MW: Improved iMac Graphics Not the Key to Games

Apple has improved the graphics card in the latest iMac, but that wonit make much difference for die hard gamers, and Apple doesnit seem to be anxious to fix that perpetual problem, according to Peter Cohen at Macworld on Thursday.

"Apple?s build-to-order configuration features both a 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo chip and Nvidia GeForce 8800GS graphics," Mr. Cohen noted. "And those are nice features?you can also get the Nvidia card as a $150 add-on to the top-of-the-line 24-inch 2.8GHz iMac if you want.

These cards can make a difference in the frame rate for first person shooter games, but they donit address the need to have even stronger graphics support for hard-core gamers. In addition, many gamers are not fond of the mandatory glossy screen.

In the final analysis: "Just adjusting one variable in this equation doesnit fix what?s wrong with Mac games. The fastest iMac in the world won?t change the fundamental truth that we need more game developers making games for the Mac, and more consumers buying Macs need to buy those games for the ecosystem to be healthy," Mr. Cohen explained.

"Ultimately, the buck stops in Cupertino?Apple needs not only to build better and faster hardware, but it needs to offer developers more incentives to create stunning, best-in-class and truly unique games for the platform," the Macworld gaming expert noted. "Maybe then the Mac will be taken seriously as a game system."

TMO notes that Apple has created for itself an eternal dilemma: consumer Macs must always be inferior to the professional level Macs. However, professional users who arenit in the video content creation industry seldom play games on their "Pro" computers. That has relegated consumer iMacs to second tier when it comes to games, and developers know it.

One way out of the dilemma may be simply to move on to another platform, the iPhone and the iPod touch, which have some great potential as game machines. There are indications that that is exactly what Apple is thinking.