It turns out 2008 will likely be the best year ever for gaming and Apple. Who knew?
I'm having a hard time thinking there's ever going to be a better year than when Tomb Raider 2 was ported, Madden came to the Mac, and, most impressively, Quake 3 Test was Mac-first. I recall some mainstream mag with a cover of a blue & white (iirc) tower asking if that'd be everyone's next gaming box.
Hopefully the move to Intel does mean good things, long term, for Mac-specific gaming. Boot Camp is still a significant barrier to entry for most Mac users. Look, folk, we're mainly talking about one-button mouse, iApp lovers, even if we include Mighty Mouse's hidden right button, MacBook Air's gestures, and FileMaker Pro. I'm happy to see more positive Mac gaming press, but until DirectX is Mac-native, I'll continue not holding my breath.
Which makes me wonder... Why doesn't Microsoft buy out Transgaming and put them down? I can't recall Matt's stance on Transgaming; it seems like something seedy was going on with what they'd "borrowed" from WINE without giving back what common courtesy, if not the letter of the license, says they should. If Transgaming has done enough in-house work to make Cider, wouldn't buying them effectively kill the gaming resurgence on Mac? And we're back to Blizzard and Ambrosia...
(Technically, Mr. Jade said it's "the best year ever for gaming and Apple", which hardly precludes Apple and gaming having great years having nothing to do with one another. What with a recession coming, I'm not sure that's true on at least one count, but it's always good to have a quality fall-back position. And hyperbole sells! Always! It's the best sales tactic EVER!)
MS won't buy Transgaming because they don't pose any real threat at the moment.
Nor will they until Apple decides to get serious about it. Still the best way to game on a Mac is to put Windows on it.
I think it's too easy for those comfortable with computers to say what comes natural to you and me -- Just install Windows if you want to game. I'm not simply talking the price of procuring an install DVD... for some, Boot Camp is several orders of magnitude too complicated to even think about fiddling with. With the sorts of tech support requests I get from friends and family, I'd believe it if someone claimed 80% of home PC users have never installed an OS on a box.
Re: Transgaming -- Why wait until the price starts to go up? ;^)
That article doesn't mention that all of the EA games are using pretendulation. Possibly excepting Spore (which I don't believe has been announced as using cider yet) and of course the ipod games.
If Mac is to become a gaming computer of any worth it will have to come from Apple itself. Apple will have to take the bull by the horns and make it happen.
I think Apple should use a console business model for their gaming. Set a standard that involves hardware and software that all Macs adhere to for gaming. When the customer comes into the store they walk to the PC gaming aisle and look for iGame brand games. All games will works on all machines, but built into the games will be the flexibility to work on machines of different specifications. Every third year Mac writes a new hardware/software specification for gaming for the next year and starts selling machines that meet or exceed the spec in that year. That way a Mac buyer is fairly well assured to be buying a system that will play Mac games for a few years, and has the option to update their machine to meet the new specification that rolls around every few years.
Because Apple will use a “console model” they act just as Sony would for PS3. They approve and certify all games, and they get a cut from all games sold. The Developers and publishers get a stable “platform” with a known hardware and software suite to shoot for to make the games work. Yes, this is more controlled then PC games, but the whole system is idiot proof for buying games on a Mac. This is actually like the golden age of computer gaming where you walked into a store and the game package said Apple IIe or Apple IIc/g on the package.
But for this to work Apple would need to get totally serious about making it works. However, using the console model makes the whole process much easier and logical for the development community. Given the warning signs the PC community is seeing with pirating I would even guess the development community would be thankful for a system that more like a console.
MonkeyKing1969: Granted the market is different from back then, but they tried the console approach with Pippin and it failed miserably. Of course, they didn't do what you mention and take the project on entirely themselves, but from a technology standpoint what they did was fairly comparable to what you want.
The "Short on Memories" part of the headline couldn't be more accurate, as nearly every year is apparently going to be Apple's breakout year for gaming, but it never happens. Gaming isn't Apple's bread and butter and all indications are it doesn't need to be.
I think the biggest barrier to Apple going into gaming is Steve Jobs. If Steve wanted it Steve would have made it happen, so I somehow doubt gaming is where Steve's interest is focused.
But maybe that is good because if Apple had entered the market a few years ago they would have gone down the wrong path in all likelihood. They would have tried to capture the living room like everyone else.
I think culture is shifting in the industrialized world. “Home” is not what it used to be; we don't gather round the kitchen table like in the 1890s, we don't all sit like a 1950s nuclear family around the TV anymore. Parents, kids, and everyone else in a family is out of the house more and more. Entertainment is individualized, so where we are entertained isn’t a room that you can capture anymore. What MS was after, that “mythical” living room, is vanishing just as MS seems poised to grab it. I think even Sony saw that which is why Sony hustled out the PSP and several devices that are portable to test the waters. Sony at that same time stopped talking about that ‘living room’ you will have noticed. However, Sony is Japanese, and could see their own nation were no long found in that room, they were on buses, on trains, in school, and on the streets. It is taking a few more years in the West, but even now I can see with my own family that we are to busy to come together, so fulfilling our needs with one device in one room is fading faster then I can write this blog.
Entertainment, information, and communication devices need to be mobile. The era of individualized and portable devices is now upon us and rising. The NEW goal in not to capture a room it is to capture each person anywhere collectively or alone. And that means one question, “Do you gain anything buy making a console?” People up until a year ago said Microsoft would spend any amount and battle as long as it took to capture the living room with XBOX. But now do they need to do that? More importantly do they need to do that at a loss if there is nothing at the end? I say they don’t need that Pyrrhic victory after this generation.
So where is the future, or what would I do if I were Apple? I would R&D and navel gaze at what will be possible in 2012? Can you make a console with the power of a PS3 or XB360 that is portable? If so how portable? Perhaps iMac Air size, or the size of a PSP Slim? And can you make it cheap enough that 1.5 people in a 4.5 person household have one? Can you make something that has its own controls and screen yet can seamlessly and wirelessly send its video and audio data to any TV and then just act as the controller. That is what the future is, a console that is portable and can act as THE ONE device you carry. What would I pay of a console, phone, e-mail, calendar, web browser, and music& movie player? I don’t know, but it better be cheaper then what Apple normally tries to push. Why? Well Sony will loss leader or break even on their hardware and since they can make the razors and the blades…and the shaving cream they will be hard to beat.