Introduction to gaming on Apple silicon M1 Macs

From AppleGamingWiki, the wiki about gaming on M1 Apple silicon Macs

Welcome to AppleGamingWiki and our main introduction to gaming on Apple Silicon Macs.

Introduction[edit]

The Apple Silicon SoC (System-on-Chip) architecture family, an ARM-based custom architecture was introduced by Apple Inc. in November 2020 beginning with the Apple M1 hardware, bringing about a new era of CPU and GPU performance which rivals that of high-end Intel desktops - but using a virtually silent and much more power-efficient form factor. This new chipset is no less than a revolution in integrated chip gaming performance - the Apple Silicon chips are now completely capable of running high-end AAA games - but only if they are compatible with the new ARM platform. At the Unleashed event (October 18th 2021) Apple introduced the M1 Pro & M1 Max chips. The 32-Core GPU on M1 MAX has the same raw power (Teraflops) as the Sony PS5.

Unfortunately, few games are currently able to take full advantage of the Apple Silicon chips as they have yet to be ported to ARM. Most existing macOS games rely on the Rosetta 2 translation layer to run Intel based games on the new architecture. In addition to Rosetta, there are other methods of getting games to run on the ARM Macs. Games from iOS and Windows can be played through virtualisation layers such as CrossOver and Parallels. AAA Windows game titles can also be played this way, but currently DirectX12 is not supported by either CrossOver or Parallels. Finding accurate information on compatability with each platform can be tough, as information (and misinformation) is strewn around various forums and websites on the internet. This wiki is designed to consolidate this information to help Mac users play their games on Apple devices, including Apple Siliconin the best way possible.

Methods[edit]

Different ways of playing games on Apple Silicon M1 Macs:

Native[edit]

At time of writing in Late 2021, there are few 'native' written games, which fully take advantage of M1 Apple Silicon hardware. A few notable games at launch includes World of Warcraft and Disco Elysium. However, recently, Valve has made their SDK compatible with Apple Silicon so now developers can release their native games on Steam.

Rosetta 2[edit]

Rosetta 2 is Apple's native x86 to ARM translator included in recent versions of macOS on M1 Apple Silicon which will be installed after you open an x86 application.

iPhone and iPad Apps[edit]

PlayCover

Downgrade to macOS 11.2.3

And More...

Compatibility layer[edit]

CrossOver

Virtualization[edit]

Parallels

VMWare Fusion

Multi-boot[edit]

Console Emulators[edit]

Dolphin

PCSX2

PPSSPP

Yuzu

Hardware[edit]

At the time of launch, there are 6 product lines that introduced the M1 chip. This includes:

  • MacBook Air M1 2020
  • MacBook Pro M1 2020
  • Mac mini M1 2020
  • iMac 24" M1 2021
  • MacBook Pro M1 Pro 2021
  • MacBook Pro M1 Max 2021