Some interesting stats on MacOS and gaming, from Valve's Steam hardware survey. The population is self-selecting but somewhat representative of the gamer community. Steam has been available on the Mac since May 2010.
  • 5% of Steam installs run MacOS.
  • 48% of Macs are MacBookPros. 31% are iMacs.
  • The most common GPU (24%) is the NVidia 9400M. Or not: the MacBook Pro contained both a 9400M and a 9600M GT and Valve may not report that accurately. This benchmark database says the 9400M is dog slow but the 9600M is somewhat reasonable for low-end games.
  • 29% of Mac users have 512MB of VRAM or more (compare 86% of Windows users)
  • 74% of Mac users have 4GB of RAM or more (compare 52% of Windows users)
What does this mean? 5% is a tiny minority of desktop computer gamers. And very few of those 5% have serious gamer graphics capabilities. Given that, it's hard to see how it's cost effective for mainstream games to support the Mac. No surprise, honestly, but there's some data to back up the assumption.

I'm loving my new Mac but I'm coming to the conclusion MacOS is not suitable for an omnivorous gamer. Blizzard and Valve have both committed to the Mac but most PC games never make it over and the few that do are often low quality ports that come out months late. And graphics libraries are a mess. Of course DirectX is a non-starter, but even OpenGL and OpenCL support are years behind.

  2011-08-10 18:23 Z