In the past, gamers had little reason to consider configuring a Mac for gaming. But according to Apple itself, that may change in the future. The Mac manufacturer confirmed its plans to get serious about PC gaming in a recent interview, which could make it more attractive to gamers.
“Of course, you can imagine the pride of some GPU folks and imagine, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if you reached out to a broader group of these really top players,'” said Apple’s Vice President of Platform Engineering, Tim Milet, in an interview with Tom’s Guide “It’s a natural place for us to research, and work closely with the Mittal team and our developer team. We love a challenge.”
Apple’s embrace of PC gaming comes with the power of its M1 processor. The company initially announced a timeline for moving away from Intel CPUs on the Mac at WWDC 2020. In the same interview, Apple executives mentioned that before the company could enter the gaming arena, it had to make a powerful and energy-efficient Mac .
In order to make the M1 processor a compelling key to the company and dedicated Mac enthusiasts, Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of worldwide product marketing, said Macs would have to maintain strong battery life and deliver solid performance with Rosetta in order for emulation to make the transition from Intel CPUs. smoothly as possible. With the 13-inch MacBook Pro offering an advertised 20 hours of battery life — Apple nearly doubled what was previously possible on a similar architecture from Intel — plus subsequent reviews of the laptop that showed performance wasn’t slack, Apple is now setting a third target. For M-series processors: Bringing games to Macs.
Like Apple’s A-series processors on the iPhone and iPad that turned the company’s smartphones and tablets into highly capable portable consoles for casual gaming on the go, M-series Mac CPUs combine ARM processing cores with dedicated integrated graphics cores. This differs from traditional PC gaming systems, which are often equipped with powerful discrete graphics cards, such as Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3000 series or the competing Radeon RX 6000 series from AMD. Apple will take an opposite approach here, eschewing more powerful discrete GPUs for the graphics integrated with the M-series.
However, with rumors circulating that future iterations of the M-series chips could come with up to 16 or 32 graphics cores, Apple’s gaming venture shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Game apps, after all, became a huge catalyst for the iPhone’s early success when Apple brought the App Store to its smartphones. Apple will likely want to repeat the history for the Mac. A 32-core M-series chipset has been rumored for a future Mac Pro desktop review, which, if accurate, could radically turn Apple’s professional workstation into a massive gaming platform.
It also appears that Apple’s rush into games is a natural evolution of the company’s business strategy. After years of investing in hardware sales, Apple is now looking to grow its services, which include iCloud subscription plans, the App Store, in-app purchases, Apple TV+ streaming, Apple Music, Apple News+ and more. Bringing games to the Mac will increase the App Store catalog on Mac devices and bring in more revenue for the company.
It’s not clear what Apple’s long-term strategy for PC gaming on the Mac will be. Whether Apple will try to replicate the success of the iPhone by bringing highly informal and immersive gaming experiences to the Mac with a number of inexpensive titles or whether it will work with developers to port the AAA titles available on Windows platforms is unknown. Either way, the potential success of gaming on a Mac powered by the M-series chipset should pose a real threat to Intel — which also develops its own discrete graphics cards — as well as GPU makers Nvidia and AMD.