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Monday, August 20, 2007
EA And The State Of Mac Gaming
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 12 comments

Ars Technica has posted a new article exploring the state of gaming on the Mac platform. EA's recent announcement of six Cider powered titles coming to Intel Macs, and the subsequent delay of those games, serves as the main focus of the article. Ars Technica also discusses the lack of good gaming hardware on lower end Mac models.

Gaming on the Mac, even after the Intel switch, is often still perceived as a joke. Although id, Epic, and Blizzard have worked diligently on their own titles in the past, gaming on the Mac today is still widely seen to be in the same state as it was 5 to 10 years ago: stale and unmoving, aside from the occasional crossover hit. Graphics cards on anything but Apple's professional-level (read: very expensive) Macs are still unimpressive and unappealing to anyone who takes gaming seriously. "For people with the high end gaming rigs, Mac hardware can still be a joke," one reader complained to me recently.

But for those who are able to make do with the Mac's limited selection of supported graphics cards, it's the state of the ports that seems to really be holding things back. Ports of games to the Mac just plain suck; they are usually slow, buggy, and "half-assed" compared to their PC counterparts. This is due in part to the fact that that many games are now DirectX-based, Microsoft's Windows-centric gaming API. Porting a game to OpenGL is difficult, and the number of game developers working natively in OpenGL seem to be getting smaller every day. The end result is that developers throw together Mac-compatible versions as an afterthought, and are also constantly playing catch-up to release those versions after their superior DirectX counterparts.

The good news is that where EA goes, others may follow.  EA itself is a bit of a puzzler in the gaming world: the company makes a number of hit games, yet gamers don't all agree that EA is a great company. "EA isn't exactly known for creating good software, but they can," said one reader. "[The delays] give me hope that they are making a real effort—not just getting it to run and calling it a day."
Read the rest of the article by following the link below.

Ars Technica: Gaming On The Mac

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