Blizzard did not have a booth at this MACWORLD Expo. Neither did MacSoft. Nor did NVIDIA or ATI. (All but ATI did have their products on display in the gaming arcade.) According to most of the show attendees that we have spoken with, however, Mac gaming is alive and well, thanks to strong graphics and OS X.
Robert Hazelrigg, an art director at a dotcom realtor, excitedly told us "I am glad there are a whole lot more f****** games than before." A MWNY veteran, he appreciates the broader variety and larger quantity of games on display. Steven Sheppard, a consulting firm employee, expressed the same view with more caution: "Iim not disappointed" with the selection, he said. His impression is "definitely more positive" than in years past. "There are so many more games now" than two years ago, said David Morris, a student of law. He has not been using OS X, but he has "been waiting for a good game to come out." College Professor Philip Ruizis first impression of the gaming area was that he saw "a lot more [titles] than before" and "a lot better quality graphics wise."
Attendees give Mac OS X much of the credit for the improvement. Nearly everyone we talked to used words like "faster," "smoother," and "more stable" to describe the OS. Mr. Ruiz said that the reason for the increase in titles was "probably OS X," and Paul McGrame, who works with a security firm, said that OS X is "good for developers."
Many people also claim that the games look particularly good on the Macs. Mr. Ruiz said his PC using friends envy the way games look on his Mac. Mr. Morris lauded Appleis "incredible monitors." (The gaming area is littered with Appleis vast Cinema Displays.)
It is worth noting that the gamers themselves seem more diverse than in past years. The people we spoke with were gamers of all types, from student and first person shooter enthusiast Alex Ulmann to strategy gamer Philip Ruiz. Mr. Hazelrigg alone was interested in three different genres: shooter Jedi Knight II, strategy game Warcraft III, and Ambrosia Softwareis casual titles.
Still, there is a much greater volume of PC games on the market, and Mac gamers still realize that. Mr. Ulmann complained that there is "not as much variety" on the Mac but thinks that the volume of Mac games is "eventually going to rise" to meet that of PC games. Consultant Jeff Orzeck said that in the "last couple of years Iive started using Windows more" for games, because of the greater variety. Mr. Ruiz admitted, "Itis better than before...but PCs" still have more games. Comparing the battle between Windows and Mac OS to the VHS/BetaMax battle of the i80s, Mr. Ruiz said that he wasnit sure how to fix the discrepancy when software is so much cheaper on the PC.
Still, the tempo in the gaming area was fast, and the attendees were generally pleased with what they saw. "If you want to go Mac from start to finish, thereis really no reason not to," said Mr. Morris as he scanned over the arcade. We couldnit agree more.