Why do Macs still have a bad reputation for gaming?

The Windows versus Mac debate is one that has been raging for years and it is not going to end any time soon. Like the Steelers versus the Browns or Rangers vs Celtic in Scottish soccer, it is a topic on which opinions become ingrained and there is no room for middle ground.

Or is there? One point on which there has been a general consensus over the years has been on the topic of gaming. But is it really deserved? And if so, why does the Mac continue to lag behind Windows in what is becoming an increasingly important aspect of our digital lives?

The changing face of gaming

To a certain extent, the whole idea that a Mac is unsuitable for gaming is a hangover from a bygone age. Today, there are thousands of online games ranging from brain teasers like Sudoku or Words With Friends and to casino games such as slots or roulette and an ever growing number of new websites where you can play them.

The processing power of any modern machine is more than a match for these types of gaming apps, and even a $200 Chromebook will provide a more than adequate experience. To suggest that any Mac would fail to deliver with games like these is clearly a nonsense, and the truth is that millions of Mac users are casual gamers who enjoy a trouble-free experience.

Hardware considerations

Of course, for some, gaming means more than a flash-based online app. In the booming world of eSport, games like CS:GO and DOTA play in 1080p full HD and place significant demands on your hardware. At first glance, this should still not present a problem. After all, Macs are famous for top-notch processing power that can put most Windows PCs to shame. But it is not quite that simple.

The issue is that unlike a Windows PC or laptop, your standard Mac relies solely on integrated graphics, and does not have a dedicated graphics card. It would be harsh to describe this as a flaw or a shortcoming. The entire ethos of the Mac’s design is to deliver optimum power in as small and light a package as possible. It’s primarily designed for work over play, and to bulk it out in this way purely to enhance its gaming capability would be counterproductive.

Fewer software options

The hardware limitations are actually not as limiting a factor now as they might have been a decade ago. But the reputation has stuck and as a result, game developers continue to look first and foremost at the Windows market. Given gaming’s more widespread appeal in the modern era, that is potentially a mistake, but the fact remains that if you take a look at, for example, the Steam Store, there are roughly three times as many games available for Windows as there are for Mac.

From a pragmatic perspective, then, there is no disputing that Windows continues to offer more choices to gamers than Mac. However, it is a situation to which the industry is gradually awakening. Mac’s global market share continues to rise, and developing games for both Windows and Mac is becoming the obvious choice for developers. Perhaps the Mac’s poor reputation among gamers is one that is finally going to be shaken off once and for all.