This article describes how to play Windows games on a Mac, including how to find Mac-friendly games in your Steam library and how to play Windows-only Steam games on a Mac without using Bootcamp.
It’s unfortunate that there aren’t many games available for Macs to play since they are dependable and powerful computers. Apple Arcade exists, it’s true, but it’s severely lacking in features when compared to Steam. Fortunately, there are several ways to start playing PC games on a Mac right now.
5 Ways to Play PC Games on Mac
Numerous methods for using a Mac to access Steam games have been developed over time. They’re not all equally successful, either. I’ve arranged this list logically, going from the best option to the least appealing one.
Option #1: Boot Camp
We advise installing the Windows operating system on your Mac using Bootcamp if you want to play Windows games without any restrictions. With Bootcamp, you can switch between macOS and Windows whenever you need to.
Both operating systems are fully functional. Through the services offered by Steam and Epic Games, Windows users can play any game they want, just like they would on a regular Windows computer.
Unfortunately, Bootcamp is not compatible with newer Macs powered by the M1 processor. Examine the processor on your Mac before attempting to install Windows using Bootcamp. You can do that by following these steps:
- From the menu bar, click on the Apple logo.
- Then, select “About This Mac“.
- In the “Overview” tab, next to “Processor“, you see what kind of processor your Mac has.
Option #2: GeForce Now
If you have weaker hardware but still wish to play the newest PC games on Mac, you can use GeForce Now. These servers from Nvidia power a cloud-based streaming service. All you need is a reasonable internet speed because all games are run remotely.
The majority of its bugs have been resolved after a protracted beta period, allowing you to use it to play even fast-paced multiplayer games like Fortnite without any hiccups.
Speaking of games, GeForce Now has an extensive library of titles from Uplay, Battle.net, and Steam. You can quickly start playing your favorite game because the majority of them are already cached.
GeForce Now can be used for free, but you will be limited to 1-hour sessions and will have to wait in a queue. If you wish to play longer, you are going to have to get a Priority Membership ($10).
GeForce Now is fairly easy to set up.
- Go to Nvidia’s Website. Before downloading GeForce Now, you will have to create a free account or log in via Google or Facebook.
- Download & Install for the Mac OS, GeForce Now.
- Log in to Your Account. Clicking on Log In will open a browser page. To finish this procedure, merely click on the Nvidia logo in the center.
- Look for Games. GeForce Now has a lot of titles to choose from. In order to play paid games, you must first log into Steam or another service.
- Start Playing.
Option #3: Wine
Use Wine as an alternative if you don’t want to install Windows using Bootcamp. It’s a compatibility layer that enables you to use Macs without having to install Windows to run Windows-based programs.
You have the option of manually setting up Wine or using PlayOnMac or another Wine-based program that will handle everything for you. In this guide, we’ll show you how to run Windows games on a Mac using the PlayOnMac program.
To run Windows games on Mac using PlayOnMac, follow the steps below:
- Go to the PlayOnMac website.
- In the top right corner, click on “Download“.
- Then, click on “Download PlayOnMac (version)“. Depending on your current operating system, choose the appropriate version.
- Watch the file download while you wait.
- After the download is finished, double-click on the file.
- Then, drag the PlayOnMac icon to the “Applications” folder.
- To launch the software, double-click on the icon. If a security prompt appears, click on “Open“.
- When the PlayOnMac window appears from the left sidebar, click on “Install a program“.
- If you want to install a game, select it from the list and click on “Install“.
Option #4: CrossOver Mac
The WINE project, which we’ll discuss later, is implemented commercially as Crossover. Crossover translates the “language” of Application conversion from Windows to a format that macOS can understand and vice versa. This strategy works in practice and runs quickly enough for many games to function in a playable manner.
Running PC games on a Mac with CrossOver only requires three steps.
- Download and Install CrossOver.
- Get Steam. Open the app and click on Install a Windows Application. Look for any app you want to download in the search bar, including Steam and Origin. Just click install and follow the instructions.
- Find the Games You Wish to Play. All Windows games should be accessible when you launch Steam. Download the ones you like and start them from the Library.
Option #5: Using a Virtual Machine
A virtual machine is a unique kind of software that tricks operating systems into believing they are running on a real computer. Using this software, you can run Windows or Linux operating systems on a macOS device since it simulates a real computer.
Here is how to set up Parallels.
- Visit Parallels … and create a new account.
- Install the App. From Dashboard, go to Parallels Desktop for Mac Technical Preview page. Scroll down to the Install and Activate section to get the latest version of Parallels. Under it, you will also find an Activation key that you will use later.
- Download Windows. Make sure to download the ARM-ed version of Windows if you have an M1 Mac. You won’t be able to build a virtual machine otherwise. Additionally, you must register to become a Windows Insider, which is free.
- Start Windows Installation via Parallels. When the download is finished, go back to the Installation Assistant and hit Continue to set up a virtual machine. Parallels should automatically find Windows 10, so just click Create when it does.
- Enter your Activation Key. Paste your key from the website and click Activate to get Parallels to continue configuring Windows 10 will be accessible after a short while.
- Visit Steam. Open Microsoft Edge and visit Steam. If you need to, install it and register. Browse and install.
How to Stream Windows Games on a Mac?
Even if the game only runs on Windows, game streaming services let you stream games from the cloud, and the majority of them support Mac.
Some of these services let you buy games, while others let you stream games you already own via services like Steam, and some of them operate on a subscription model that grants you access to a collection of games.
Here are some of the options for streaming Windows games on a Mac:
- Shadow: By installing any Windows games you may have and streaming them to your Mac using this subscription-based streaming service, you have access to a Windows PC. Additionally, you can set up storefronts like those for the Epic Games Store, Origin, and Steam and use those services to play your personal library of games.
- GeForce Now: You can stream games that you already own using this streaming service from Nvidia. You can connect it to online PC game retailers like Steam and the Epic Games Store and stream your own games via those services. You can play for an hour for free or for an ongoing fee with subscription services.
- Stadia: The Chrome browser is used to access this Google streaming service. To stream games, you must purchase them.
- Luna: This is an Amazon cloud streaming service that is based on subscriptions. With the subscription, you have unlimited access to a huge selection of games. Using the Chrome browser, you can stream directly from the Amazon Luna website, or you can download the Luna app.
- Xbox Game Pass: An Xbox Game Pass subscription includes cloud streaming as well as a sizable game library that can be played without making any additional purchases. You can access the Xbox Play website using Edge, Chrome, or Safari to stream games on your Mac with this service.
Can You Play PC Games on Mac?
Does any of the aforementioned statements suggest that playing PC games on a Mac is impossible? According to us, not by a long shot. With the introduction of the M1 chip and Mac models that are notably more powerful than their Intel predecessors, PC gaming on a Mac now seems like a real possibility.
The real barrier for Mac users who want to play PC games on their computers, though, is that the majority of Windows games don’t have native support for macOS. Official macOS versions of some games, typically those that are extremely popular, like League of Legends, CS: GO, and DotA 2, are available, but they are scarce.
It’s likely that a particular video game won’t be natively supported on a Mac if you want to play it. Usually, this is due to the straightforward fact that there aren’t enough Mac users to warrant maintaining a macOS version of a particular game.
The 30% commission margins that Apple charges for all mac apps could be another factor deterring developer studios.
So, given everything we’ve said so far about Mac gaming, should you give up on attempting to play PC games on a Mac? You might be surprised to learn how many different ways there are to get a specific game running on a Mac, even though Mac gaming is undoubtedly a niche topic that hasn’t completely disappeared.