Apple has a chance to fix Mac gaming for good in 2024
Mac gaming has come on leaps and bounds in 2023, but there’s still work to do. If Apple is going to fix it, there’s one massive thing it needs to do next year.
December 9, 2023 9:00AM
By Alex Blake December 9, 2023 9:00AM
Looking back, 2023 was a banner year for Mac gaming. As a gamer, it feels really surreal to say that, given how disappointing the past has been. But it’s true — and for the first time in a long time, the sun is shining on Mac gamers.
We’ve had the M3 series of chips with hardware ray tracing, mesh shading, and improved GPUs. On the software side, Apple has built-in tools like Game Mode and a game porting toolkit into macOS. And some massive games have come to the Mac, including Baldur’s Gate 3 and Lies of P.
Yet despite all that positivity, there’s still one thing Apple needs to fix for Mac gamers as we head into 2024. If it doesn’t, so much of the hard work over the past 12 months will have been for nothing.Luke Larsen / Digital Trends
For years, Apple’s gaming struggles have been locked in a vicious cycle. Game developers didn’t bother porting their games to the Mac because there weren’t enough players, and gamers didn’t switch to the Mac because there weren’t enough big-name games to play. Things were at an impasse.
For all the great work Apple has done on its end, it needs to do much more to attract AAA developers to macOS. Right now, there’s a superb selection of indie games to choose from, including some of the best Mac games available. But as good as they are, they’re unlikely to pull in serious numbers of players.
Big-name franchises like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, and EA Sports FC are all absent from the Mac, to name just a few. If that situation were to change, it would finally mark the Mac as a serious gaming destination once and for all.
Not only that, but it would be a testament to the strength of Apple’s hardware. Just a few years ago, a MacBook would struggle to load a word-processing document without its fans ramping up (OK, perhaps I’m exaggerating). But running famously demanding games on a Mac would be a massive win for Mac users and for Apple’s own chips.Apple
Of course, it’ll take more than just powerful chips to convince game developers to make the leap to the Mac. The software has to be great to work with, for one thing. And, of course, there must be a willing audience ready to snap up new titles as they launch.
Apple already seems to be working to fix the first part. With macOS Sonoma, Apple has bundled a game porting toolkit that aims to make the whole process smoother. It does this by enabling devs to see how well their games will run in macOS, which greatly simplifies the process of converting their titles for Apple’s platform. The goal is to eliminate months of work when porting a game to the Mac.
Attracting an audience will be much harder, but offering a bumper selection of top-tier games certainly can’t hurt — and we know Apple is working with developers here. That’s the last piece of the puzzle, and one that Apple really needs to fix in 2024. Baldur’s Gate 3 and Lies of P are amazing additions, but they should be seen as just the start. There’s no time for Apple to rest on its laurels.
With the Vision Pro set to launch next year, Apple fans will have another (very different) way to game. But for me, it’s crucial that Apple puts as much focus as possible on Mac gaming. The platform has a ton of momentum, and it’d be a terrible shame if it were to be lost.
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Shortcuts is probably the most frustrating app I’ve used on macOS. Not because it’s a bad app -- it’s actually one of the best Mac apps you can get -- but because Apple gives next to no support on how to use such a powerful part of its operating system. It’s like being given a supercar, but the dealership forgot to include the keys.
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Apple needs to do more
The MacBook Pro we all want is still many years away
As great as the MacBook Pro is right now, there's one important feature that's always been missing. A touchscreen. It's something Windows laptops have enjoyed for years now, and many have viewed it as a missing piece of the puzzle for the Mac.
The latest rumors, however, suggest that a solid road map is in place that could potentially end with touch-enabled OLED screens coming to the MacBook Pro.
The news comes from @Tech_Reve on X (formerly Twitter), who indicates that Apple has plans to reveal MacBook Pro models featuring OLED displays in the 2026 to 2027 time frame. These models might come in 14.2-inch and 16.2-inch variants and are also expected to be touchscreen enabled.
After the introduction of the OLED touchscreen MacBook Pro, Apple is expected to push both features to MacBook Air models in 13.6-inch and 15.3-inch variants. This could happen starting in 2026 and beyond, depending on the tentative timeline of the MacBook Pro launch.
According to @Tech_Reve, Apple is working with Samsung and LG as its display suppliers. Each manufacturer has their own updated version of touchscreen technology that integrates the touch panel directly into the display. Samsung's technology is called Y-OCTA and LG's is Touch On Encapsulation. However, they ultimately produce the same result, a thinner panel at a lower cost. The current standard entails layering the OLED panel and then a separate touch panel, WCCFTech noted.
The OLED touchscreen MacBook Pro might trickle down from the OLED iPad Pro, which is one of the big Apple rumors for a launch during the first half of 2024. The tablet already has a touchscreen display, so many believe it would be an easy transition to add an OLED screen for a similarly high-end product. Additionally, the rumored 11-inch and 13-inch models are expected to be solid testers for future OLED touchscreen devices, such as the 2026-2027 MacBook Pro.
WCCFTech made the point that the OLED touchscreen MacBook Pro would likely require tweaks to the macOS interface to accommodate for the precision needed when using touch on a display. Notably, the iPad Pro already has the assistance of the Apple Pencil, but there's no telling how accessories will fit into the equation.
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Apple recently introduced new MacBook Pro laptops with the M3 processor. On the surface, little else changed. The new machine sports the same high-quality and minimalist design (albeit with a striking new Space Black color), the same awesome mini-LED display, and the same exceptional keyboard and touchpad.
You might be tempted to think that choosing a new MacBook Pro will be as simple as it was with the previous generation. If so, think again. There are several important gotchas with the new machines that need careful consideration. I list five of them here.
Apple Silicon has gotten much more confusing