I read with much interest this week that Apple had released Boot Camp, technology that lets you boot Windows on Intel macs. It’s really nothing more than drivers, as the related firmware update basically implements BIOS compatibility allowing the machine to boot anything from Vista to Linux. I haven’t bought a mac desktop in the past because I play so many games that only run on windows; I always said that if I ever needed a laptop it’d be a mac but I’ve never had a real use for one 😦
This meant that what really piqued my interest was an article on TUAW where one of the writers posted about gaming performance on his mac. I haven’t gone searching for any definite numbers, but in this case running World of Warcraft on the same hardware was magnitudes faster under Windows XP than under OSX. This is embarrassing for both Apple and Blizzard, and may turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes Apple’s ever made.
However I also think it’s one of the best things that could happen for one very important reason: benchmarks. Any cross-platform application, particularly games, will now be benchmarked comparing Windows to OSX. If the game performance is anything like this article, it’ll look really bad for Apple. Personally I blame Blizzard for this as their development team on this game has proven themselves to be fairly stupid; but consumers don’t care if it’s the fault of Apple or the game. It’s just slow.
This will lead to two fantastic developments.
- OSX engineers will start optimising the system in order to make it as fast if not faster than XP for everything, not just fancy UI stuff
- Game developers will be given time to make sure their game runs at full speed under OSX so there are no embarrassments like this one
Of course developers could just not release their games on OSX, but I also believe pressure will start to build for windows games to be released on intel macs. It’s a good time to be a mac fan.