Apple wants to spark Mac gaming with MetalFX Upscaling tech

nanoguy

Posts: 1,232   +24
Staff member
Something to look forward to: There aren't a lot of reasons for gaming on a Mac, and one of them is the relatively high Retina resolution of Apple displays. This would normally require a beefy GPU, but Apple is following in the footsteps of AMD, Nvidia, and Intel with an upscaling technology of its own that will supposedly make gaming a pleasant experience on Apple Silicon Macs.

Over the past few years, Apple has focused almost exclusively on the mobile gaming experience of its users. Hyper-casual games thrive on iOS and that's why the company created Apple Arcade, a subscription service that removes the manipulative monetization systems that are present in a lot of mobile games.

In the meantime, the Cupertino giant had been working on custom silicon for its Macs to bring them more in line with iPhone and iPad. Today, all Mac models except for the Mac Pro are powered by M-series chipsets, and some of them integrate rather beefy GPUs rivaling those of Nvidia and AMD. This created an opportunity for Apple to woo game developers, though the company isn't going all out just yet.

This week during the WWDC keynote, Jeremy Sandmel — who is the senior director of GPU software at Apple — announced a significant upgrade to the Metal API. Macs are typically productivity-oriented machines, but Metal 3 will supposedly elevate the gaming performance of Apple Silicon Macs to the point where people may start to take them more seriously for this use case.

Apple is looking to achieve this with something it calls MetalFX Upscaling, which is a similar technology to Nvidia's DLSS, AMD's FSR 2.0, and Intel's XeSS. The company didn't provide many details about its implementation, but Sandmel did note that it uses temporal data from frames rendered at a lower resolution as well as temporal anti-aliasing to produce the upscaled image.

Additionally, Apple has developed a Fast Resource Loading API that sounds a lot like DirectStorage and its proprietary incarnations. Game developers will be able to leverage this new software framework to load large game assets directly from storage to the GPU, improving game load times and allowing for more expansive worlds.

Those of you interested in seeing these technologies in action won't have to wait too long. Apple says native Mac ports of GRID Legends, No Man's Sky, and Resident Evil Village will land later this year. No Man's Sky will also run on iPad Air and iPad Pro models equipped with M1 chipsets.

As for what to expect in terms of performance, Capcom's technical research lead Maseru Ijuin says a Mac Studio can run Resident Evil Village at 4K using the high-quality graphics preset (Prioritize Graphics). Even a MacBook Air should be able to run it "effortlessly" at 1080p, but we'll have to wait and see what that means in terms of frame rate.

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hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,524   +2,493
Don't Mac's have 1660p resolutions? How do games perform at that res?
Why is Apple's attention on 1080p? Even upscaled it can't look that great. I don't get it. I'll have to see more.
 
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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,216   +4,268
This is a case of being too late to just try to establish themselves under this "If you build it, they will come" attitude even if they're technically the most valuable company in the world they're just not spending it on gaming.

Look all this stuff about metal? Yeah ok it's useful, whatever. If Apple is serious about AAA gaming then they should be outbidding Microsoft to buy big names like Bethesda or Activision. Hell they could still pick up EA or Ubi at this point. Like ok you want Apple to become a naming household? Spend some of those billions in actual AAA gaming studios and franchises so people can at least go "Yeah it's a macbook....But it can at least play the latest Bethesda RPG right?"

That might *actually* win over gamers and more devs to your side.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,238   +6,042
This is a case of being too late to just try to establish themselves under this "If you build it, they will come" attitude even if they're technically the most valuable company in the world they're just not spending it on gaming.

Look all this stuff about metal? Yeah ok it's useful, whatever. If Apple is serious about AAA gaming then they should be outbidding Microsoft to buy big names like Bethesda or Activision. Hell they could still pick up EA or Ubi at this point. Like ok you want Apple to become a naming household? Spend some of those billions in actual AAA gaming studios and franchises so people can at least go "Yeah it's a macbook....But it can at least play the latest Bethesda RPG right?"

That might *actually* win over gamers and more devs to your side.

Mac users are generally people with more dollars than sense. If their into serious gaming they'll also own a console.

Doubt they can pull this off. You buy a Mac...gaming isn't the reason.

Yeah, I kinda laughed at "productivity" being the main use case, unless we're talking about graphic design. The OS has some interesting virtues but overall Windows is easier to use in most respects. Decent battery life without compromising graphics performance is the only legit selling point for a Mac. Beyond that its pure status symbol. For the same money you could be gaming at 1440p ultra on a PC laptop.
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 1,150   +2,316
Something tells me that they are using AMD FSR but typical Apple, they claim all the code is their creation.

Anyways, its good for the rabid fanbois that must have a Mac regardless.
 

etempest

Posts: 61   +36
Apple killed a lot of it's existing macOS gaming when it killed 32bit & openGL support. They want everyone to go through there Metal API
 

zamroni111

Posts: 358   +210
Mac users are generally people with more dollars than sense. If their into serious gaming they'll also own a console.

Yeah, I kinda laughed at "productivity" being the main use case, unless we're talking about graphic design. The OS has some interesting virtues but overall Windows is easier to use in most respects. Decent battery life without compromising graphics performance is the only legit selling point for a Mac. Beyond that its pure status symbol. For the same money you could be gaming at 1440p ultra on a PC laptop.
microsoft office is definitely better in windows but those people buys macbook for swag
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,061   +748
This is Apple's too-little-too-late plan to dip into the gaming market. They are proving once again just out of touch they are with their target audience and market.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,628   +4,601
TechSpot Elite
This is Apple's too-little-too-late plan to dip into the gaming market. They are proving once again just out of touch they are with their target audience and market.
It's never too late, but by having a proprietary API (Metal) and weird GPU they are limiting themselves a lot in terms of development support.
 

LuckyMenace

Posts: 58   +47
Decent battery life without compromising graphics performance is the only legit selling point for a Mac. Beyond that its pure status symbol. For the same money you could be gaming at 1440p ultra on a PC laptop.

Decent battery life with no throttling is basically the best reason to own a laptop. A PC gaming laptop is more or less a desktop replacement and the compromises defeats the purpose of mobile computing.

The use case is that programmers, artists, video editors, photographers, etc want to game occasionally too. I literally use my windows PC as an expensive console and do all my work on a MacBook. I don’t have the time to game much anymore and I’m happy to part with windows if I can game with my MacBook too.