Apple might reveal a proper gaming product at its October event, and if it does I’m going to go nuts

 A person playing Fortnite on a MacBook Pro.
A person playing Fortnite on a MacBook Pro.

We’re agonizingly close to Apple’s upcoming ‘Scary Fast’ event, which will be livestreamed around the world on October 30. A whole bunch of rumors have been circulating as to what we might see at this event - the M3 chip is a hotly anticipated potential arrival, with many expecting to see refreshed iMacs or a new MacBook Pro.

But the latest leaks seem to indicate that the event as a whole will have a gaming angle of some sort - and that very much piques my interest. Apple has never quite managed to crack the gaming market, despite now producing some processors that are perfectly capable of running the latest games. Perhaps it’s time for the Cupertino-based tech titan to finally step into the gaming arena for real.

That’s right - I don’t want some half-assed commitments to gaming on macOS, I want to see a real piece of dedicated gaming hardware. Apple has a proven track record when it comes to producing sleek, powerful devices, so the possibilities are almost endless: perhaps a gaming-focused new MacBook variant? Or a desktop ‘Mac Game’? Heck, I’d even love to see Apple try its hand at making a gaming handheld in the vein of Valve’s Steam Deck.

Gaming is the market Apple really needs to tap into

Apple has been - very gently - pushing the gaming angle for a little while now, but it’s not really enough. The introduction of ‘game mode’ for macOS Sonoma was good, and Apple made a pretty big deal about the gaming potential of the Apple Vision Pro headset at its WWDC 2023 event earlier this year.

Macs clearly haven’t become the gaming haven Apple wants them to be, though. There are over 100 million Mac users worldwide, but macOS users account for less than 2% of gamers using Steam (according to Steam’s own Hardware and Software Survey), with only negligible gains since the release of macOS Sonoma.

Sonic Generations running in Parallels Desktop 17 on an M1 Pro MacBook Pro
Sonic Generations running in Parallels Desktop 17 on an M1 Pro MacBook Pro

It’s almost frustrating to see, personally. Apple’s in-house M-series silicon is eminently capable of running triple-A games - especially if you’ve got a powerhouse M2 MacBook Pro - and the iPhone 15 Pro Max even has a position on our ranking of the best gaming phones.

I’m beginning to think that it’s an issue of marketing and user perception, really. At this point, a new MacBook can play games as well as some of the best thin and light gaming laptops, but most people buying a MacBook view it as a device for work, school, or creative hobbies. This is why Apple should release a ‘proper’ gaming device: to make it clear to the masses that gaming on Mac is here to stay.

Now is the perfect time for Apple to push the gaming angle

Last year, my fellow computing editor John Loeffler wrote about how Macs could be the future of gaming, and at the time I wholly disagreed. But John wasn’t wrong, really. Macs do have the potential to become true gaming machines, and the integrated processors offered by modern Mac products are an ideal platform: after all, it’s a lot less complicated than having to figure out all the complex specs of a custom-built gaming PC.

On top of that, Apple has a golden opportunity to muscle into the gaming hardware space right now - because its biggest potential competitor is, well, occupied elsewhere. Nvidia - long the dominant force in the PC gaming market - has become a little obsessed with AI lately, and the dedicated GPU market in general is frankly in shambles. Why would I want to buy an RTX 4090 graphics card (a single component!) when I could pick up an M2 MacBook Pro for around the same price?

iPhone 15 Pro Max on an orange background
iPhone 15 Pro Max on an orange background

Apple even seems to be taking ray-tracing seriously, with the recently released A17 chip capable of ray-tracing in games. A recent report from Gamevro has claimed that a Japanese game developer will make an appearance at the ‘Scary Fast’ event too - perhaps Capcom, or a second showing from legendary dev Hideo Kojima (who popped up during WWDC this year to promote his game Death Stranding coming to macOS).

In short, Apple: strike while the iron’s hot! Now is the time! I’ll be tuning into the ‘Scary Fast’ livestream with bated breath, and you can watch along with me right here. If you give me a gaming MacBook, I’ll literally take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about you.

Well, maybe not quite everything. I still hate the Magic Mouse.

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