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How to play Windows games on a Mac?

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  • 4 min read
Photo: guteksk7 /

Photo: guteksk7 /

Macs have quite the performance packed into them thanks to Apple’s line of M-series custom processors that are simultaneously incredibly powerful and power efficient. However, since they’re running macOS, your gaming options become limited as macOS doesn’t have nearly as many native games as Windows does. 

In this article, we’re talking about how to play Windows games on a Mac without much hassle. 

Also read: Macbook Pro touch bar not working: Quick Fix 

Try finding a native macOS version

While it’s true that macOS doesn’t have as many native games as Windows does but a lot of popular games do have macOS versions. Even game stores like Steam, Epic Games and Blizzard, among others, do have macOS-compatible versions, which, as you can guess, also do have native macOS versions of your favourite games. It’s worth the time to look up and see if there is a native version of the game that you want to play as this approach will give you more performance and is the most hassle-free way. 

Use Cloud Streaming services

Cloud-based game streaming services like Nvidia’s GeForce Now, and the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription give you access to huge game libraries that can be played anywhere and on any device as long as you have a good internet connection. 

Not only does this approach mean you don’t need a Windows computer to play games, it also saves storage space on your drive and doesn’t require high-end hardware. So you can play your games not only on Macs but also on smartphones, chromebooks and any other compatible device with an internet connection. 

Use a Virtual Machine

Using a virutal machine with the help of a virtualisation program like VMware VirtualBox lets you run multiple OSes on a single machine in isolated environments. As you can probably guess, you can use this to create a Windows virtual machine within your Mac and use that to play games. 

Do keep in mind though, that the versatility of a virtual machine comes at the cost of performance. Since the resources available to the virtual machine are far fewer and slower than the ones your Mac can access, the games you can run in a virtual machine become quite limited. However, if a specific game you want to play runs fine on a virtual machine, it is a good option. 

Emulators to the rescue

Another option to play Windows games on Mac is to use emulators like Wine, DOSbox and OpenEmu. Once again, since emulators mostly tend to cover older games, your game selection here will be limited, but you’ll have access to legacy titles that might even be hard to find for Windows. 

Try Boot Camp or Parallels

To get the best gaming performance out of your Mac, you will have to install Windows locally on the machine. This can be done using Boot Camp for Intel Macs and Parallels for M-series Macs. Since you’re directly installing Windows on top of Mac hardware here, you get the best possible gaming performance in addition to more stability and flexibility in terms of how you use your Mac. 

Also read: How to fix Mac error 100060?


Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: [email protected].