Why Apple should cater to 'serious' gamers - and why it probably won't

24

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 62
    A week or so ago there were posts here about Apple now doing their own GPU development.

    Well, if they are wanting to cater for "serious" gamers then their GPU will need to be DirectX or OpenGL compliant. Development houses aren't going to be making a Metal implementation for a platform that only has 4% of the market.

    So even if they do introduce their hardware, and it seems great in all these synthetic benchmarks that are always run it's really going to be of now use unless it's for some indie house.
  • Reply 22 of 62
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,259member
    sockrolid said:
    Why?
    Because high-end gaming rigs generate high-margin sales.

    Why not?
    Because the high-end gamer market is a tiny niche.
    The high end gaming market is not a tiny niche. PC gamers generated almost $32 billion in revenue in 2016. The mobile gaming market generated $36.9 billion. For comparison, the console game market generated $30 billion in revenue in 2016.  

    And yet behind Mobile Gaming by nearly $5 Billion http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/pc-market-grew-in-2016-led-by-mobile-and-pc-gaming/

    Apple is covered with the Mobile Space where it has 95% of the sales. They don't need to touch the PC market in gaming.

    VR just started and it is nearly $3 Billion in only the past year. Augmented/VR Gaming is where Apple will drive investment. First person shooting and targeting the OEM/home buildings world is a waste of resources for Apple.

    The Professional Workstation will be addressed and beefier GPGPUs are out this Fall for all their line ups.

  • Reply 23 of 62
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,059member
    lmasanti said:
    What can Apple do to improve gaming?
    Other than destroy all the current studios and bring back the innovation and creativity of the ‘80s and ‘90s, not much.
    I good OS with decent UI and support for Internationalization and fonts that don't scream bloody murder would be decent start to that.

    LOL DarwinOS ("survive if you can") would be a great marketing name for gaming OS and reference platform. Then Apple sells Mac to the developers.
  • Reply 24 of 62
    Has Game Centre actually died? When I fire up MicroMachines it still pops up the "welcome back..." game centre notification from the top.
  • Reply 25 of 62
    It won't happen simply because games are written for DirectX not for OpenGL.

    The reason Macs suck for gaming has nothing to do with the hardware but lazy developers who write a game for DirectX then wrap it in Cider/Wine and give them a game that suffers a performance hit due to emulation.

    What Apple really needs to do if it is serious about gaming is to get a top game manufacturer to build a game solely for Mac using Metal and make it a Mac exclusive. Make the game a killer game that everyone wants to play but can't until they get a Mac.

    Once people can see what Metal is really capable of on a Mac then they MIGHT start to look at the Mac.

    The key to Apple getting serious about gaming is to kill DirectX and that's not going to be an easy win.
  • Reply 26 of 62
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,698member
    I think a hero Mac is certainly needed to recreate that old Apple excitement. A tech test bed that delivers tech that eventually flows down to prosumers and consumers alike.

    Not convinced it should target gaming though. Gamers have no taste.  And I don't mean in a small way.  Don't get me wrong, they are prepared to spend, but they talk in processing power and frames per second.  They as a group think nothing of a red highlighted black monster with high decibel fans and a gazillion blue LEDs balefully glaring in their darkened basement.  As a rule they don't talk Ive.

    Go for mobile gaming dominance.

    I would think for the Hero Mac an ultimate video processing machine would be the niche it should target.  Make FCPX do absolutely everything it needs to along with it. Heck bundle it. There would be a brother MacBook pro as well.
    It wouldn't be the product for me (a prosumer iMac will do me), but to stand out as the ultimately desired device for that market.  The market mac used to own, and could again.
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 27 of 62
    games are optimised by the vendors for performance against the OS they run on not just the GPU, Apples belligerence and obstinacy in follow industry standards in the area of graphics, even down to writing their own drivers, makes compare like for like simplistic
    argonaut
  • Reply 28 of 62
    "Smaller screens mean less room for buttons, graphics, and text, and a touchscreen is a horrible control option for genres like first-person shooters or anything else requiring fast, precise input. That could be solved by some sort of standard external controller, but Apple has never made one of its own, and third-party options have been a mixed bag at best."

    Sounds like you haven't used the Steel Series Nimbus yet. Great controller for both iPad and Apple TV games, and on par with the controllers sold for Playstation and Xbox. 


  • Reply 29 of 62
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,217moderator
    sockrolid said:
    Why?
    Because high-end gaming rigs generate high-margin sales.

    Why not?
    Because the high-end gamer market is a tiny niche.
    The high end gaming market is not a tiny niche. PC gamers generated almost $32 billion in revenue in 2016. The mobile gaming market generated $36.9 billion. For comparison, the console game market generated $30 billion in revenue in 2016.  
    The overall industry generates a lot of revenue but they merge everything (hardware and software) to get those figures and it includes the online MMOs that generate billions, mostly in Asia and from in-app purchases:

    http://2p.com/44700975_1/F2P-MMO-Earns-171-Billion-in-2016-Thats-6-times-more-than-P2P-MMOs-by-shaylynsun.htm
    http://dotesports.com/league-of-legends/league-of-legends-2015-revenue-2839

    Apple has to buy the GPUs from the manufacturer so they don't make all the revenue from the hardware sale and they'd just be taking a cut of the games. There are some shipment figures at the following site for hardware, some numbers are estimates from marketshare:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/10613/discrete-desktop-gpu-market-trends-q2-2016-amd-grabs-market-share-but-nvidia-remains-on-top

    There are some revenue numbers here:

    https://www.nextplatform.com/2017/02/13/nvidia-tesla-compute-business-quadruples-q4/

    You can determine some numbers from the GPU company earnings. NVidia makes about $4b from GPUs per year. The NVidia 1080 is about $500 so if they only sold 1080s, they'd be selling 8m units per year across the entire 300m unit PC industry. If Apple's ratio here mirrored their worldwide PC marketshare, that would be <1m units vs ~18m Macs.

    NVidia doesn't sell just high-end units either so GPUs like the 1080 aren't selling as many as 8m per year, their revenue includes all their mobile and lower-end desktop GPUs.

    To see where the iMac stands vs desktop GPUs like the 1070, there's some details here:

    https://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/2708/radeon-r9-m380 (1.5TFLOP)
    https://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/2809/radeon-r9-m395x-mac-edition (3.7TFLOP)
    https://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/2840/geforce-gtx-1070 (5.7TFLOP)
    https://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/2870/geforce-gtx-1080-mobile (7.9TFLOP)
    https://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/2877/geforce-gtx-1080-ti (10.6TFLOP)

    Here's the R9 M390 in the $2k iMac, only really struggles with 4K:
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-R9-M390-Benchmarks.153797.0.html

    The iMac GPUs haven't been updated in a while so this year's model should be able to go up about 50-100% in performance. I'd say at least 5TFLOPs, could be as high as 7TFLOPs at the high-end (XBox Scorpio should be around 6TFLOP). This is around a 980ti and enough to run almost any game at 4K Ultra:
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-980-Ti-benchmarks-and-specs.169446.0.html

    The majority of gamers are on mid-range hardware. The Steam survey lists GPUs used:

    http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/videocard/

    The top GPU is a 970:
    https://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/2620/geforce-gtx-970 (3.5TFLOP)
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-970.146750.0.html

    The game results place this about 2x the performance of the M390 in the $2k iMac and roughly the same as the M395X in the $2300 iMac.

    Apple is catering the widest gaming audience already with the iMac. HP has some gaming PCs here:

    http://store.hp.com/us/en/mdp/desktops/hp-omen-desktop

    The $999 1060 model is around the iMac performance level. Add a 27" UHD display ($400 for 4K, 5K is $800+ if it's available at all), a decent 24" monitor is $200. Overall about $1200-1400. For the build quality, the iMac is worth the extra when you have to use it every day for years.

    Having to setup Bootcamp isn't for everyone and nobody really wants to pay for Windows. If there was a way to get all the Windows games to run close to full speed without the annoyance of Windows and rebooting, that would make gaming better on the Mac. I think it would be good if Apple commissioned game ports but another way would be to design the system so that Windows can be run alongside the Mac system without doing all the partitioning and rebooting. They could have a filesystem container that isolated the data with the NTFS format, it might need a custom version of Windows though and it would only be for a few million potential users.

    The external GPU route would help the majority of Apple users as they are on laptops. Apple could design their own TB3 boxes with 1x, 2x or 4x included GPUs suitable for different tasks and allow the 4 GPU box to have more than one TB3 connection.
    foregoneconclusionxzu
  • Reply 30 of 62
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    No mention of LiquidSky or similar services?

    This really turns the table on gaming. LiquidSky hasn't released their Mac client, but will be in a month or so. I've already been able to use that service to play Steam and Uplay games on a crappy Acer PC that could never play those games by itself...but can do it flawlessly with LiquidSky. All you need is broadband.

    For the amount I use it, it is very cheap to use, and after only a few weeks I'm certain I will never buy another Mac or PC with "gaming" in mind.


    Thank you for alerting us / me to this.  I suspect this time it may work, if so it's a paradigm shift and bad news for Nvidia and AMD at their high end hard core gaming market and proves Tim right not to chase this small market.  This coupled with Steam and who needs a high end gaming rig?    I run Steam on my 2013 6 core Mac Pro in Windows 10 and in macOS so have access to both PC and Mac games.  It occurs to me Steam themselves might be also looking into this technology or possible partnering or even buying LiquidSky.
  • Reply 31 of 62
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member

    The comparison Macs vs. consoles + PCs in the article does not make sense. Since the mature and established gaming solution is the console, then you should compare consoles to PCs + Macs.

    Console in desktop gaming, iOS in mobile gaming. These are two established and mature solutions shaping the gaming market. Apple already addresses hardcore gamers with its dominant mobile gaming solution. The rest is the stupidity and laziness of the studios who missed the paradigm shifting towards mobile.
    You might be a tad early with that thought.  I agree with everything you say or did until I read about LiquidSky.  There is possible a parallel market here.
  • Reply 32 of 62
    I'd rather Apple NOT focus on games. Someone in this world has to get some work done.
  • Reply 33 of 62
    xzuxzu Posts: 139member
    Yup no one goes to work and comes home and ever wants to play a game, especially mac users. Consoles are better anyway, wink, wink, wink. The human eye can only see 30fps. And no one works on movies, content creation or VR/AR. Everyone wants to pay the expensive Apple tax on hardware and then be told it is not fast enough to run "games." Macs are not toys.

    The Direct X monopoly is one reason and Apples refusal to provide solution to it. As well as underpowered hardware, mouse acceleration, and lack of hardware choice (modularity, glossy slow refresh monitors). Apples insistence to use energy as a design limitation in its products, because it wants to provide smaller, thinner, greener machines is really a design flaw.

    The Mac Pro was over 900w and was reduced to 350w in the trash can. I feat of engineering that should not be overlooked, but inconsequential nonetheless because energy is not the scarcity they should be designing for.

    Not supporting gaming is really the same reason pros left, but on the other side. With gaming comes or goes content creation and that is really what apple has lost, and I think Apple just realized it. The upcoming technologies that people are using for games, movies and interfaces such as VR and AR won't be created on a crappy iMac running integrated graphics (same price point as some reasonable PC hardware). The mistake they are making is assuming that because it is such a small market it does not matter. They could just open the OS to the other hardware manufacturers and not reinvent the wheel for the pro market, the hardware already exists, why wait 18 months.

    I know we are going to get some convoluted thunderbolt system that is 3 times more expensive and will be outdated in 18 months. I solution searching for a problem. Apple should stick to their expertise of creating hardware for Pokemon-Go and let the OS run on some real hardware for new technologies that are being developed.
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 34 of 62
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,562member
    sockrolid said:
    Why?
    Because high-end gaming rigs generate high-margin sales.

    Why not?
    Because the high-end gamer market is a tiny niche.

    This is the point people most of times fail to understand, there is may be a few million people world wide who spend top $ on their hobby. Plus gaming systems are highly personalize so no one company is making the money, it is spread across many companies who have highly customized their products to attract a particular group of people.

    Plus Apple does not want to be associate with people how hang out in mom's basement.

    This is the classic example of what Steve has said, you need to know when to say no to an idea, it may be a good idea and will make money, but you still need to say no and move on to the better idea. In this case taking 30% of the casual gaming market which Apple probably pulls in Billions each year and they had to do nothing extra than to provide a store front.

    brucemcStrangeDaysargonaut
  • Reply 35 of 62
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,455member
    lmasanti said:
    I think that you miss the main point. Apples uses to say that it enters a new market (for them) when they can make a dent on it, disrupt it or give users something new. (My words.) Remember when Steve Jobs that they said no to the PDA because they couldn't find something to improve it. What can Apple do to improve gaming? The article seems more your personal pledge to not to have to buy a PC different form a Mac for play your games. And it is perfect in that sense!
    THIS!
    ...  This is an important concept that I hope Apple never forgets -- even though a lot of its faithful do not understand.
  • Reply 36 of 62
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    I'd rather Apple NOT focus on games. Someone in this world has to get some work done.
    Some of us are retired :)
    xzu
  • Reply 37 of 62
    nhtnht Posts: 4,436member
    MacPro said:
    I'd rather Apple NOT focus on games. Someone in this world has to get some work done.
    Some of us are retired :)
    Start working out and hit the runway

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/80-year-old-model_us_581b77fee4b0ba0d98fdea73

    StrangeDays
  • Reply 38 of 62
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,527member
    jdw said:
    In other words, even with a modular Mac Pro coming in 2018, don't expect Apple to sell you a true expandable Mac unless it adopts a radically different corporate philosophy -- like Apple did after Steve Jobs left in the 1980's and Apple subsequently released products like the Macintosh SE/30 with extreme expandability that never would have happened under Jobs.

    Jobs is gone, but Tim Cook & Co. are still holding on to what they think is the ideal strategy because in large part Jobs defined that minimalistic strategy.  And so long as their stock is rising and they rack in profits, nothing will shake them from their current state of complacency toward the Mac.  I'm all for iOS devices, but like Steve Jobs once said, WE WILL ALWAYS NEEDS TRUCKS (expandable, work-horse desktop computers).

    We haven't even seen the 2018 Mac Pro yet and already its a LET DOWN.

    Sad.  Very sad.
    ...and right there is the reason that Apple doesn't chase these niches.  The new MacPro is barely on the drawing board, but opinions of the "never satisfied" have already declared it a failure.  These are the same "hard core" types that buy the gaming machines - they will never be happy with what Apple produces and unlikely to buy the products.

    The console market is theoretically something that Apple could pursue technically with a high-end ATV, but the market is already dominated by two long standing players.  VR is a potential entry point as it provides a disruption, but my guess is that Apple will not go down that path, preferring to be more mainstream.
  • Reply 39 of 62
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    brucemc said:
    …opinions of the “never satisfied" have already declared it a failure.  These are the same "hard core" types that buy the gaming machines - they will never be happy with what Apple produces and unlikely to buy the products.
    Games aren’t optimized for PC anymore. The best platform gets the short end of the stick every time. If software frameworks could be made that make PC development easier–more accessible, with easier means of implementing high-quality graphics (and certainly access to better animation tools because, for fuck’s sake, the AAA studios don’t care about that)–maybe there’d be a chance for a resurgence. I don’t get consoles–particularly non-Nintendo ones. Nintendo has the franchises, but they’ve sort of lost their way in making hardware to put them on. Why are consoles so popular when they’re worse in every way than PCs?
  • Reply 40 of 62
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,591member
    nht said:
    MacPro said:
    I'd rather Apple NOT focus on games. Someone in this world has to get some work done.
    Some of us are retired :)
    Start working out and hit the runway

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/80-year-old-model_us_581b77fee4b0ba0d98fdea73

    I'm officially inspired!
    StrangeDays
Sign In or Register to comment.