Apple doesn't need gaming

The video game industry is making a stink about Apple's lack of involvement in gaming. But what it doesn't realize is Apple doesn't need games right now.

In a recent interview with a gaming news site called Kikizo, Valve Software co-founder Gabe Newell explained that he thinks Apple "has never taken gaming seriously" and the company "can't even follow through [sic] on any of their commitments [to] game developers"

It is this, Newell explains, that has created an environment in the gaming industry where Macs are a non-existent platform. And while I agree with Newell that Macs have very little gaming presence, is there a reason that Apple should have a presence? It seems to me that high-end gaming is best kept on Windows where players can either purchase incredibly powerful machinery or build their own rigs. That's simply impossible on a Mac.

As far as I can tell, gaming on a MacBook Pro or Mac Pro is the only viable solution for gamers if they want to play through worlds on an Apple box. But if you compare that to the Alienwares, Voodoos and Falcon Northwests of the world, you'll find that those machines--running Windows, mind you--are better-equipped to take computer games to another level. Now, does that mean you can't play the same game on a Mac and enjoy a rich experience? Absolutely not. But what you will find is the rigs from the aforementioned companies are specifically focused at the gamer segment of the market and have all of the fixin's you would expect from a gaming rig--water cooling, quad-core, loads of RAM, a few hard drives and two high-powered video cards, just to start. Some are even made to be portable so gamers can take their computers to LAN parties all over town.

But perhaps one of the largest groups of that gamer market segment is the cadre of individuals that build their own systems. More often than not, gamers have an idea of what they want and what sort of games they want to play and are equipped with the knowledge to find the best prices on components and build the system themselves. This simply can not be done with Mac for one simple reason--Apple has its OS and business model as closed as humanly possible.

And because the Apple business model is closed, there leaves little room for gaming on a Mac. As we're all too aware, Apple enjoys controlling the environment its computers are running and if games were added to the mix, it could create some unwanted headaches.

Further, I simply don't believe Steve Jobs understands the importance of gaming. As Patrick Norton pointed out to Leo Laporte and I on TWiT this past Monday, "Steve Jobs doesn't like games." I think there may be some merit to that argument.

If we look at the current Apple business model, games are simply not included. Would it be nice to have every game on a Mac? Sure. But Apple doesn't see it that way. The company has come out and made attempts to partner with companies to bring games to the Mac, but it seems it was done half-heartedly as a way to say, "hey, we have games too!" Regardless of the reason, I tend to agree with Steve Jobs on this one.

Why does the Mac need games?

By and large, Apple's focus should be placed solely on attracting the average consumer who uses a computer to browse the Web, send e-mails and do some picture and video editing every so often. In other words, Apple needs to focus on increasing its market share before it can worry about a subset of that market--gamers.

So, before you run out and buy a Mac to play video games, maybe it's time to realize that Apple isn't too worried about you at this point. But don't feel left out--it's part of the business model. Too bad that model doesn't go live for another five years.

 

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