Next-Gen Macs a Big Step for Games
Apple made a number of announcements during its Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday (June 11), including some that could change the way gamers look at its laptops forever, with the new MacBook Pro.
The first is the adoption of NVIDIA's graphics technology, which drives a great deal of gaming PC’s these days with its processing power. Second, the top-end model, the 15-inch "next generation" MacBook Pro, will be the first to use the iPhone's and iPad's Retina Display technology for the most precise — and gorgeous — visual display to date. [What Else Costs as Much as a Retina Display MacBook Pro?]
And third, Apple's new Mountain Lion operating system (coming in July for a small upgrade fee of $20) will add the Game Center (already found in iOS). It brings both in-game chat with players over the Internet (if the app supports it) and sharing of virtual Achievements. This includes both packaged retail games and ones offered through the Mac App Store, such as "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" and "Civilization V." (Both available in retail and the Store.) [2-Minute Expert: What Is Apple's Game Center?]
While Mac laptops may not have as “hardcore” a hardware setup as a custom-built Alienware PC, for example, they can still muster solid performance with titles across the board, including those on Valve’s Steamworks service (such as racing games like "DiRT Showdown" and action titles like "Crysis: The Complete Edition"), as well as Blizzard’s recently released role-playing adventure "Diablo III," for which a Retina Display version was announced yesterday.
With the improved visuals that Retina Display offers, fantasy worlds in games such as "Diablo III" and "World of Warcraft" would pop better to life. Character textures wouldn’t be so fuzzy, in-game levels would be slightly clearer and the game as a whole would better represent what developers always had in mind. [10 iPad Apps That Would Rock In HD]
The real challenge for Apple is trying to persuade others that the new MacBook Pros are built for gaming. While several publishers do release games that are compatible with Mac models, it’s not as popular as gaming with a straightforward PC. Some big titles are also noticeably missing, like the role-playing adventure "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim."
Apple simply needs to muster support for the devices. Once they start landing in stores this week, especially the Retina Display model (expect it to sell rather quickly), people will be able to see what they're capable of, and the demand will rise. Developers and publishers are likely to hear this demand and respond in kind with new efforts compatible for the machines. But it will take time, so don’t look for "Infinity Blade Pro" or "Call of Duty" anytime soon.
The MacBook Pro may not be the ideal choice for computer gaming compared with other PCs, but Apple’s new models and operating system could make it a contender.