Are MacBooks good for gaming?
MacBooks are well known for their build quality, beautiful design, and use in the creative industry, but less known for gaming. Part of the reason for this is because, in the past, gamers typically used dedicated game consoles, with more ‘hardcore’ gamers playing PC games on custom-built PCs. Equivalent Macs were often more expensive, not upgradable and many games weren’t designed for macOS, so the gaming community and Windows lovers have been known to turn their noses up at Apple.
Nowadays, the gaming industry has come a long way, with the popularity of mobile and online gaming transforming the types of games we play and the number of people that play them. The wide adoption of Apple devices has also encouraged game developers to make more games available on Apple. As a result, the majority of major games are now supported by the Mac, Apple even has their own gaming subscription called Apple Arcade.
Steam is a popular online game platform from which you can purchase a number of games. The majority of games are now designed to run on both Windows and Mac. The image below shows the top 5 games on Steam, all of which are supported on both Windows and Mac.
Steam top selling games, available on both Windows and Mac
Which Mac is the best for gaming
The answer to this question depends on what type of game you are playing. Similar to when you are looking at a piece of software, it’s always best to check compatibility and what hardware is recommended.
In the past, Mac devices that had more powerful processors, dedicated graphics cards, and 16GB memory were best suited to gaming - that is the 15 and 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 4K and 5K iMac, and of course the Mac Pro and iMac Pro. Apple’s new Silicon models offer significant increases in performance compared to their Intel predecessors, meaning you can now play many games using an M1 MacBook Air, or 13” MacBook Pro.
What you’ll typically find is that more basic games will run on most modern Macs, however, games that are more demanding might will require newer and more powerful models.
Things to check if you want to play a game on your Mac
- Is the game available on a Mac?
- Does your Mac meet the game's recommended system requirements?
- If you have an Apple Silicon model, does the game support Apple Silicon?
All of this information should be available on the games website.
Is a Mac better than a PC for gaming
Modern Macs are incredibly capable and can handle most things you chuck at them, that’s why they’re the industry standard for many professional musicians, designers, and editors. If you want to play a game at the end of each day, the Mac is well suited.
However, if you are planning on purchasing a computer primarily for gaming a custom-built PC is likely a better choice. The big benefit here is that they are designed to be upgradable and more flexible, meaning as requirements change over time you have the option to upgrade components as necessary and you connect them to your favourite display and hardware as you like.