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Tech

Apple discusses push toward high-end Mac gaming in new interview

ReverseRaymond Wong of Raymond Wong today published a detailed look at Apple’s growing push into high-end gaming on the Mac. The story includes comments from Apple marketing executives Gordon Keppel and Leland Martin.

One of the main reasons gaming has improved on Macs in recent years is the move from Intel processors to Apple silicon, which allows MacBooks to deliver peak performance per watt. Additionally, the latest M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips for Mac feature hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading for improved graphics rendering, which is especially beneficial for high-end AAA games.

“Now all Macs that ship with Apple silicon can play AAA games pretty fantastically,” Keppel said. “Apple silicon has transformed our traditional systems and achieved huge graphics improvements with M1, M2 and now with M3.”

Apple silicon also allows the Mac to have the same underlying hardware architecture as the iPhone and iPad, simplifying the development process.

“If you look at the Mac lineup just a few years ago, there was a mix of integrated and discrete GPUs,” Martin said. “This can add complexity when you’re developing games. Because you have to consider several different hardware permutations. Today, we’ve completely eliminated that with Apple silicon, now creating a unified gaming platform on iPhone , iPad and Mac. a game is built for one platform, it’s a simple process to bring it to the other two. We see this happening with games like Resident Evil Village which launched first (on Mac), followed by iPhone and iPad.

A new technology incorporated into the M3 family of chips is dynamic caching, which allows the GPU to allocate memory usage in real time. Apple says this feature “significantly increases GPU utilization and performance” for demanding applications and games.

Apple has also made improvements to games, on the software side. macOS Sonoma features a new gaming mode that temporarily prioritizes CPU and GPU performance for games. Game Mode also reduces audio latency on AirPods and reduces input latency with popular third-party game controllers by doubling the Bluetooth sample rate.

Earlier this year, Apple released a new toolkit that makes it easier for game developers to port Windows games to Mac. The toolkit provides an emulation environment that allows developers to run their existing, unmodified Windows game on Mac and quickly evaluate how well the game might run on macOS before writing any code.

“We’ve clearly seen interest from developers and publishers like Kojima Productions and Annapurna Interactive Games in how to leverage both parts of the Game Porting Toolkit,” Martin said. “When you download the toolkit, it’s actually two parts. There’s this emulation environment and that helped demonstrate today’s game: you add an existing Windows game and see what point it could work on Mac. The second part is the Metal shader converter and it is here to help developers convert their tens of thousands of shader codes to Metal. And they have praised how incredibly useful this is and how this saved them a lot of time in their development schedule.

Several high-profile games launched on Mac this year, including one Resident Evil 4 redo, Resident Evil Village, WanderAnd Baldur’s Gate 3. Death Stranding Director’s Cut And Assassin’s Creed Mirage are also expected to launch on Mac next year.

The complete interview on Reverse is an interesting read for those interested in Mac gaming.

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