All the ways to play Windows games on your Mac

Although things have changed a lot, the sector of computer games have always opted for Windows vs. Mac or Linux. Windows games have been the majority compared to other platforms, although there is currently a biggest games offer on Mac thanks to the ease of porting games using Swift or Unity. However, the main titles in the sector are usually released exclusively for Windows. And it is a matter of waiting several years for its launch on Mac.

There are many solutions to this problem. To begin with, have a gaming pc to play Windows games and use a Mac for all other tasks. Or instead, a video game console. But both options require a loose budget. Alternatively, wait for game stores to include a Mac port of Windows games. And third, go to virtual machines and emulators in an attempt to play certain titles. But everything has its bad side.

Next, we have compiled all the possibilities to play Windows games if you are a Mac user. You will not like any of them 100%, but sometimes they can be an alternative to stop playing certain games or save a few euros and not need a gaming PC if you just want to play modest titles that can run on your Mac under emulation.

Native games and game stores

But, let us start at the beginning. Where will we find games for Mac? Today we have several options to install macOS compatible games directly. The offer is abundant and varied, thanks to developers who are increasingly aware of the need to port their games to various platforms instead of just releasing games for Windows.

These are the main options to find native Mac games. Besides, you will surely find other online stores with offers or bundles. For the rest, in the field of games available on disc, it is still possible to find some on stores like Amazon and the like. But it is a titanic search with which you will end up frustrated by the lack of results.

Windows emulators

First alternative to native games for Mac. Let's say what you want play a title for Windows and it is not ported to macOS. If you don't want to complicate yourself too much, you can try solutions that emulate Windows components and they allow you to install Windows games on your Mac. The result is not 100% effective and not all games are compatible, but if you want to recover titles that are several years old, it is the least problematic solution.

  • CrossOver: It is the most popular solution of this style. It is paid but offers compatibility for Windows games important. Please check the list before purchasing this software. It's based on Wine, like the rest, but it simplifies the installation process. Its latest version is compatible with Mac with M1.
  • PlayOnMac: free and open source solution based on Wine. Here you can check the list of compatible games. It also supports certain apps. With its wizard, the process of installing Windows games on Mac is relatively easy.
  • Wine: the original Linux software for launch Windows apps and games on Linux and macOS. Its installation and handling is somewhat complicated. Hence, it is more advisable to use derivatives such as those mentioned above. To the list must be added wineskin Y winebottler.

Virtual machines to install Windows

Another way to play Windows games on Mac is by using virtual machines. This is a somewhat more complex option than the previous emulators, since this time you have to install windows. This implies that your Mac will be running two operating systems at the same time. On the other hand, it has its advantages, since the necessary hardware conditions can be emulated.

For starters, I rule out three solutions to create virtual machines like VirtualBox, UTM either QEMU. I often recommend them because they are free, open source, and allow you to easily create Windows and Linux virtual machines. However, although all three are very valid, on the playground they are not that efficient. That is, the graphic part is emulated well but not enough to run games. For this, the two main options are paid.

  • Parallels Desktop: Supports Mac with Intel and M1 processor. You can create Linux, Mac and Windows virtual machines. You have specific options for enhance the graphic aspect for video, graphic design or games. It is the most recommended option for a Mac with M1 where you want to use Windows.
  • vmware fusion: Available in Player (free) and Pro (paid) versions. Both support graphics with OpenGL and DirectX 11. It allows you to virtualize Linux and Windows and run Windows games. Classics but also some relatively recent ones.

Install Windows or SteamOS on your Mac

We have seen almost all Alternatives to having a gaming PC if you want to run Windows games on your Mac. Beyond ported titles, Wine-based emulation, and virtual machines, the umpteenth alternative is to install Windows on your Mac. less disk space, since you have to host macOS and Windows on the same disk.

Install Windows on a Mac It's easy thanks to Boot Camp, the assistant that guides us step by step to do the installation. Also, it will add the drivers for all the components to work on Windows. The bad? It is only available on Intel Macs. If you have a Mac M1is not an option at the moment.

The same happens with Steam OS. It is a version of Linux that allows you to launch Windows games thanks to Proton, software that acts as an intermediary between these games and Linux. Thus, with this operating system, it is possible to play most of the catalog of Steam even if you don't have Windows installed. Drawbacks? There is no official wizard to install SteamOS on Mac. Initially you will need to use Boot Camp. Second drawback. There is no version of SteamOS for Mac with M1.

Definitely, play Windows games without a PC with Windows it is possible. Obviously, it's not that simple. But you have different alternatives depending on whether you want to play classic games, recent titles or a game recently released on the market. In each case one option or another will be better. It will also depend on what you are going to use it for. But it will not be for available options.

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