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Does OS X NEED to be a hardcore gaming Platform?


Earlier today I wrote about the whole Bungie situation that happened over the weekend. There was also another video game related Apple article that made the rounds this weekend. It stated that Apple didn’t want to pay Valve $1 million dollars to port Half-Life to the Mac. There is an interesting discussion on Digg (as interesting as Digg discussions get, anyway) where several diggers have claimed that Apple was unbelievably stupid for not doing this. I have to agree with them that the arguement that the price was too much to ask is a bit silly. $1 Million dollars may be a HUGE sum of money to me and you, but to a company like Apple, it’s not that much of an investment.

Having said that, however, I have to say that I don’t think OS X needs to be a gaming platform in the slightest, and I see no reason for Apple to spend that 1 Million dollars…here’s why: Mac Users AREN’T hardcore gamers.

Hardcore gamers are also a very small market. I know, I know…if you’re a hardcore gamer, for some reason you find that offensive…I see it all the time, you want to throw out all the numbers about how much money games make. I’m sure you’ll want to argue with me about Halo 3 being the biggest selling entertainment opening day in history with $170 dollars worth of product sold.

I would then, counter to you that it’s completely ridiculous to compare a $10 movie ticket to a $60 video game. You would either see my point, or keep arguing. Either way, I’m done with the arguement. Selling a lot of expensive product does not mean that the niche is still small compared to the overall computer industry.

What I’m asking you, is do you think that OS X needs to be a major gaming platform…you’ll note that I’m not saying “the Mac” like so many others. You know why? Because “the Mac” already is a gaming platform. If you want to play Halo 3 on an intel based Mac you can do so without any problems at all. You can use BootCamp to boot up Windows, load up Halo 3 and go to town. When you’re done having your fun, you can hop back into OS X and get back to using a decent OS (I kid…I kid…but seriously…).

Apple isn’t really interested in gaming I don’t think. I don’t expect them to start building those Alienware styled systems anytime soon, and I think the gaming that is happening on the Mac right now is fine for Mac users. I also think that any hardcore gamers that really need their games, are going to have or get Windows, and load up Bootcamp. I just don’t see a need for porting games like Half-Life over to the Mac.

I certainly wouldn’t buy it. Would you?

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

18 thoughts on “Does OS X NEED to be a hardcore gaming Platform?

  1. This is troll bait.

    Gaming is a huge market, not a small fraction as this “author” suggests.

    If OSX is going to be a world class operating system (which it pretends to) then leading in gaming development is REQUIRED.

    Make no mistakes. Microsoft gets this and is attempting to drive all gaming through there direct X interface, which will mean significant challenges for any game developers that want to support other platforms (ie PS3/OSX/Linux etc.).

    Running games under bootcamp, or even ports via technologies like “cider” isn’t acceptable as that still cedes the development platform for gaming to windows, which anyone with a clue (which this “author” clearly lacks) knows is not acceptable.


  2. I think if Apple were to “seriously” get into gaming, instead of bringing games to the computers, they’d make a gaming console.

  3. Or maybe to put games in the iPhone.. It Has a almost 660mghz CPU and 512 mb of ram.It can Run games like a piece of cake.About the qustion to be a hardcore gaming platform.NO!Let’s leave the gamers to their pc’s and windows. 😉

  4. I think the article said that game publishers weren’t willing to pay the rumored $1 million license fee to publish a port of the game, not Apple.

    The issue with Apple was hardware/software support to make it easier to deliver high powered games.

  5. It’s not critical for the Mac to become a hardcore gaming platform. However, gaming does drive home sales of computers

  6. “I think if Apple were to “seriously” get into gaming, instead of bringing games to the computers, they’d make a gaming console.”

    Lets’ turn this arguement upside-down. Games don’t sell MS-Windows as much as they used too. Hardcore gamers buy consoles. One LESS arguement to suffer through Windows.

    But, seriously, I think Apple believes that whining to game developers to make more games is like whining Eneterprise to buy more Macs. To accomplish these goals, Apple needs to build market share, so more people can see first-hand the advantages of the Mac. There’s nothing technically wrong with OS X as a game platform right now. It’s largely a chicken-and-egg thing. We need more users. And things are trending that way.

  7. I think Apple HAS missed an important opportunity here and I think that people miss the point when they keep talking about ‘hardcore gamers’. This group doesn’t factor into any discussion we could possibly have at this point about Mac games. No hardcore gamer would ever use a Mac at this point. Ever. Period. End of discussion. So why are we talking about it? Until games on the Mac platform achieve equal parity, there is just simply no way “hardcore” gamers would or even COULD use a mac.

    The group of people, tho, that Apple SHOULD be worrying about is the casual game player, or in other words: almost every home user. While they might not need their system to run every game out there, almost every home user will have a game or two they enjoy playing from time to time. The single biggest reason why that friends I recommend buying a Mac come back with for why they won’t is “well, I like to play Game X, and it doesn’t run on the Mac”.

    If the consumer market is important to Apple, and it is, they should be trying as hard as they can to get as many games as they can ported over. Just because Steve Jobs doesn’t play games on his system doesn’t mean that most home users DO.

  8. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. I literally keep windows installed on my Macs just so I can play Valve’s games. If they were ported to OS X, I wouldn’t have a use to keep windows around, and its annoying dedicating space to it when its only used for 1 thing really.

    Also you seem to be forgetting that Apple is gaining marketshare like no other, what might have been a small percentage of people who were Mac gamers could easily double or triple with all the exposure they are now getting. Gaming is very important to the mac, and Apple needs to fix it if they really want to dominate the computer market, its the one flaw with Apple systems that windows users can always use against us.

  9. @Max
    “If OSX is going to be a world class operating system (which it pretends to) then leading in gaming development is REQUIRED.”

    Oh PLEASE, with the shortly to be released OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple will have a certified UNIX 3 operating system. If that isn’t world class your out of your mind. Just because we don’t have all you youngster’s games doesn’t make it otherwise.

    Certified UNIX 3? BIG WHOOP! This is the personal computer business, and if you want to have a world class product in this arena, then the above mentioned certification isn’t meaningful.

    In fact not having “youngster’s games” (which is a demeaning and incorrect stereotype) does in fact make it less then world class. The personal computer industry is largely driven at the cutting edge by gaming.

    3D rendering is a big deal in many applications including gaming, optimizing this helps gaming and many other design and visualization softwares.

    Ultimately it comes down to developers, developers, developers to quote monkeyboy.

    If you don’t get it, that’s fine, but Apple must, or they will be roadkill in PC market(remember they aren’t an enterprise computing supplier, they target consumers). Keep in mind that the current complete contempt for games from “authors” like the one who wrote the above and others, is relatively new in the Mac arena. The Mac hasn’t been a front runner in many peoples minds for years with regards to gaming, but has historically had many ground breaking games developer for and on it.

    Hopefully the folks in Cupertino have enough sense to realize that to really continue to build momentum in the PC business, gaming is essential.

    PS Yes, I would buy half life for the mac.

  10. @Max
    “If OSX is going to be a world class operating system (which it pretends to) then leading in gaming development is REQUIRED.”

    Oh PLEASE, with the shortly to be released OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple will have a certified UNIX 3 operating system. If that isn’t world class your out of your mind. Just because we don’t have all you youngster’s games doesn’t make it otherwise.

  11. No, I don’t think OS X has any desire to be in the “gaming” community. There are some games that are becoming available for the Mac from EA. They look cool, but even if I had a Mac, I wouldn’t buy them.

    I don’t think it matters that much. Sure, if Apple made a “gaming” computer there would be sales. But I am currently in the market for a new laptop. I am seriously looking at the Macbook (trying to convince the wife this is what we “NEED.”) And gaming has absolutely nothing to do with my decision. As a matter of fact, reading on some of the more popular “Mac” forums, most people asking the difference between the Macbook and Macbook Pro aren’t concerned about the “if you want gaming go with the MBP” that is constantly posted.

    Gaming….I could care less about. I have an Xbox 360 any “real” gaming that I want to do (which by the way is bricked because of the dreaded red rings of death). I don’t want to or care to game on my computer. But I know that there are thousands of PC gamers.

  12. Need to be hardcore? No. But come on, I don’t want to f’ing have to buy MS Windows (and maintain it, and have to reboot into it) just to play a game.

  13. If you want to play games, get a console. I don’t understand why people want to play games on ANY computer, let alone a Mac. If I wanted to have to worry about 50 different keystrokes during a game, I’d just play flight simulators all the time! Give me a damn gamepad over a keyboard and a mouse anyday…

    Every 3 months it seems like you need to blow another $200 on a graphics card and memory so that you can play the latest and greatest games. Why do game developers for computer games do this when the majority of console based games require the same amounts of power for longer periods of time???

  14. Apple includes games with every macbook and used to include them with ipods. Apple knows the importance of games to consumers obviously. However, Apple is about as devoted to this initiative as it is to making iWork a better office suite than Mac Office. In many areas it does the minimum like just showing up in school but not really doing any of the necessary work. Apple has had it’s head so far up it’s *** trying to create a better operating system than Windows that it’s missed the fact that no one spends as much time using the OS as they do applications, games, etc. I should state here that I love the Mac OS and have always found it to be superior to MS OS. Apple only half gets why Windows is more popular than Mac OS and if they want to continue to gain ground they have to attract developers who are willing to write code, applications, games, etc. for the Mac OS. It is Apple and Steve Jobs arrogance mainly that forces everyone else to adapt to Apple and the main reason why Apple will never adapt for them. This in my opinion is wrong and Apple should do a better job of meeting their programmers half way like they did by releasing Xcode and other tools to help move code over to the new OS. Acknowledging that people will not change for them unless they make it really easy or offer some other incentive is a good step by Apple and the same thing must happen for the gaming environment. Games are just as important on the PC as they are on the dedicated console however it remains to be seen if that will still hold for the future. Apple is either working on how to make a better console than anyone else or to see where the trend is going. Nintendo has shown the gaming world that it isn’t all about HD graphics, in game movies, and awesome special effects. Games are about novelty, community, fun, and affordability. Apple would be better off competing with Nintendo than Sony and MS.

  15. Of course, anyone who wants games on OSX is bound to think that it’s a great idea and Apple should do it.

    You have to see it from a business standpoint. The ROI doesn’t amount to much. I bet 99% of OSX users are using OSX for anything but games. What’s the point of spending 1 million dollars to sell 1 million games? You break even at best. Valve is just one company. Think how much money would be spent on porting games from all the different companies. Mac users account for about 5% of the market. I bet less than 1% would be into gaming on OSX. So if Apple went out and spent millions and millions on porting games, they loose their shirt.

    Computers are supposed to be all about productivity, getting things done. Video games are the most counterproductive-mind-numbing computing experience you can get. They are solely for entertainment. You want games? Buy an XBox or Playstation.

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