Tuesday, 2 November 2004

Mac OS Xbox

During my tenure as a reviews writer for IMG, it was frustrating that Mac ports of AAA titles arrived many months after the PC/console releases (if at all). However, Blizzard is the exception and continues to develop its award-winning StarCraft and WarCraft franchises in tandem. And Blizzard enjoys a dedicated and vocal fan base in the Mac community.

Yes, Mac releases can benefit from further bug fixes. But even this isn't guaranteed as evinced by my experiences playing Sim City 4 and Jedi Academy! The latter was unplayable out-of-the-box, and Aspyr hurriedly issued two patches (a further patch is under consideration). I'm not trying to single out, or be overly critical of, Aspyr as their programmers are known to revisit games years after the retail release and write an improved patch. American McGee's Alice (2001) was a recent beneficiary. This compelled me to play Alice (1.1.1) again and experience the title as McGee originally intended.

Both Microsoft and Sony will leverage IBM's G5 PowerPC architecture in their next generation games consoles! This leads me to conclude that Apple should start to push the message that Mac OS X (running on G5) is a viable gaming platform. The shared architecture should translate to a more seamless and faster porting process - indeed the Xbox 2 Software Development Kit (SDK) is Mac-based. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger has the potential to cement this with its rich audio and graphical capabilities.

With the holiday season almost upon us. iPodlounge has released its free buyers guide (direct link to PDF). So, if you're wondering what to buy me this year... ;)