Overwatch isn't coming to OSX, here's why - and how Mac gamers could make it happen

Overwatch OSX

Blizzard has had a long history of supporting Mac gaming, so to hear during Blizzcon that Overwatch was only coming to Windows, PS4 and Xbox One on launch and that there were no current plans for a Mac version was surprising and disappointing. I put the question to game director Jeff Kaplan in our interview - why now, on their most anticipated game in years, does Blizzard drop Mac support?

I also asked Kaplan how he felt about the Overwatch beta backlash.

“It was a result of not having all the technological support we needed to make the game viable on Mac systems.” says Kaplan, referring to Apple’s policies with OSX. “We have a real love and dedication for Mac players, they’ve been extremely loyal to us and we love giving them Blizzard games.

“But when dealing with the PC, the Xbox One and the PS4 - all of which are extremely welcoming to the technological needs to run a next-generation shooter - in a lot of ways we felt left behind, that we weren’t given the support we needed to make a great product on the Mac.”

For those who might not be aware, graphics technology on OSX is pretty far behind - to the point that while the OS is more optimised for Mac hardware, dual-booting into Windows and running games on that is often a better solution. A Macbook which has no struggles whatsoever with a game in Windows can chug and require lowering settings while in OSX. At least that’s been my personal experience, and it just doesn’t have the driver support from Nvidia and AMD that Windows does.

Overwatch OSX

Kaplan does think this could change in the future, but feels Apple aren’t currently doing enough to make companies want to develop for Mac - especially in comparison to their peers.

“There has to be a joint enthusiasm to really achieve success like that. The enthusiasm that comes out of Microsoft and Sony to have us on their platforms is overwhelming and we’re so appreciative of it.

“I think Apple’s an amazing company” he continues, saying that those who want Overwatch on Mac need to make that clear to Apple, “and I hope, I really hope Mac players are vocal back to Apple that Mac gaming is extremely important and should be extremely important. I can only guess how important things like iPhone and other products are to a company like that - but I think Mac gaming should have equal importance.”

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bluesoda007 avatarterminator1mw avatarVanillaBaron avataradaeon avatarstar-affinity avatarAr1 avatar+14
Overwatch Review
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21 reviewers answered 12 questions

VanillaBaron Avatar
6
3 Months ago

Despite the title of this article - "here's why" - we *still* don't actually know why. It's just the usual vague platitudes about Mac being "less welcome" than other platforms. What I want to know is ... why?! What are the actual, technical reasons that Overwatch is not being developed for Mac?

Is it framerate? And if so (since many AAA titles get great framerates on high-end macs) exactly what machines are not getting enough FPS and by how much are they behind and what is the cause of this, and who (Apple or AMD & Nvidia) is responsible?

Is it an API issue? What - specifically - is OpenGL missing that DirectX provides? And why is that not an issue for all other Blizzard games?

It is suggested that we hassle Apple to change, but how the heck can we do that when we don't know what to ask them to change? Apple already knows that huge numbers of its customers are avid gamers. Tell us what the stumbling blocks are in this case and then we could possibly lobby Apple.

Blizzard didn't even tell anyone about Mac Overwatch until people started asking 'where's the Mac beta' and then they said, "Oh yeah, forgot to tell you! No Overwatch for you." They still have Overwatch in the Mac launcher and they frequently put ads for it in the other games' launcher screens. Blizzard not wanting to develop Overwatch for Mac is hard enough to live with, but at least stop treating us like crap and remove the unplayable game from our launcher.

6
[USRF] NARF Avatar
4
3 Months ago

+1 ! And also a refund would be nice for those who already pre-ordered it without knowing it would not be available on OSX

2
[GWJ] Doktor J Avatar
1
3 Weeks ago

From the moment I first saw the preorder availability on Amazon and on Battle.net, the system requirements stated the OS -- and nowhere in that list was "Mac OS X 10.xyz". If you can't be bothered to read the system requirements, that's your problem. If you ordered through Amazon you might be able to get a refund prior to the release date just because Amazon is pretty cool about that sort of thing, but otherwise you'd better take it up with whoever you preordered from BEFORE it's released, otherwise you may as well get your dual boot set up so you can just enjoy the damn game.

0
Rexcite Avatar
2
2 Months ago

They explained that the other platforms were more "welcoming" ( supported the needs for the game to operate right) and that graphics on the OSX is far behind. Plus just because som triple A games had high fps on high-end Macs, doesn't mean that the game have to work on Macs. But yeah really, Blizzard gave too little info but more shit, to the customers. And for the record I tried to clarify the problems for you, with the little information here, so go easy on me.

1
terminator1mw Avatar
3
3 Months ago

I would love for this game to come out on the mac! I prefer mac native games (and I HATE booting into windows to play a game, although I do it occasionally)!

3
star-affinity Avatar
4
3 Months ago

I find the timing of this complaint a bit odd now when Apple since OS X El Capitan (released last September) has included Metal – their low level graphics API, that's been avaliable for iOS even longer. Isn't that showing some will from Apples side to get game developers interested in OS X?

3
mysticalos Avatar
1
1 Month ago

Late to party. Metal isn't good enough yet. it's actually missing several features used by modern games, especially shooters like tessellation and geometry shaders. It's performance is also still not even up to part with directx 11, let alone the better directx12 which is supposed to be what metal is compared to. the only game currently even using metal is world of warcraft alpha versions of legion and performance is probably about half of directx11 running same alpha in windows. Is this apples fault, or nvdia/amd. probably a bit of both both but leaning more on apple.

Point being of course, blizzard is dead on that even with metal, overwatch would be horrid on os x compared to windows right now, that's if they could even get it to run without stripping out graphics apis/features.

1
brucelgrubb Avatar
1
1 Month ago

Also given the time delays Blizzard could have been still working with OpenGL and then learned about Metal.

1
adaeon Avatar
3
3 Months ago

Does this mean that all the talk about El Capitan revolutionizing mac gaming by running "on the metal" was just nonsense?

2
Affe mit Waffe Avatar
1
3 Days ago

I think it just means that there are plenty of other games to play instead. Didn't hear about El Capitan being about games, but as we all know there's a lot of crap involved when tech-marketing men start to talk.

1
[USRF] NARF Avatar
4
3 Months ago

Well that sucks...

Running the game in Parallels or VMWare Fusion will result in terrible performance.

And I don't get it; Apple has replaced the faster-than-Direct*-OpenGL with even-4-times-faster-than-OpenGL--Metal. Games on OSX with Metal should run way way better than on any other platform.

So either Apple has grossly over-exaggerated the performance boost with Metal, or mr. Kaplan here is lying...

2
star-affinity Avatar
4
3 Months ago

I think it's a bit strange. I mean, Blizzard is supposed to be moving their other games (WoW and Heroes of the Storm at least) to Metal, and it seems Metal for WoW is being beta tested right now. So at least they have a modern graphics API to use. But maybe he thinks the majority of Mac users has too weak hardware for the game? The requirements seems pretty steep:

https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/7636

Still, there's quite a few Macs our there that qualify for the minimum requirements.

1
Bitbear Avatar
1
4 Days ago

It's not that the performance of Metal is bad, it's more that it's a young API with few features. Long term, I hope Vulkan can work as the one true GPU API required to support for GPU vendors, OS developers and game studios. The API fragmentation we have today serves no one.

1
Lying Ted Avatar
2
4 Weeks ago

Great, just pre-bought game when all I have is a Mac

2
bobjoe Avatar
2
2 Weeks ago

will overwatch ever be released for mac? If so when? Please tell me I need to know!! :|

2
bluesoda007 Avatar
1
3 Months ago

So will the game play in Windows running on a MAC using Parallels with no problem?

1
Gaming Rabbit Avatar
1
2 Weeks ago

No, I tried to run it over Parallels it starts up but I experienced major graphical errors. But the game was in closed beta at this point so it might work later on.

1
Ar1 Avatar
1
3 Months ago

Wow. Thanks for the explanation. Good to know this.

1
Squika Avatar
1
2 Months ago

I made a post on reddit/mac gaming Maybe that post can change some stuff https://www.reddit.com/r/macgaming/comments/497exi/bring_overwatch_to_mac/

1
PlayingWithGames Avatar
1
1 Week ago

cmon release in mac cmon ples ples ples i going to play it it really cool game

1
ngmanyui220 Avatar
1
1 Day ago

At this moment i knew that i fucked, because i am using mac that mean OS x!!!! D:

i wait so long time for overwatch come out and now he say 'we dont support os x' . D:

1
Wheatley/Trade.tf Avatar
1
1 Day ago

I agree that mac makes games run slow but overwatch sound be brought to mac anyway as some people cannot run windows or already have a mac and don't want windows on it

1