Game Mode in macOS Sonoma is one of the most important changes to Apple’s new operating system. According to the company, it improves gaming performance on Macs, which until now have never been marketed as gaming computers. Apple is now giving developers the ability to easily port Windows games with a new tool called the Game Porting Tool.
It was possible to run games created for Windows on macOS before. With emulators like Wine and Crossover that translate calls to the Microsoft operating system APIs, you can run almost any Windows software on a Mac. Apple’s macOS Sonoma comes with similar tools built right into the system, making it easier for developers to bring games to Mac.
It is noteworthy that the Game Porting Tool is based on Wine, but there is still a significant difference. It lies in the fact that it converts DirectX 12 to Metal 3. For those who do not know, these are the APIs responsible for rendering graphics and sounds in games. Some games work fine even without any changes to the code. However, the native macOS version of the game runs better, according to Apple, with twice the frame rate on the same hardware. That is why the company encourages developers not only to port their versions of their games that were created for Windows, but to initially adapt them for macOS.
After using the Game Porting Tool, developers can use the new tools to convert DirectX graphics to Metal. As a result, the game can run much better and show better performance. In addition, the Sonoma SDK for macOS allows you to use other built-in system features such as game controller support, Spatial Audio, and HDR video. The Game Porting Tool works great with Game Mode. When the game mode is active, the system prioritizes the gameplay, so all resources are focused around the game. The Bluetooth latency for AirPods is significantly reduced, the Bluetooth sample rate for PlayStation and Xbox controllers is doubled, and the game gets higher GPU and CPU priority, resulting in stable FPS. All this happens automatically and works with all games.
macOS Sonoma is currently available as a developer beta. The public beta will be released next month, with an official release expected this fall.