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Apple Needs To Get Its Game On 332

Posted by Zonk
from the step-up-to-the-plate dept.
BusinessWeek is running a piece exploring why Apple needs to get back into gaming. From the article: "Maybe Apple's user base just isn't fully aware of great games that are now available for the Mac? Sure, there are games to be found at the Apple store, prominently displayed in the software section. But does Apple market the Mac as a gaming machine? Adams says it should. 'The biggest thing that Apple could do is educate its users,' she says. 'Apple's message is so closely tied to iTunes and iLife and the iPod and these are all great selling points. We have a great relationship with Apple and they help us get the games ready. But we really need the users to meet us halfway, and only Apple can make that happen.'"
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Apple Needs To Get Its Game On

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  • Educating users ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alexhs (877055) on Friday June 02, 2006 @03:55PM (#15457804) Homepage Journal
    The biggest thing that Apple could do is educate its users

    Educate them how ? Like Bob or Clippy ? Like Vista (à la "You need more privileges to move that file") ? No, thanks ! :)
  • FTFA: At one stage, I turned to eBay (EBAY) to buy a used PowerBook G3 with OS 8.1 installed, just so I could play Mac C&C.

    So THIS is the guy that ended up with the P-P-Powerbook!

    I'll bet it still managed to run C&C, though....
  • by soft_guy (534437) on Friday June 02, 2006 @03:58PM (#15457837)
    You can play any Infocom game on the Mac. Who cares about anything else?
  • 'Apple's message is so closely tied to iTunes and iLife and the iPod and these are all great selling points.'

    How about iCantPlayFPSWithOneMouseButton . . . thanks, I'll be here all week (or until the mods show up). Tip your waiters.
  • I hope so (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JeanBaptiste (537955)
    I have fond memories of apple gaming, back in the day. Karateka, Wavy-Navy, Oregon Trail, even Number Munchers.
  • Surely given that Apple's next os release will apparently let you dual boot to XP, you could use the XP boot for games, and Apple's OS for all the stuff it's been used so for. At least till we get games coming out that require Vista, I suppose. I guess it's a question of profitably - it'd be possible to convert a great many games on the Mac, but the returns wouldn't be that great until more Mac owners get into gaming. But since there aren't all that many games for Macs, it's catch 22.
  • by bersl2 (689221) on Friday June 02, 2006 @03:59PM (#15457855) Journal
    Convince more game devs to use OpenGL, libSDL, OpenAL, and other cross-platform libraries, lest they settle with straight DirectX. Ports become very easy (and presumably less expensive) to do, making it more likely that a port will turn a profit. And we all know how the suits love a profit.
    • Convince more game devs to use OpenGL, libSDL, OpenAL, and other cross-platform libraries, lest they settle with straight DirectX.

      Can DirectX be licensed from Microsoft and ported to MacOSX, or is it tied to some technology that is Windows Only?

      I know it would defeat the purpose of using Open standards, but wouldn't it make easier to port games?
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:48PM (#15458231)
      The game developers I know dislike the cross platform tools. They don't dislike that they are cross platform, they just find them inferior to work with compared to DirectX, they find it's a lot more work. One of my friends, who's currently learning all this for the first time (he's at a game dev school at SMU) says how much more work it was for him to get his engine to work in OpenGL mode than it was in DirectX mode (their project requires both).

      Now, maybe these guys just aren't very good. Ok, fair enough but you have to consider those people as well as the Carmacks. You cannot make the argument that everyone should be a grand master, most people aren't.

      Well, the problem is if 99% of developers find DirectX easier than the cross platform tools, they are more likely to use it. Again you come to economics. You are going to make, by far, more money on Windows than any other platform. So you calculate how much you think you'll make cross platform (and you probably lowball it since you want to CYA) vs how much extra cost in dev time using APIs your programmers don't liek will add (and you highball that for the same reason) and the conclusion is you don't do the port.

      From talking to my friend the cross platform stuff just needs a lot of simplification and unification. He claims it takes much less effort to make something work in DirectX than OpenGL and that everything in DirectX, be it 2D, 3D, input, sound, etc is all done in the same way.

      So I think what needs to be done first is to out slick DirectX. Produce a unified API that does everything, and does it easier than DX does. You have a leg up in that regard as you aren't shackled to any legacy designs. Make it so that, even if they don't plan on porting, developers want to use it because it is so much better. Port the API to everything, Windows, Mac, Liunx, the consoles, and so on. Then it becomes much easier to make the port argument "Well if you are going to use AwesomeAPI anyhow it takes very little time to port cross platform."

      But I do think the better API has to come first. Make it a benefit, not a sacrafice.
      • From talking to my friend the cross platform stuff just needs a lot of simplification and unification. He claims it takes much less effort to make something work in DirectX than OpenGL and that everything in DirectX, be it 2D, 3D, input, sound, etc is all done in the same way.

        As a general observation, to me this screams "My friend is not a very good programmer" quite loudly. If you disagree, ask your friend to show you, say, the DirectX code needed to render a single triangle, and then the same code fo

    • Of course, you left out the difficult part where you tell us how you will convince devs to not use DirectX. They certainly like it, so it must provide some advantage to them (lower costs, faster time to market, etc).

      Now with even John Carmack singing the praises of MS's "XNA" XBox360 stuff, OpenGL seems headed back to the workstation market.
    • Not ports to Xbox or Xbox 360; those become more difficult. It doesn't help that I've never seen a really, truly commercial-grade SDL game. (Although I've seen a few in OpenGL, or using some combination of DirectX and OpenGL.)

      • Not ports to Xbox or Xbox 360; those become more difficult. It doesn't help that I've never seen a really, truly commercial-grade SDL game. (Although I've seen a few in OpenGL, or using some combination of DirectX and OpenGL.)


        Hmmmm I believe UT2003/4 and Doom 3 (Quake 4? have not tried that) use SDL for Mac & Linux Clients.

        I think they are "industrial strength" bah.
    • hold on (Score:3, Interesting)

      by goldcd (587052)
      OpenGL has fallen way behind DirectX.
      Open GL and DirectX are both supported on XP and in GPU drivers. If people have given up developing on OpenGL (which has more scope to be ported) and have moved to DirectX, maybe that's because a) it's better and b) it's easier to develop for.
      If you own a decently specced machine (i.e. decent GPU) then in all likelihood you've got a recently produced intel-based Apple machine.
      Just buy XP. Use OSX for everything else by all means - but games take over the whole user in
    • It's not a technical thing. It's a licensing thing. The porting house needs to secure all the licenses for the game and the middleware. Then probably draw up more contracts still. Then secure the code and art assets. Most of the time, this doesn't happen until the PC version ships... some of the time, not for a few months after that. It's good ol' American corporate paranoia.

      Porting probably isn't the type of activity that you can throw more programmers at... TFA says that they have 5 porters, and that's pr
  • by drgroove (631550) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:01PM (#15457865)
    This is the only logical step for the company. Microsoft and Sony both have their own gaming systems; Nintendo is the only independent company left still making a system that isn't also part of a PC/Media company.

    An Apple/Nintendo merger makes quite a bit of sense from a corporate culture perspective as well - Nintendo, like Apple, is the smaller, more personal of the gaming companies, focused on user experience more than sheer graphic/processing power. From a philosophical standpoint, their directions align nicely.

    Additionally, Nintendo could help Apple expand into the Japanese / Asian market with other consumer electronics, given Nintendo's HQ and savvy with that marketplace.

    • One other point - IIRC, Nintendo's OS is UNIX-based (someone correct me on this if this isn't right).

      If correct, not to say that it would be academic to port Nintendo games to Apple, but the path would be a little more straightforward than if Nintendo were Windows CE based, for example.

      Also, their portables products could eventually merge into a reasonable competitor for the PSP - GameBoy/DS+iPod, anyone?
      • The OS matters dramatically less than the graphics API. What would make a far bigger difference in Wii and Apple porting would be if the Wii supported OpenGL, since that's what one uses on OSX.
    • Apple's Market Cap is ~$50bn. Nintendo's is ~$27bn. Could Apple "buy them out"?
    • Seeing as Nintendo has been an independent company for over 100 years, is making a shitload of money as is, and has never shown any interest in the PC market even when it rules games with the NES, I don't see this happening. Nor would the two cultures really fit well- Apple's strategy is selling hardware at an insane price premium via a combination of software and fanboyism. Nintendo is about selling low cost game platforms and making money on first party titles and licensing. A merger between Sony and
    • Apple should buy Nintendo...

      Realistically, that's not going to happen. Before the switch to Intel processors they were ideally positioned for a partnership. It would have been relatively easy for Macs to ship with the ability to run all Nintendo games, thus bolstering both Nintendo game sales, and Mac OS's deficient game lineup. Now, it would be a bit harder and I think it less likely. Apple could buy a few gaming companies or otherwise arrange for some exclusive titles, but I'm not sure it would be enou

    • by cowscows (103644) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:44PM (#15458206) Journal
      I know of a small sandwich shop down the street which is less about undercutting its competitors' prices, and more about providing a pleasant experience for their customers. Should Apple buy them as well?

      There's a lot of parallels that you can draw between Apple and Nintendo, but that doesn't mean it makes any sense for them to merge. Why is it bad that Nintendo is an independent company? Why would Apple want to outlay a huge pile of money to buy them? How many years would it take for that purchase to pay itself off? Would it even work? Even if there was no interruption to either business, and they both continued to turn a profit, the purchase price would be very large, and it'd take many years for the profit to cover those initial costs. Apple is doing pretty well financially, but I still don't think they can afford to buy their way into a huge market like MS is doing.

      Apple is already well respected in Japan. They don't need Nintendo's help. Nintendo doesn't need their help. I really don't see the logic in it at all. Sorry :(
    • by dR.fuZZo (187666) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:47PM (#15458225)
      And they could call the new company Nipple.
    • I don't know about buying Nintendo, but I think that developing an entertainment console (games, sure, but build in iTunes and other Apple media technologies, too) and making it easy to port back to the OS X computer line from the console might be a sane, if expensive and somewhat risky, strategy for Apple to boost their OS's position as a gaming platform, and perhaps more generally.
  • by Faust7 (314817) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:02PM (#15457881) Homepage
    Anyone remember the days when games actually came out first on Apple computers? All sorts of stuff used to debut on the Apple II - Castle Wolfenstien, Boulder Dash, Karateka (the precursor to Prince of Persia)...
  • by Aaron England (681534) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:05PM (#15457908)
    Apple has a website [apple.com] dedicated to advertising the games that are available for the Mac. A cursory glance of the titles gives the impression that Apple actually has a large videogame library. However upon a closer scrutinization the games are a generation or two behind a series that is currently available to the PC. For example, Apple has Battlefield 1942, but they don't have Battlefield 2. Apple has Civilization III but they don't have Civilization IV. Apple has Ghost Recon but not Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. If Apple really wants to win over the gamer market they are going to have to end the typical 6-12 month delay that a game experiences before being ported to a Mac, if it is ported at all. Otherwise the gamers demographic will continue to be dominated by Microsoft.
    • by King_TJ (85913) on Friday June 02, 2006 @05:00PM (#15458303) Journal
      You're correct that Mac games aren't released as quickly as their PC counterparts - BUT, the flip-side of this is, they also don't release titles of unknown quality, only to end up upsetting people who pay out $40 or even $50 for something that's a total flop.

      In the current state of Mac gaming, small companies like Aspyr and MacPlay only want to expend effort porting a title that's already proven to be a "winner" in the Windows world.

      Right now, no - a "hard core gamer" won't really be happy with a Mac. They want the latest stuff the day it's first released, and they also tend to spend crazy amounts on money on the latest video cards, just for an extra 15 frames per second improvement.

      In general, Mac users buy their machines with intentions of getting useful work done. Most PowerMac owners I know use them for projects that pay back more than the cost of the whole machine upon a single project's completion. (Wedding videographers and photographers, for example ... or graphics artists designing corporate flyers and artwork for product boxes.) Gaming is also a potential interest, but more of a casual one. They'll buy a good game here or there, but aren't concerned with it being something that "just came out".

      That said, I think one problem with Mac action games has traditionally been the way the PPC chip does math. The coders of Doom 3 complained about this holding them back from getting the game running on parity, speed-wise, with the Windows counterpart. With Intel based Macs, maybe they're finally free of this issue.
    • The Mac port of Civ IV [aspyr.com] comes out this month, but it's system requirements are pretty crazy!
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:07PM (#15457924) Homepage
    was switch to Intel. The G5s were nice processors, but the 1.67 GHz G4 in my PowerBook just can't compete with the 3 GHz processors you could get in Wintel laptops at the same time. A 2.5 GHz G5 doesn't compete well against a 3.2 GHz dual core Index or AMD.

    Apple's CPUs just weren't up to snuff. Now they are. Next up, graphics cards. I've heard the Mac versions are often terribly slow (mostly from arriving 1+ year after the PC part) for the desktops. The chip in my PowerBook was nice, but it was no screamer either. They also need to fix the integrated graphics issue (which is partially Intel's fault. Who makes a non-T&L chip in 2006?).

    • I'm not sure what Apple can do to "fix" the integrated graphics issue. I mean, looking at almost every PC laptop in that $1000-1500 price range, which the MacBook exists in, the Intel Integrated Graphics 950 chip seems to be one of the most common graphics chipsets available. Apple is currently using the ATI X1600 (in 128 or 256 meg variants) in the MacBook Pro and the iMac, and seem to basically be on par with the PC version (although the MBP X1600 is dramatically underclocked, apparently for heat and battery life reasons..... a number of MBP owners have clocked it back up to normal speeds though without too much problem). Given the MBP form factor the ATI X1600 is one of the better cards you can even get right now (and similar offerings from Asus and Acer use a similar video card...... it's really only when you get to the 17" behemoths that the competition is offering stuff like the 7900GS and 7900GTX, which Apple isn't yet offering anything to compete with).
    • Who makes a non-T&L chip in 2006?

      people marketing a computer for business use?
      Business doesn't need T&L. Its sole purpose is for gaming.

      this is why the boys in the data entry department are getting Dimension 1100s and not XPS 9,000,000s
  • by necro2607 (771790) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:08PM (#15457936)
    I can relate to what this guy is saying.

    Macs are 100% capable of running all the latest games, and doing it well. Hell, these days they are basically a typical x86 machine with a totally ideal OS. You can get the most recent powerful video cards no problem, so it's not like performance is an issue, especially considering that every new Mac has a cutting edge Intel CPU in it (other than the G5s).

    It would be nice if, for example, developers would use OpenGL more often considering it's actually the only reasonably cross-platform 3d API that has fairly widespread acceptance. I can't understand why companies willfully lock themselves into a Fisher-Price platform just because all the kiddies use it. It's frustrating as hell to me that game development companies are so shallow that literally all they care about is what will make them money.

    I guess I'm just too idealistic in imagining a world where software is written with adherence to cross-platform standards, where people can run the same pieces of software regardless of what platform they prefer.

    I shouldn't have to be locked out of huge portions of the software industry because I purchase the computers that work best for me. Unfortunately, it seems that "those who make the decisions" don't agree with that sentiment at all.
    • by Moridineas (213502) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:46PM (#15458221) Journal
      FWIW, OSX is still not an ideal gaming platform. You mention OpenGL--take a look at the world of warcraft Mac technical support forum, or various benchmarks sets. On identical hardware, OSX WoW performance lags very far behind windows.

      And this from Blizzard, a company that has always been very with-it, wrt cross-platform design.
      • Yeah but that's because today's 3d cards are geared towards DirectX optimization because supposedly DirectX rules the world or whatever, while OpenGL is just a "standard" they keep in line with. OpenGL is considered pretty "secondary" and thus doesn't get the special treatment on video cards from ATI and Nvidia...
      • At this point, I really don't care. I'd be happy if Apple and Apple game developers took the Nintendo road and quit trying to chase fps counts in FPSs and concentrated on making, you know, great games. Differentiate the Apple market by focusing on producing the coolest, oddest, quirky, whatever games possible. Apple has enough money, I'd love to see them open a games studio, but instead of trying to break records with budgets, concentrate on making the best gameplay out there.
    • I can't understand why companies willfully lock themselves into a Fisher-Price platform just because all the kiddies use it.

      Question, meet answer.
    • by mypalmike (454265) on Friday June 02, 2006 @05:09PM (#15458364) Homepage
      It's frustrating as hell to me that game development companies are so shallow that literally all they care about is what will make them money.

      One day while working at Looking Glass Studios some years back, I was called to an all-hands company meeting. It turned out the meeting was the announcement that it was to be the last day of the company's existence. Why were we closing down? Money. We had none, and we owed lots. Everyone at the meeting was sad, from playtesters to the president. Why sad? Because we had a great team that had made some great games, and we were in the process of making even better ones. Not because we were money-grubbing pigs.

      The reason game companies care about making money is so that they can stay solvent and make more games.

      To your other point, every game company I know of uses some sort of platform-agnostic libraries/framework/etc. But compiled code does not a shipping product make. Optimizations, installers, QA, packaging, distribution channels, you name it. It all costs money, and if the result isn't a net gain, it means the company can't afford it. Do you buy things you can't afford?
      • That is a really crazy comment to read when I literally just installed a copy of System Shock 2 last week, having never played it before... and it's amazing that you guys didn't get rich as hell off this game. It's awesome in every sense of the word.

        However this is exactly what I wish more companies could say: "Because we had a great team that had made some great games, and we were in the process of making even better ones. Not because we were money-grubbing pigs." That very attitude produced a totally infl
      • by node 3 (115640) on Friday June 02, 2006 @11:01PM (#15460122)
        OP: It's frustrating as hell to me that game development companies are so shallow that literally all they care about is what will make them money.

        You: The reason game companies care about making money is so that they can stay solvent and make more games.

        Spot the difference.

        No one is saying game companies shouldn't worry about making money, but that they should, first and foremost, care about making great games. Money just happens to be the second-most critical requirement for making great games (the first is talent).

        Think about it personally. Do you only care about making money? No. Do you care about making money? Yes. Big difference.

        To your other point, every game company I know of uses some sort of platform-agnostic libraries/framework/etc.

        Except for those that go with DirectX, which do, sadly, exist.

        Do you buy things you can't afford?

        C'mon, this is America. Of *course* we do. But no one is asking came companies to buy (develop) a game they can't afford. Instead, we just want them to make the best games that they can afford, and not simply make the games that will make them the most money regardless of quality.

        Of course, you might ask, "why should a company not seek the most money possible?" That's a shallow question (not aimed at you, unless it's a question you'd ask). Companies are made of people, and people will often prefer to be involved with a quality project. Companies exist solely to serve people, and people desire quality products. It's really up to the people in the corporation to choose the balance between quality and profit, although it's my opinion that profit is chosen in a proportion greater than the people involved would prefer, which brings us full circle to the OP's lament.
    • You know what? We use the Fisher-Price platform because it has actually evolved into something decent. In fact, with newer hardware, there is a point to be made that DX is better than OGL. (When's the last time there were significant changes to OGL? )

      Add to that the fact that DX gives you 95% of the computer market, and 30% of the console market, while OGL gives you 5% of the computer market and none of the console market, and you'll start seeing the reasons.

      Yes, OGL is picking up again. And maybe, one day,
    • It would be nice if, for example, developers would use OpenGL more often considering it's actually the only reasonably cross-platform 3d API that has fairly widespread acceptance.

      So? Given the dominance of Windows, why would rational, profit-maximizing game developers focus on OpenGL (and finding some combination of other cross-platform libraries for sound, input, network abstraction, etc.) rather than just using DirectX, which covers more than just the graphics, and virtually everyone willing to spend mo

  • Games that are more complicated than Solitaire require a bit of effort to produce. Any other risks in testing just make it harder and harder to publish something that has a short shelf life, as most games do.

    The range of Apple hardware specs and Mac OS variations are at their highest right now. There are still OS9-ready titles on the Apple store shelves, and now you have to worry about the difference between Panther, Tiger, as well as PowerPC and Intel.

    Sure, I want to go into the store and see a pile

  • I don't understand what it is that Apple needs to do to improve 'Mac gaming' other than what they have been trying to do for years: increase marketshare.

    They plug the hell out of what games are available for the Mac currently, and have made some interesting contributions to the scene (Netsprockets a while back, firm OpenGL support, writing drivers for videocards, etc). Heck we even have them (amongst others, don't get me wrong) to thank for pushing widescreen resolutions.

    What else could they do to try a

    • other than what they have been trying to do for years: increase marketshare.

      Yeah, maybe when they aren't busy counting their record profits, they worry about increasing marketshare. A little bit maybe.

      When Apple releases a Pentium-D stripper similar to the developer box they loaned out, then it might be plausible they are concerned about marketshare. Otherwise it's clear that they are maximizing their own profits over those of 3rd party Mac developers (which is fine but we should state what is really going
  • Because computer gamers are dorks. Not flamebating, but social fact. I can easily imagine an Apple switch ad for a Garageband user who'd go on and on about how "Music is my life...", but not a one for a hardcore gamer. Yes, "music is my life..." makes my stomach turn, but, apparently, it's socially accepted as a positive thing and makes girls swoon. Desktop Gaming, however, ummm, no!Can you imagine Steve Jobs as a gamer?
  • You would think (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MrNougat (927651) <ckratsch@gmQUOTEail.com minus punct> on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:16PM (#15457997)
    I was actually talking to an art teacher friend last night. She's going to buy a new computer, and has decided on a Mac, because of their better graphics capability.

    Whether or not they actually have better graphics capability or not anymore, I don't know. But I know the historical use for Macs in business has been for graphic design, or other things that require very fine graphics.

    All the best games have great graphics. You'd think that those games would be even better on a Mac, since they reportedly have so much better graphics capability. And yet, the big downfall for Mac historically has been that you have to have a Windows machine for gaming, because there just aren't games for Macs.

    Which leads me to believe that maybe the "Macs have better graphics" line has always been a bunch of hooey. Had there been extensive game development for Mac earlier on, maybe there'd be 90% market share for Apple and 10% for Microsoft now. And you'd think that, early on and capitalism being what it is, game companies would have pushed games for the Mac. Did they?
    • That really doesn't have anything to do with it. In particular, what makes a platform very good for professional graphics work (technologies like ColorSync, etc.) don't really have much to do with what makes it good for gaming. I wouldn't really say that the lack of Mac gaming software really means that the platform's suitability for graphics work is "hooey", as you put it. The fact that PC's have been such a great gaming platform has a lot more to do with PC hardware and DOS and Windows being standard p
    • Re:You would think (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mr_matticus (928346)
      Better professional-level graphics tools does not equate to better gaming performance. You have to recall that "graphics" production involves a different set of software tools and hardware muscles than playback of graphics, so to speak. The word graphics has such a broad meaning that people often misapply it.

      PCs for the longest time (and even currently to a lesser extent) had better video cards available. Macs were still preferred for graphics work, because most REAL graphics work doesn't involve a vi
    • Re:You would think (Score:2, Insightful)

      by KajiCo (463552)
      Graphics / 3D Art / 2D Animation and Game Engine development and Game Design are not all the same.

      Yes, Macs have been touted as better for graphics, that's not really true, but the difference is in the work flow, and the community.

      3D development is just as powerful on a Mac as on a PC no difference there.

      Game development is a whole other ball game, all the while Macs were running on PPC, it has made it very difficult for game companies to port their systems from x86 to PPC, not to mention that also the OS s
    • Historically, the advantage wasn't framerates, but the WYSIWYG effect. For years, PCs would display one thing and print another, often several picas off from the image on the screen which caused huge amounts of heartache for graphic designers. This was eventually fixed, but for a very long time Macs were better for graphic designers.

      And games don't really drive the large-scale PC market, businesses do. Games drive the video card and chip industry forward, but sales and therefore the installed base has alw

  • by tji (74570) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:18PM (#15458015)
    I am a Mac user, and not much of a gamer.. I do play the occasional game for 15 minutes when I'm bored, but that's about it.

    I think it would be to Apple's benefit to improve gaming a bit on MacOS, but I don't think that trying to compete with real gaming platforms is a good battle to fight.

    What they need to do is:

    - Integrate software purchases into iTunes. ITMS is simple and ubiquitous.. expand the scope of the store to include software, and you could guarantee good sales for small developers.

    - Concentrate on mini games, which would be fast to download and appeal to the casual gamer. Solitare card games, Tetris, etc.. License old arcade classics, like Pac Man, Galaga, Tempest, etc. Charge a few bucks per game and you'll get plenty of sales.

    -- Maybe produce a couple more complex games, like a flight simulator, golf game, racing game, or something like that.
  • by Psykechan (255694) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:26PM (#15458078)
    What Apple needs to do is hire the WINE [winehq.com] people or Transgaming [transgaming.com] to get something usable on the Intel Macs and include it free of charge (no Quicktime Pro nag) with the OS. This would be a stop gap solution as Microsoft is planning on destroying everything with Vista anyway but it would at least lower the "Mac's aren't for games" cries.

    First though, Apple needs to sit down with ATi, Intel, and likely soon nVidia and get their drivers in better working order. they have the push to be able to do this so there should be no reason not to. Currently, the Intel Macs perform significantly worse under World of Warcraaft under OSX than booting into XP. Yes, this is just one app but it is a driver issue. This needs to change immediately.

    Apple also needs to woo the developers (developers! developers!) to OSX. It's not going to happen immediately but if they can prove that there is both a market and a valid gaming system (get rid of crappy GMA-950, fix drivers) then they might have a chance. Developers are already going to have to switch to Vista's new way of doing things, they could also switch to OSX.

    So, first step: get the back catalog. Next step: get the developers. Apple has a serious chance here. They better not screw it up.
  • Since when did Apple ever support 3rd party ISVs ever? They want to make the whole stack. They always push their own software heavily as reason enough to buy a Mac. The push Office and Quicken because they help people switch away from Windows, but besides that and Adobe they want you to do everything else with Apple software. Microsoft, on the other hand, knows they owe their existance and success to third-party developers and treats the valuable ones like royalty.
  • One of my favorite franchises has just released a new game for the PC -- Heroes of Might and Magic V. I can't wait to get it. I have a PC that I had originally bought to run a specific piece of high end software for a job. Turns out it's a kick ass game machine. Upgraded the GPU and I'm off to the races. But I'm going to wait until this game is released on the Mac to support Mac gaming. For a Mac gamer, it's as much about advocacy as it is anything else. I'd dare say anything but casual gamers have a consol
    • Just wondering, have you written to the game publishers and asked them where you can pre-order the Mac version? The more evidence the publisher has that there is a market, the more likely they are to do the port.
  • Well, hard to market as a game machine... ...when the new Macs can dual boot into Windows and run the SAME games at faster speeds under Windows than OSX.

    Unless Apple would just market the hardware, then sure, great game machines when you boot them into Windows, although they have under powered video cards.

    (And yes, even with native Intel based OSX games, not just emulated)
  • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Friday June 02, 2006 @04:59PM (#15458299)
    One of the articles arguments is that Apple needs to make games. This isn't something new for Apple. They made a number of games for the Apple ][ product line (including Apple Adventure). They even made and marketed the game "Through the Looking Glass" for the Mac back when it first came out. Today, however, I think Apple wants developers to make their own products rather than compete with developers in the games marketplace. If Apple's games are perceived as lame, that makes the platform undesirable to consumers. If Apple's games are hot, then that eats up the customers for the products of other game developers.

    Another argument of the article is that there are rumors of Apple hiring game developers. This purported fact goes on to suggest that Apple will be turning the iPod and the Mac into gaming platforms. I think that this is way too far of a leap. My first bet is that Apple is looking for OpenGL developers to speed up and fine tune OpenGL development in the undercarriage of Mac OS X's graphics system. Where else would you look for such knowledgeable people so focused on speed and performance of imaging than in the world of games? If development goes further than this, I expect that game developers are being paid to port the platforms games are built upon to Mac OS X to make it easier for developers to move their apps over.

    Would Apple co-develop the next big game on Mac OS X with LucasArts (or whoever)? While not out of the question, I doubt Apple would want to be included in the credit and liability of such a game. Violence. Sex. and worse, a lame final result, might ruin the potential of the Mac for other game developers. One of the hottest games for the Mac when I was in college was MacPlaymate. It was an exercise in virutal dildonics and let the user get the on-screen half-toned bitmapped woman to emit orgasmic sounds of ectasy. It wasn't ported to other platforms (that I'm aware) but it probably sold more Macs on my campus when a cracked version made it to the campus computer labs than any other pirated app. Was Apple appreciative of these sales? Probably. Would Apple want to build a marketing campaign on such a unique product to the Mac platform? Probably not.

    The Aqua user interface is something that Apple prides itself on. It isn't a gaming interface though. It's a standard user interface for business, education, and scientific apps, and it goes out of its way to tell you to follow our rules for making your app, or don't use Aqua at all. That doesn't mean that Apple is discouraging game developers, but it doesn't want corruption of its crown jewels in the process. Games that follow the rules are great (A board or card game for example) but if you go beyond that then you need to design your own user interface and immerse the user in that instead. Perhaps Apple will come out with a game interface that's themeable and radical and immersive and looks nothing like Aqua (just as it provides non-Aqua elements for Dashbaord widgets). But it's still not a certainty that game developers would want to use that interface.

    Most likely in my mind is if Apple wants a hot gaming platform, it will start out by trying to convince other gaming platforms to come to Mac OS X. Play on the fear of Microsoft's Xbox to get Sony or Nintendo to develop a partial console that uses Mac hardware to make itself complete. I can see Apple throwing money at getting an existing game development environment onto the Mac, but I can't see Apple trying to enter this world by itself.

    Oh well, back to running MacPlaymate under classic :-)
  • WTF? Apple hasn't been "into gaming" since the Apple II. The mac has NEVER been a gamer's machine.
  • So Apple switches from PowerPC to Intel just as the game consoles switch from Intel and MIPS to PowerPC. The XBox 360 is a 3-CPU PowerPC machine, after all. That chip would have made a nice Mac core.
  • Apple ought to sell their own branded, color-coordinated gaming controllers. Maybe create a "gaming pack" with that controller and some games to go along with it, which you could add to your shopping cart when you visit their online store. That ought to dispel the myth that Apples are bad for gaming (assuming they aren't).
  • Apple wont get back into gaming until some contemporary games are ported (and they work decently)

    Contemporary games wont be ported until Apple ships something better than GMA950 in a majority of their consumer level products (so Doom 3, HL2, etc don't look like a slideshow).

The absent ones are always at fault.

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