Apple’s Game Porting Toolkit could be a revolution for Mac gaming — here’s the proof

an image of gaming on macOS
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has released a new developer tool that aims to make porting games over from Windows 11 to macOS a lot easier. And this could mean true Mac gaming becomes a reality. 

Announced as part of WWDC 2023, the Game Porting Toolkit has been designed to let developers run DirectX 12 Windows-based games on macOS almost instantly. Effectively, the toolkit acts as a translation layer for games, letting them run on macOS and tap into the power of Apple's M1 and M2 family of chips. 

As The Verge reports, taking this approach means Windows games should be able to run on macOS without the need for developers to do any extensive porting or modification of their games. It is worth noting that some developers have chosen to optimize their games for macOS and Apple Silicon, as seen with Hello Games' No Man's Sky, which has been released on macOS

"If you're a developer who builds games for Windows or gaming consoles, you'll find it is now easier than ever to bring your games to Mac by using the new Game Porting Toolkit, which significantly accelerates your development using three simple steps," explained Brandon Corey, an Apple director. 

"First, you can evaluate just how well your existing Windows game could run on Mac using the provided emulation environment. This lets you analyze your game's potential performance immediately, eliminating months of upfront work. In the second step, you'll convert and compile your shaders. The Game Porting Toolkit includes a new Metal Shader Converter, which you can use to automatically convert all of your existing HLSL GPU shaders to Metal, including all of your game's advanced shading pipelines like geometry, tessellation, mesh, and ray tracing stages. You can use this tool while you're building your game in Xcode, or in a custom Windows-based toolchain for shader compilation." 

In basic English, the Game Porting Toolkit will take care of a lot of the complex parts of getting a game built for Windows running on macOS.

If all this sounds familiar, it's because Valve's Steam Deck works in a similar fashion, using its Proton layer to basically translate Windows games to run on the Linux-based SteamOS and the Deck's hardware. Proton isn't perfect and not all games run well or at all on the Steam Deck, but such compatibility layers certainly open up the potential for PC-like gaming on different platforms. 

True Mac gaming is coming

an image showing gaming on macOS

(Image credit: Apple)

The Game Porting Toolkit is already available to developers providing you have access to macOS Sonoma, and looks like it's already being put to good use. 

YouTube user Selim Sandal uploaded a video of Cyberpunk 2077 running on the M2 Max chip using the Game Porting Toolkit. And the notoriously demanding game appears to be running rather well; admittedly it is being used with one of the most powerful chips Apple has to offer.

Twitter user Isaac also tweeted a video of Cyberpunk 2077 running at ultra settings on a MacBook Pro 16-inch with an M1 chip. 

I've already written how my MacBook Air M2 has impressed me with its gaming potential, but the Game Porting Toolkit could be a revolution for opening up the power of Apple Silicon to high-end games. 

Add in how macOS Sonoma has a dedicated gaming mode, with game developer luminary Hideo Kojima planning on bringing his future games to Mac, as well as Death Stranding Directors Cut coming to macOS, and gaming looks to be firmly in Apple's sights. 

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Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.