Introducing… our new social media marketing intern, Rachel Burger! Rachel is a student at Agnes Scott College and will graduate in May with degrees in creative writing and Sino-American relations. As a second-generation Mac enthusiast and first degree gamer, Rachel’s favorite games include Fable II, Sid Meier’s Civilization IV, Dragon Age: Origins, and World of Warcraft. As her career progresses, Rachel hopes to specialize in creative game design or advertising. For her first entry, we asked Rachel to take a look at the Mac gaming market, both current and past. Below, she explains why Macs have not always been considered gaming machines and what can be (and is being) done to change this.
As the Mac versus PC battle wages into the next decade, Mac enthusiasts continue to struggle with the dismal volume of computer games available to them. While most of the world’s most popular games are available only for PC, Macs have a serious disadvantage in appealing to their gaming consumers because when a new game becomes available, there is commonly a wait for the Mac release (Halo lost the Mac community because it was not available until two years after its original Windows release date). Because of the discrepancy in available titles, Macs are not typically associated with gaming.
In previous years, the computer market discouraged game designers from developing for Macs. In 2005, Apple only made up 4.6% of the PC market. However, now that Apple makes up 10.6% and has inspired unprecedented sales despite the unyielding recession, gaming companies have started to create multiplatform products (Blizzard, naturally, at the forefront of the charge).
Still, Macs are not the standard in personal computers, and thus designers continue to refuse to invest in multiplatform products. Fortunately, port companies like Aspyr began to address the Mac consumers’ gaming needs. Because of their efforts to produce award-winning titles (like Civilization V and Call of Duty 4) and crunching Mac release dates within weeks of Windows, Macs are slowly gaining ground with gamers internationally.
What about Boot Camp?
In 2007, Apple released Boot Camp to support dual booting with a copy of Windows (Windows Vista and XP were available at the time). The latest version of Boot Camp allows the installation and use of Windows 7 as well as the previous two versions of Microsoft’s operating system. While Boot Camp has its advantages, like tapping into the vast games available for PCs, it is only a patch for the greater problems that occur when playing PC games via Boot Camp. Gaming via Boot Camp utilizes limited graphics (dependent on PC compatible graphics drivers) and drains the battery quickly, not to mention that users still need to purchase a copy of the Windows operating system. For example, while running Civilization V on Boot Camp, graphics settings are barely tolerable and the game process is slow. However, running Civ V on the Mac is smoother than Pierce Brosnan in a suit. Playing games made for the Mac and on a Mac is going to remain the superior alternative to playing PC games via Boot Camp.
Macs as Gaming Computers
Macs are capable of being entertainment machines in addition to fulfilling their role as workhorses in many forms of development; they are known for their phenomenal graphics handling that allows for detailed, quick-running games. There are not enough gaming companies that take advantage of Apple’s innovations in personal computing. Until gaming companies develop Mac-compatible games in larger numbers of their own accord, increasing the availability of current titles through porting companies is the best way to change the perception of Macs as non-gaming computers.