Updated Feb 14: Article originally published Feb 11
Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops have raised the bar in raw performance that a laptop can achieve. Much of this is due to the rigid and exclusive arrangement that Apple has between its proprietary hardware and software. But this tight integration is not without its problems. Something is missing from Apple’s laptops, and it’s not something that can be quickly or easily remedied.
What’s missing? Missing game.
Update: Tuesday, February 14: Putting the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro to the test, the Notebook Check team compared the Apple Silicon GPU inside the top-of-the-line macOS laptop with the closest Windows PC hardware… and Apple is holding back:
Native benchmarks like 3DMark Wildlife Extreme Unlimited show that the M2 Max GPU can even compete with RTX 3080 (Lenovo Legion 7 16) or RTX 3080 Ti (Alienware x15) laptops, while Geekbench performance is almost on par with the RTX 3060. graphics performance is stable under sustained workloads and even on battery power, which is definitely an advantage over Windows laptops with discrete GPUs.
If Apple has the underlying power of a gaming laptop, what’s stopping it from being a gaming laptop?
Let’s be clear; I’m using ‘games’ as an industry term rather than games because clearly there are games available for the Mac platform. I’m talking about the mainstream gaming industry that offers AAA titles, big names, long-running franchises and cultural moments. Why is it big news every time Apple gets a single bespoke title at the same time every other platform gets a truckload of titles to enjoy?
Leo Stevenson of Power Gaming highlights what’s on offer.
“…the number of big-budget games available for the Mac is limited. My Steam library is in the triple digits, but the number that runs on the Mac is less than a third. After taking into account that this MacBook cannot running 32-bit games, you lose even more.”
The Mac platform is not ready. For all the talk about the high performance and great potential of Apple Silicon chipsets, we won’t be seeing top-tier gaming on a gaming-focused MacBook Pro anytime soon.
Much of this is down to the hardware itself. Don’t forget that game developers would be adding another platform to the mix – Apple will have to sit alongside a wider range of PCs, the Sony Playstation, Microsoft’s Xbox and, no doubt, Nintendo’s Switch.
Apple Silicon offers faster and more efficient CPUs, improved GPUs and the opportunity to ‘port’ to the iPad and iPhone platforms. All great, but Apple isn’t using the ‘standard’ components you find in gaming industry PCs and consoles.
Apple might want gaming on the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and wide range of desktop computers. Apple might want to bring the best possible gaming experience to its users. But this is not something that can start internally and work in secret until a dramatic reveal. Here’s Tim Millet, Apple’s vice president of Platform Architecture and Hardware Technologies, on the issue of preparing the platform for a potential future:
“The other thing we wanted to do, and I think we hope we did, is seed the Mac, the full Mac lineup, with very capable GPUs, whether it’s the MacBook Air, obviously, up to the beast, Ultrachips that we can put in our Mac Studio. .” Because until you do that, until you have a distributed population, developers will be wary of making a big investment and kind of focus on the Mac.
The macOS platform is an impressive toolbox, but it’s a unique toolbox that Apple will need to work hard to inspire its use by the games industry. Transferring from Windows to Mac is not an easy task. And that will put a significant demand on any developer’s resources. Is there enough momentum from the Mac market right now to make this a profitable choice?
None of these are insurmountable long-term problems. While many of them are quite chicken and egg, Apple is showing unity in some areas, deciding to be the egg and invest in areas so that the macOS platform is ready to take on the gaming challenge when the industry feels it is ready to. join them.
But the platform doesn’t exist yet and Apple knows it. Here is Millets once again:
“Gamers are a serious bunch. And I don’t think we’re going to fool anyone by saying that overnight we’re going to make the Mac a great gaming platform. Let’s take a long view on this.”
For many, gaming on a laptop is a crucial consideration when buying a system. Apple is working hard to make hardware accessible to developers, to allow tools to work in the macOS ecosystem, and to release gaming-grade hardware to create a profitable and addressable gaming audience… Games belong together,
Apple knows that there is a huge gap in the MacBook market, and this problematic omission cannot be easily fixed.
Now read the latest mac, iPhone and iPad headlines in the Apple Loop, Forbes Weekly News Roundup…