In fact, there are tons of entries for first/third person 3D games where <30 FPS is apparently playable.
They should have another column called "recommended" though, since filtering by "playable" isn't very useful…
Yes, Solitaire at low FPS is playable. I mean, it doesn't matter. At all. Playable for Solitaire is almost Boolean.
A suspenseful, atmospheric horror shooter? How it plays is absolutely important and why has that context been disregarded?
Initially I wanted to derive the value from the FPS column and from the comments but like you already wrote this does not work well as it is highly dependant on the genre of even the specific game.
Thanks a lot for your thoughts on this. It is one of the most important aspects to improve apart of getting more reports. Appreciate it!
What FPS exactly? Isn’t that very subjective? Some people might be happy with 15fps, others would want 60fps. I like the approach in this dataset because the reader can decide for themselves.
It was absolutely breathtaking.
As next step I will look into how to best model and communicate something like a "recommended" context and most likely make that the default view (as this I think will be what most people will be interested in knowing).
The game is rated as "playable". So you need to look at the notes and hardware carefully if this is important to you.
Does playable mean, it starts and loads? Or does it mean playable in the sense that, you feel satisfied and enjoy the experience?
It's absolutely the latter when talking in the context of video games. And not the former.
Edit: it even says so in the right hand side, Notes column.
"Very slow and blurry, only 7-12 FPS, Effectively unplayable"
That isn't "effectively", it absolutely _is_ unplayable.
this is the list of games I own/care about: (5 games)
this is the list of Macs I own/care about: (2 Macs)
this would allow me to add a personalized view where you can compare performance for the games you care about across the Macs you own + the Macs or games you intend to purchase
edit: This is part of the initial motivation for creating the spreadsheet
people right now are wondering whether their games (and apps) will run at all on the new Macs and if so how that compares to what they see on their current Macs
As next step I want to group the reports by game and provide a detail view for each game. An added benefit for this is that every game gets a dedicated URL but also allows for a more powerful ui (e.g. sort/filter by distribution platform or Mac specs you are interested in and so on) while staying in the context of the specific game.
Thanks for your comment. Appreciate it.
I've already switched some games that were reported as "playable" to "not playable" because they are only technically playable
I am currently thinking about how to best approach this and provide a definition of "playable" that makes sense as context for the reports
I'm also thinking about adding some kind of confidence indicator (e.g. 5 reports by different known reporters stating a game is playable vs 1 report from an anonymous user w/ incompletely filled out report)
I'm currently looking at best practices from other software compatibility databases out there.
Any pointers or thoughts very welcome. I want this to be as high quality as possible so you know that if you have a question about game compatibility or performance on Apple Silicon Macs that this is the website to check.
24fps at 1080p/highest is indeed unplayable, but it's expect it to be much better at 720p/medium.
Nobody is discounting that somebody might have the opportunity to play their games on a better system, these tests just show what's possible... Which is a lot more than I'd have said a month ago.
That said: I do think I need to come up with better wording or at least better definitions of what "playable" means (perhaps even for every game * settings * spec combination). With enough reports per game this might actually work.
For a while a long-tail of games will only have 1 report though and I wonder how to deal with those.
edit: e.g. in some cases it might sense to provide augmented information like if you are interested in performance on a MacBook Air while there is no report for MacBook Air it might make sense to add the context that there are reports on using a MacBook Pro 13" with the added disclaimer that wile in the same ballpark is not the same system (that could give enough context for the reader to guesstimate an upper/lower bound on what to expect)
first/third person 3D games are playable with 20 FPS (with drops to 15), I played a lot of them with that FPS on my old laptop (e.g. GTA IV, V, Sleeping Dogs).
For example, I played several hours of Hitman on a device which cannot push more than 15 fps at 1080p. In that game you have to plan, walk around, wait for opportunities... And you might not even have to fire your gun
Also, from the article on a call of duty online game:
> Everything felt smooth, works flawlessly in highest settings available, but only few minutes until your account get banned :( SoC power consumption is around 3.5W
I'm not surprised that perhaps many devs naïvely assumed that if you're not running x64, you're a "cheater" [or in a VM, which apparently is often also "cheating"...sigh]. I'd be interested to know how many of the god-awful DRM schemes that BigGames like to run (like Denuvo) take to being emulated in crossover-or-wine-running-under-rosetta. I bet they don't like it!
If anybody (e.g. Valve or Apple) would see the Mac as a viable gaming platform, they would offer an API wrapper solution like Proton (which would emulate DirectX and Win32 APIs on top of macOS APIs). But it's already starting at the hardware, embedded Intel GPUs don't cut it for gaming.
But the 3D API is just one tiny piece when porting games to other platforms, and the importance of cross-platform 3D-APIs is overrated. Game consoles always had their own non-standard 3D-APIs, and this didn't hinder games being created or ported. And OpenGL only was a cross-platform API in theory, in practice every OpenGL implementation had its own peformance and compatibility quirks, and Vulkan apparently isn't much different.
But the root cause is not a technological problem, there simply are not enough people interested in gaming on macOS. If there would be a market, games would come to macOS, with or without Apple's involvement.
Game consoles offered developers benefits in return for that, though. Both technical, deeper hardware integration and finer control, and non-technical, a very large market & various financing offerings (for exclusives in particular)
Apple offers nothing here by contrast. Metal is a fine API on its own merits, but it's not offering the game developer anything but more work at the end of the day. And the market size is a joke for MacOS & games that would compete with consoles.
> But it's already starting at the hardware, embedded Intel GPUs don't cut it for gaming.
Macbooks have had above average GPUs for a long, long time. It hasn't helped with MacOS gaming so far, why would you expect it to now?
As far as I'm aware by far most portable Macs are equipped with pretty terrible integrated Intel GPUs. What's "above average" there?
But i guess the main 2 problems are:
1) Not enough Mac users which would be significant for a AAA gaming company to port their games on day 1 and get profit.
2) Apple has not taken yet gaming seriously, maybe because they have not seen a viable business model for gaming. I guess here this could change as Apple is slowly putting their feet on it with Apple Arcade (which is definitely not going to bring hardcode gamers), making iOS a good gaming platform (device stability, good GPUs and good support for 3rd party controllers) now its the first time most popular Macs are getting a good GPU. Perhaps also this is one of the reasons why they are blocking Cloud gaming.
I am a huge apple portable fan Macs, iPhones, iPads etc. However like a lot of people who casually play video games I also have a Switch and a PC with a nice RTX 2070.
Apple is dead last on my chain of gaming machines. A lot of people I know with Macs also have a console or PC that serves as the gaming machine(s).
I wonder if M1 could possibly change this since (atm) you can't bootcamp Windows. Not only that, but the m1 iGPU seem way more capable on entry level Macs over Intel's iGPU.
That would be D3D11 (most famous/used at least) ;) Metal is actually quite similar to D3D11 (or rather a hypothetical D3D11 successor if Mantle wouldn't have happened, which in turn heavily influenced D3D12 and Vulkan). If you have a D3D11 backend in your engine, a Metal backend is fairly easy to derive from this.
It did, which is why both Sony and Nintendo made their hardware and API's less special in recent years. (Which doesn't mean they are not special, but less so.).
I mean as far as I now both Playstation 4+ as well as the Switch do support Vulcan. Which is one (of multiple) reasons why so many games where ported to the Switch. (The other, maybe bigger, reason was that Nintendos polices got much better.)
I'm happy to be proven wrong though.
Metal was released before Vulkan existed, and Khronos already has a compatibility layer available (https://github.com/KhronosGroup/MoltenVK) - I don’t think graphics APIs are the issue here.
It certainly would be a lucrative market for Steam that just opened up. Most games w/ high performance requirements were not playable on entry-level Macs up until now.
No doubt basic games like terraria or vanilla minecraft will work, same as intel HD.
This has been kind of problematic for MacBooks since the first retina model. They ship with HiDPI displays that are beautiful for text and video, but people don't seem to realize the resolution is just way too high for gaming on an ultrabook. I used to game in 900p comfortably on my Intel integrated 2013 MBP. In native 1600p the same titles would be a slideshow.
Consoles do this pretty often, with a FullHD/4K GUI and lower (or even dynamic) resolution for the 3D. Very comfortable.
You can't. You can turn the lights on in a very non-uniform manner. Extrapolating that to all the pixels on a screen, and you can't get quite the image fidelity because some pixels need to be partially activated for ideal images. Best case scenario you do exactly half (one fourth the total pixels) for images that align with your pixels, but at dramatically decreased image quality.
Now you might have a point if talking about pixel art games, but none of those will tax the GPU to any extreme level—in which case you could render at a native 1600p or a perfect pixel doubled 800p.
I was pointing out the fact that expecting native-resolution gaming from a machine, whose display is totally overkill for its size (for gaming, that is), may not be the smart thing to do.
And it was even more absurd in 2012 when people built gaming rigs with 1080p screens and suddenly there was an ultraportable with a 2560x1600 screen (that was so-so usable for 720p or 900p light gaming).
To me, that's astonishing.
e.g. take a look at Metro Exodus on a MacBook Air M1 (30 FPS+ @ 1080p):
That's exactly why I started the spreadsheet. All the early review benchmarks about the M1s were interesting but what is even more interesting to me is whether a specific game runs and how well and on which system under which conditions and settings.
e.g. if you are out and about, don't have access to a power plug (need to run on battery) it is interesting to know what the MacBook Air M1 can do (compared to previous Macs).
I’ve got a 2060 in a machine I built for under $2k, connected to a high-refresh rate 1440p screen. I expect 144–165Hz, which is easily achievable even at highway settings in many games.
For non-gaming, I’ve been a dedicated and exclusive Mac user going back to the early 90s. But gaming on them makes no sense.
Perhaps multiple labels other than just "playable" make sense (runs, playable, enjoyable, excellent, …)? Appreciate any input to make the info on the site relatable for people who care about gaming on Macs.
I am maintaining the website and will ship a few improvements this week to make it more usable & improving context information (like OS version, game version, CrossOver version etc)
Thanks a lot for the feedback and for checking it out.
Two things I'm currently thinking about are
a) how to further improve the site (what do you care about? which questions do you have?)
b) how to reach people who might not be aware of the website yet (e.g. it got featured by @gruber on daringfireball recently and on /r/macgaming) but I guess there must be way more people interested in gaming on the Mac out there. Any ideas appreciated!
I'm also on twitter at @__tosh (two underscores)
Not great, but I managed to finish few 3D games with 15-20 FPS and it was fun.
Not everything needs to be 120 FPS to be fun.
most of my Macs were entry-level models and/or low performance laptops with integrated GPU like the 12" MacBook and I know Macs were not the ideal platform for gaming but that did not hinder me from enjoying games w/ low FPS because the alternative (without a gaming PC) for me would have been not to play them at all.
That's where I am coming from and that's the main motivation for building this website. I am excited about what Apple Silicon Macs mean for gaming. This is a huge shift.
Sorry about the downvotes!
So why I am downvoted?
For sure < 30fps is small for multiplayer games, but for single player is is quite enough (unless you get 1 FPS :)
Question is whether the M1X will support ray tracing.
Just ran into this on my 16" Intel MBP after upgrading to Big Sur and attempting to play a game while using a Razer mouse.
Basically many gaming mice in including my Razer have upwards of 1000hz poll rate by default and apparently macOS does not handle that well causing high cpu in WindowServer, however in Big Sur it really doesn't handle it well hitting 150% cpu in WindowServer and games seem to be almost unplayable do to massive stutter. Supposedly some improvement in 11.1 but still recommended to lower poll rate.
Had to plug my Razer into a PC to run their config software to lower the poll rate to 125hz. Now everything runs great, didn't realize how much it was effecting everything and now games are smooth and playable again.
I also have a Razer on Big Sur right now and it "works" but I have no idea which polling rate is used and the official app by Razer seems unsupported.
Going forward I want to add more context about peripherals as well. The section about supported controllers is a first start (e.g. I was surprised that some controllers are supported on Macs but aren't on iOS etc)
I also love playing these (rather older, now) games on modern hardware with very high settings and very fluid framerates.
Definitely envy the battery life of the new Macbooks, but until they have proper gaming, I cannot "have my cake and eat it, too."
I'm in the middle of trying to find a Ryzen/Geforce/huge battery combo that I like, knowing full well that I'll be lucky to get much more than 4 hours doing non-gaming things off cord (with brightness where I prefer it.)
I am working on getting more game reports as well as getting the accuracy (& confidence) of the reports up.
Perhaps I should add a feature for getting notified once a playability status changes from not playable to playable?
Finding it in stock is a challenge but the Zephyrus G14 is exactly this. RTX 2060 GPU pairs perfectly with a 120hz 1080p display, and it still gets >8 hours on battery doing normal non-gaming stuff
* I don't like when laptops get (too) hot on your lap
* Due to a medical condition 144Hz is now the minimum
* And my eyes definitely prefer larger screens
So I have an HP Omen 15 but I may return it. (I can play older games without getting too warm, but the screen is really good, but not excellent. The barrel port power on the side bothers me about 5 times a day.) And I have a Legion 5 17" on order... which may never arrive. (In which case I hope I still have the Omen.) In either case, the battery life isn't going to be great doing non-gaming things though.
But a friend has the G14 and loves it!
SC2 works fine on non-M1 macs, so I assume on M1 it will run even better.
The header row of the table should be fixed when the user types in a game title at the top of the page. That way the column titles will be visible even as you scroll. When I typed in a game name and was immediately navigated to the table, I had to guess what the columns represented.
There are a few games like World or Warcraft that already come with native support and similar to apps there are many games where native versions are expected to become available within the next days and weeks.
So yes, it is still early but out-of-the box the M1 Macs do really well compared to the previous models.
That doesn't say much though.
Diablo 3, playable no, unable to launch.
So basically your mileage may vary, alot, making this whole list a bit....questionable. =/
The idea of the spreadsheet is to provide this context and it gets frequently updated with more reports and more context (and as game developers ship new versions and as Apple ships new versions of the OS).
It turns out the M1 is not the revelation Apple claimed. Great battery life? Maybe, when not running games or other CPU-intensive tasks. But performance champion? Not even close.
Yes, like running regular workloads for coding (compiling, etc), video editing, audio editing, photoshop, full Windows virtualization getting better scores than a Surface X, and other such "artificial" stuff.
No, it just means the games are GPU heavy, and haven't been written natively for Apple Silicon, nor they take advantage of the graphics APIs, plus the GPU is lightweight (nobody said it's not in any review).
Not to mention the performance is a huge improvement over the exact same Macbook Air's Intel model (with Intel GPU).
The M1 is not beating a dedicated GPU, but it does beat other integrated graphics.
The next challenge for Apple is to provide similar performance to dedicated GPUs in the MBP and iMacs. This will be interesting as NVidia and AMD have tons of experience and IP. (IF Apple decides to make their own GPU, maybe they won't.)
Aside from that, the M1 would have been great even if Apple hadn't done the x86 support. The performance at native CPU-bound tasks is still incredible.
I doubt there is any other fan-less laptop in the world which can run Baldur's Gate 3 smoothly at 30 fps without a hitch.
The early reports show that when it comes to RAM there is no noticeable difference for most games regarding whether you have a M1 Mac with 8GB or 16GB.
That in itself to me is remarkable and part of why I started the spreadsheet. To get to real-world performance for specific games/settings/specs and away to have something specific in addition to the (also interesting) theoretical discussions on what is enough RAM and whether you can game on an integrated GPU and so on.
I hope this sheet helps answer some of it and will help more of it going forward.
Something I read stated they spent a lot of time optimizing the CPU for specific bottleneck scenarios, like NSObject creation. I don't know how that would map out to apps not written in Swift or Obj-C but my guess is "not very favorably"
It’s worth remembering the experience of first generation Ryzen which had good general compute performance hampered in games by micro-optimisations for Intel chips.
There are some very decent FPS recordings on Macbook Airs. Remember, that's a passively cooled 10W TDP chip. That's pretty incredible imo.