M1 Macs and the Future of Apple Gaming
In the last few weeks Apple have released their very first MacBook with their self-designed CPU. This is the start of them moving away from Intel chips inside their laptops and desktop computers. We want players to be able to enjoy our games on as many machines as possible, so we got a MacBook Air to try it out. We were delighted, our games play well. One of my personal favourites, Mexican Train Dominoes Classic, plays perfectly. The iPad compatibility is impressive. Apps work and some productivity applications don’t even betray their iPad roots. This machine absolutely deserves the glowing reviews it’s been getting!
As for the iPad compatibility, I’ve found it a great bonus. The iPad has ended up getting its own collection of productivity software and games which I can now use. Anything that can be played with a single touch is perfect. Not all games and apps have been made available by the developers, but there are many that have. Previous purchases can be restored and the experience once you’ve found the apps that you want is, in most cases, seamless.
Of course, after work this shiny new gadget begged to be played with! So, I installed a game that I love: BattleTech. It does have a few bugs, but I was amazed it ran at all! What astounded me was how good the graphics were on this entry level laptop. I’ve tried running AAA games on Apple laptops before, but they’ve never been worth effort. Even my perennial favourite game of Worms runs terribly on a machine without an additional graphics card. It was a jerky, awful experience, even with time spent changing to the lowest settings.
Now business trips away will be filled with gaming goodness! Real high-quality games running well at good resolutions. I did some studying and found that the built-in GPU of Apple’s M1 chip is as powerful, maybe slightly more so, than the 1070Ti NVidia GeForce graphics card. Now granted this graphics card was released a few years ago, but epic games can finally be enjoyed. That’s the first time that’s ever happened on a basic Mac!
Now I don’t see this necessarily changing the world, but for many people owning a good laptop that can play games has traditionally meant buying a Windows PC. There’s really been no choice for anyone who needs and can only afford a single portable machine that they want to play blockbuster games on. That’s changed now, and of course, Apple’s design is beautiful and their products are reliable. I never thought I would see the day when I could recommend a basic Mac (well, do spend the extra $250 to get the machine above the very lowest one) to anyone who wanted to a play Call of Duty sometimes! It looks like Apple have just expanded the number of players that game developers will be able to offer their work to on the Mac. It’s a subtle change, one that I can’t imagine will yield immediate results, but in the long run it makes their machine more viable for many more people. It might start nudging consumers towards Apple computers, and I wonder if it will increase Apple’s market share?
With the iPad compatibility and stunning speed of new MacBook Air I can imagine these machines selling exceptionally well. However, things only start changing for game developers if more Macs are sold and enough users of the new Macs start using their machines more often to play games. Many games aren’t ported over from their Windows PC originals, but I expect the balance to shift.