Apple thinking of taking another gaming bite.

This is kind of sad:

Apple is planning a subscription service for games, according to five people familiar with the matter.

The service would function like Netflix for games, allowing users who pay a subscription fee to access a bundled list of titles. Apple ($AAPL) began privately discussing a subscription service with game developers in the second half of 2018, said the people, all of whom requested anonymity to discuss unannounced plans.

Why ‘sad?’ Because the gaming war between PC and Mac has been over for years, and Apple didn’t win it — mostly because Apple is incredibly hostile when it comes to letting anybody but themselves get their mitts on anything involving Apple products. That was always Microsoft’s secret weapon: Bill Gates sold software, not computers. And MS was happy to make it reasonably simple enough to incorporate new hardware; which means that gaming-specific hardware is going to be geared towards PCs*.

So, based on how I’ve seen this sort of thing play out; if Apple does launch a subscription service, they’ll be mostly offering low-effort gaming apps with not much in the way of expansion, and an over-hyped collection of whatever more popular titles they can scrounge up. And good luck trying to have either formal or informal support for them, either. DLC costs man-hours to convert to Mac OX S. So do mods, with the added wrinkle that modders generally don’t get paid. And, shoot: how would Apple react to the idea of mods for, say, Skyrim? Whole different culture there, folks. Whole different culture.

In other words: sad. But probably popular enough, among dedicated Mac enthusiasts. Which is fine, except that if this project gets off the ground then we’ll have to suffer through three months of articles about How This Changes Everything In Gaming. And that sounds boringly ghastly.

Moe Lane

*Also: Apple products are, these days, themselves a royal pain in the sit-upon. It wasn’t so bad when the Toymaker was alive, but his successor doesn’t seem to quite grasp that Apple products are for people, not the other way around. I myself dumped iTunes when it became clear that there was no interest in fixing my problems with dropped songs, because why on earth would I choose to be responsible for my own music library anyway?

4 thoughts on “Apple thinking of taking another gaming bite.”

  1. Waaaaay back in the day, when Apple was running the smug “I’m a PC and I’m a Mac” ads, someone put together a parody ad that had the same format, but focused on games.

    PC, of course, had nearly everything.

    Apple had Bungie. And… well, just Bungie.

    (this particular parody was put together back when Bungie’s big franchise was still Marathon)

    1. And then Bungie bailed, because *two* mouse buttons gave them twice as options.
      (Myth: The Fallen Lords made me a huge Bungie fan. Which I remained, until sometime in the lifecycle of Destiny.)
      But I thought gamers were dead?
      How are the N-vidia Shield and Steam Link Box, anyway? Since they’d be in direct competition.
      (God help them if they’re narcissistic enough to try and challenge Microsoft and Sony. Especially with Microsoft aggressively pushing cross-play.)

  2. I have to offer some pushback, while also agreeing with your basic premise for different reasons.

    Loads of games have absolutely no trouble running on Mac, and Steam for Mac works just fine. Further, we have to take into consideration the mobile side of the equation, iOS games are a totally different beast.

    However, on the ‘agree’ side of the ledger, I do have to agree that there’s a challenge Apple has produced for themselves, in that the current MacOS is the last that will offer support for 32-bit software, and that kills a shitload of games that you could hardly even call ‘legacy’ at this point. Even with the updates being entirely free, loads of people are not going to update.

    1. I do my non-gaming on a PC, but an iPad is a perfectly usable game platform. The App Store is a lot easier to navigate than Steam (which admittedly does have the advantage of more stuff than iOS).

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