games surged in popularity lately, they’ve also expanded onto less traditional platforms. Mobile gaming, for instance, is the most popular sector, while playing digital games online has replaced video game cartridges and disks. Despite such advances, however, the question remains about whether it’s possible to play games on a Mac.
Is Apple Entering Its Gaming Era?
Cutting-edge tech and high retina displays have long been the hallmarks of Apple devices, but despite the goods under the hood, Macs and MacBooks haven’t set the world alight when it comes to gaming.
Recently, though, things have begun to change. Now that the age of digital gaming is in full swing, it makes sense for the Big Tech pioneer to jump on board the trend, too. Does that mean, then, that Apple is finally entering its gaming era?
The arrival of the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips indicates that might well be the case. Finally, the tech giant has produced a series of chips that can handle even the most demanding graphics of AAA titles. Coupled with the impending launch of macOS Sonoma, complete with the Game Porting Toolkit, it looks like Apple is taking gaming very seriously indeed.
While these advancements are a step in the right direction, as it stands, no Apple device can currently compare with a PC when it comes to delivering gaming performance. But all is not lost! If you’re a committed Mac user on the lookout for a new model, rest assured there are both portable and desktop devices that can provide a decent gaming experience, especially if you know which games to play and what machines to look out for.
What Games Can I Play on Apple Computers?
Not so long ago, a section about the best games you can play on a Mac would’ve been pretty short. Sure, browser based games from different genres have long been accessible on Apple devices with an internet connection. PokerStars Casino, an iGaming platform which offers a suite of card and table games like roulette that have been updated as digital variants, is playable on Apple computers and tablets alike. Moreover, GOG.com and itch.io both cater to Mac users seeking more traditional video games.
As mentioned above, however, Apple has updated its operating system to provide better support for games and gamers. Now, gamers can enjoy fully-fledged titles on marketplaces like Steam and even EA, or broaden their libraries with native and ported games through the App Store.
Here’s a glimpse at the ever-increasing selection of macOS-compatible games you can play in 2023:
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Square Enix’s reboot of the iconic gaming franchise has set quite the benchmark for gaming performance, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider brings the new trilogy to a truly satisfying conclusion. Set in locations throughout Central America and Mexico, the game serves up realistic action and adventure with a sobering dose of self-awareness on behalf of the Tomb Raider herself.
While this title didn’t set the world alight when it was first released in 2014, since then, it’s undergone quite the refurbishment. EA and Maxis have both released several upgrades that have delivered substantial quality-of-life improvements while adding plenty of content from previous games. Weirdly, though, while EA has made much of its beloved series available on Steam, if you want to play this game on your Mac of choice, you’ll need to use Origin.
Another Square Enix favorite, Final Fantasy XIV, is highly regarded as being the definitive MMORPG. Despite being the most-played RPG in the world, even knocking World of Warcraft from the top, FFXIV didn’t exactly have a linear path to success as it wasn’t until 2013’s “2.0 patch” that the titles really caught the world’s attention. Since then, the MMO behemoth has gone on to win numerous awards and checks all the boxes for those looking for an immersive digital universe in which to roam.
The Best Apple Devices for Gaming
If you are shopping for a new device and are a keen gamer, do keep in mind that you aren’t going to get the bleeding edge performance you can expect from a PC, despite Apple’s latest developments. However, if you’re primarily looking for a great Mac to do all the things they do so well, plus gaming, there are some options.
When looking for a gaming-proof Mac, remember that you’ll preferably want a machine with a multi-core CPU (processor). You can always rely on Apple to deliver on the screen front, but processors are just as important for getting the detailed graphics you want from modern games. And don’t scrimp on RAM, either; 16 GB is a minimum, but remember, you can’t upgrade this later, so invest in a machine with higher memory if your budget allows.
Our top picks are:
- Apple Mac Mini with M2 Pro, $1299 RRP
- Mac Studio with M2 Mac, $1999 RRP
- 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023) with M2 Pro, $1999 RRP
- 16-inch MacBook Pro (2023) with M2 Max, $4299 RRP