EVE Online developers are bullish on Mac gaming Jan-12-2022
When it comes to PC gaming, not a lot of people are going to think about a Mac
That wasn’t always the case. If you’re a gamer of a certain age, chances are good that your first experience with PC gaming was on an Apple II computer in your school’s computer lab.
There was also a time when Apple was on the cutting edge of PC gaming when Myst debuted in 1993 on the Apple Macintosh computer and became the best-selling game ever until it was dethroned in 2002 by The Sims.
Despite this pedigree, there’s no doubt that something happened along the way and Apple lost its gaming moj, surrendering the PC gaming space almost entirely to Windows PCs and gaming consoles, while it directed its attention elsewhere.
It’s hard to argue with Apple’s decision. It recently became the first company to achieve $3 trillion in market capitalization, so it has clearly done something right. But for a company that almost became the exclusive platform for Bungie’s Halo in 1999, Mac gaming has remained something of a sparsely-inhabited desert in the new millennium.
That may be about to change, however, and the developers of the hugely-successful EVE Echoes ISK Online hope that they will be in the vanguard of a new Mac gaming frontier.
“We have a long and interesting history with Apple,” Bergur Finnbogason, the creative director of EVE Online, told TechRadar recently. “We’ve supported Apple hardware, we’ve been on iOS for quite some time, and so we’ve had a dedicated [Apple] following for a very long time now.”
Recently, the company released its first native Mac client, specially optimized for the Apple M1 chip. In the process, it has become something of an evangelist for the Mac as a gaming platform, something that some PC gamers might consider heresy.
Given the history of Mac gaming and the trajectory Apple has followed since the 1990s, one has to ask, “What the hell happened?”
“It was never a single moment, really, it was a combination of a lot of little things that created this drift,” Finnbogason said. “When people were playing Full Throttle, it was the coolest game ever. Nobody had ever seen anything as beautiful as Myst. It was spectacular.”
The change came, Finnbogason said, with the release of the Power Macintosh in 1994, just a year after the release of Myst.
One of the biggest issues with Macs and gaming has been the hardware. With a Windows PC, you have a lot more capability to create a “Frankenstein machine” as Finnbogason calls them, with all kinds of different hardware configurations that make PC gaming on Windows much more powerful.
With most gamers on Windows (not counting console gamers, of course), most games are published on that platform, as wellWhat’s more, producing a game as complex as EVE Online isn’t an easy task even for a Windows PC, much less building a wholly separate native Mac client.
“For the past few years we’ve been running Cheap EVE Mobile ISK through a live client,” Finnbogason said, “so not the most optimal way of operating. I don’t want to say it was a side project, but we weren’t really giving it the love it deserved. So when we decided to kind of double down and take the full step of going native on Mac, that really opened up a lot of new possibilities.