With the new M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chip, Apple has been pushing gaming on the MacBook Pro (MBP). The new chips feature hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading, which are important to modern video games.
Also, the introduction of the Game Porting Toolkit in macOS Sonoma is a notable example, streamlining the process for developers to adapt games from various platforms to the Mac.
Recently, Inverse had an interview with Gordon Keppel, a Mac product marketing manager at Apple, and Leland Martin, a software marketing manager at Apple, about how the new M3 chips made gaming on the MBP a viable proposition.
Keppel said “Now, every Mac that ships with Apple silicon can play AAA games pretty fantastically. Apple silicon has been transformative of our mainstream systems that got tremendous boosts in graphics with M1, M2, and now with M3.”
Martin stated that “If you look at the Mac lineup just a few years ago, there was a mix of both integrated and discrete GPUs. That can add complexity when you’re developing games. Because you have multiple different hardware permutations to consider.”
“Today, we’ve effectively eliminated that completely with Apple silicon, creating a unified gaming platform now across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Once a game is designed for one platform, it’s a straightforward process to bring it to the other two. We’re seeing this play out with games like Resident Evil Village that launched first [on Mac] followed by iPhone and iPad.”
So, is gaming on the M3 MacBook Pro any good? To prove this, I’m trying two games on the MBP: Stray and Resident Evil 4 Remake.
Stray is an action-adventure game where you play as a cat, figuring out the mystery of a long-forgotten city occupied by robots. The game was released in 2022, and it was running on Unreal Engine 4.
With these settings shown in the screenshots, thanks to MetalFX, Apple’s upscaling tech, which was based on AMD’s FSR, the game runs at 60 fps and above most of the time, except for the opening level, where the frames can drop below that. But once I reached the city, I didn’t experience any frame drops.
The game aren’t very graphically intensive, but it’s visually impressive and thanks to the MBP Mini-LED screen with adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, it’s an amazing experience playing as a stray cat.
Resident Evil 4 Remake
RE4 Remake released in 2023 is a graphically more intensive game than Stray and this game shows what the M3 chip can do.
By applying these settings as shown by the screenshots, the game also runs above 60fps while looking better than the Xbox One and PS4 version.
Although the game supports ray-tracing reflection on consoles and PCs, the option is missing on the macOS version. Apple says the M3 chip can support ray-tracing as well; maybe it’s still not powerful enough to run in an actual game.
There is some juice left in the chip, so you can try turning up the resolution and still get very playable frame rates.
Should you replace your gaming laptop for a MacBook Pro?
Although more games were released on macOS, like the award-winning Baldur’s Gate 3 and the critically acclaimed Lies of P, and more games are to come in the near future, there are still many games out there that are not available on Apple’s platform.
According to Steam, at the time of writing, there are more than 18,000 games for macOS. For comparison, there are more than 93,000 games for the Windows platform.
If you are serious about gaming, Windows is still the number one choice. If you only play games occasionally, but you need a powerful laptop for work, then MBP is a good choice.