Gaming on a Mac® System: The Benefits and Limitations

Looking to dive into the world of computer gaming with your Mac? Find out the benefits and limitations of gaming on a Mac system, including the availability of games, software, and hardware implications and what to consider with your budget.

The history of gaming and Macs

PCs have been the mainstay of gamers for years, with PC gamers around the world clocking hours of game time online. Traditionally, PC gamers have taken pride not only in their ability to play, but in their ability to modify their gaming PCs into highly powered machines. Read more about the advantages of Mac products and PCs in other areas.

Because of the higher graphic quality of the early Macs, gaming was a natural fit, and the first games were made for Macs. Game developers moved away from developing for the Apple® operating system after Apple moved most of their software in-house.  

Games available for Mac

Mac computer monitor with a video game featured on the screen.

For many years, it was almost impossible to find major game titles that could run on the Mac operating system, leaving people to wonder if any Macs were good for gaming. That has changed, with many popular games now available for Mac gamers.

Many digital distribution platforms have games for the Mac OS, many are the same games available for Microsoft® Windows®. In addition, if you have a Windows computer as well as a Mac, and you’ve purchased games for Windows, you should have access to the Mac version, as well. And vice versa. Games specifically designed for both Windows and Mac can be cross-platform compatible allowing players to play together, however not all games are designed that way.

If there is a game you want to play that isn’t available for OS X®, you can use Boot Camp® Assistant to install Windows on your Mac. You can then run any Windows game, or even work applications.

Of course, like any other system, check your hardware specifications for the game you want to play to make sure it will run smoothly on your Mac. In general, if you have an Intel® Core™ processor and a separate GPU you can play most games.

While Macs are great at what they’re designed to do, older Macs might not have components installed that are robust enough for gaming. Check the specifications on all your hardware, but especially your integrated graphics card to make sure it can run the games you’re interested in without lagging or stuttering. 

Virtual reality gaming and Macs

Macs with appropriate hardware are starting to edge into VR. OS X High Sierra has native support for virtual reality. Concurrently, Steam is offering an SDK for the HTC VIVE™ headset to take advantage of the new support. You will need to check the specifications of the components in your system to make sure they can handle the demands of VR.

Mac computer with a virtual reality headset.

Budget considerations

The cost is one factor; for the amount of money you would spend on a Mac, you can build or buy a fairly high-powered gaming PC. But, if you have a Mac for other purposes, gaming is another thing you can do with your system.

While Macs can be used for gaming, it seems unlikely that anyone would buy a Mac for the sole purpose of gaming.

Check the graphics card especially if you have a MacBook®, mobile graphics cards are sometimes even less robust than a desktop graphics card. Also, be aware that some games are very resource-hungry and can drain your battery quickly.

There’s no reason you can’t enter the world of gaming if you have a Mac as your main computer. You no longer need to have a Windows PC to play all the popular games.

©2017 Micron Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Information, products, and/or specifications are subject to change without notice. Neither Crucial nor Micron Technology, Inc. is responsible for omissions or errors in typography or photography. Micron, the Micron logo, Crucial, and the Crucial logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Micron Technology, Inc. Mac, Apple, OS X, Boot Camp, and MacBook are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Apple, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries. Steam is a trademark of Valve Corporation. is a registered trademark or trademark of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., in the United States and/or other countries. Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Intel and Core are either a registered trademark or trademark of IBM Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. HTC VIVE is a registered trademark or trademark of HTC Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.


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