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.
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.”