View Full Version : Why do iMacs have (too) low gaming performance?

This topic is only about iMacs regarding gaming, since the other Macs are in addition not designed for gaming; they're more workstations than anything.

I like Apple's technology. Quite frankly, I like OS X more than Windows for multiple reasons. However, iMacs don't perform sufficiently when it comes to gaming. Even though this is a very known fact, I still haven't managed to find out why this is so. It's very noticeable that most game developers don't make their games compatible for OS X, and that's not a coincidence. I believe that game developers don't make their games compatible for OS X because Macs don't have sufficient gaming performance, and not that Apple doesn't design Macs with sufficient gaming performance because most game developers don't make their games compatible for OS X.

So, what's the deal with this particular issue?

The performance of a machine has nothing to do with the OS, performance is related to the hardware. iMac's typically use onboard or intel cpu graphics (no dedicated GPU) which are not idea for gaming. Mac's also typically cost more for the same hardware you could buy running windows or hardware built custom with no OS.

However writers do not write games for OS X due to the very limited population that uses OS X. ~95% of the world population uses windows so writers make games for Windows mostly due to this factor.

There are some Mac computers that are capable of gaming. For example the new Mac Pro (most of the models with decent hardware) would do fine gaming.

Ask yourself this question: if you were a programmer that made a game, who would you write that game for: 95% of the population or 5% of the population? You could in most cases write the game to be compatible with both or all OS's but why would you spend the extra time in making it cross platform compatbile to target only an extra 5% of the population?

Don't get me wrong, Mac OS X has some advantages in some areas but the problem is not hardware related, it is a numbers game. Game developers and the companies they work for want the biggest bang for their efforts so they write the games for platforms that are popular.

Here is a decent list of OS's in use on desktops, most are windows OS's, if you add them all up it is roughly 90% windows, however this list may be developed using computers sold with operating systems already installed which means custom builds may not be included. Most custom builders use windows because mac os does not support many hardware configurations. Mac os only works with pretty specific hardware. Some people do create custom machines running OS X, these are sometimes called "hackintosh" computers. When building a "Hackintosh" you have to be very specific about which components you buy to make sure OS X supports it.

Operating systems in use:


On the basis of those statistics, I don't think that Apple and the video game-industry will play major roles in the advancements of each other any time soon, which is unfortunate.