Why you cannot play Hogwarts Legacy on mac

By all accounts Hogwarts Legacy surpassed all expectations, breaking game records left and right to become the biggest Harry Potter launch ever, the biggest concurrent Twitch streamed game ever, and the biggest book adaptation ever. Yet for all of this, and despite how surprising this came (let’s be honest, the game looked good, but nobody expected it to break records) there never was a Mac version in the cards, despite the game supporting all modern consoles, last-gen consoles (upcoming for April), and even Nintendo Switch slated for July. 

Despite Apple’s giant user base, the only known method to play Hogwarts Legacy mac, at least according to my research, involves cloud streaming, which really doesn’t have anything to do at all with macs. The same method works on mobile phones, Android TV’s and Linux. Well, okay, this “cloud gaming service”, called Boosteroid, does have a native macOS app, but it works on browsers too.  

Which leads me to my question: why the heck is the state of Apple gaming so… bad? Apple silicon-based macs have become so efficient and powerful they suffocate Windows counterparts for productivity tasks even in cost-based charts that include device prices. Apple is the single biggest TSMC client, creating 26% of its revenue, and adopts only the most cutting-edge nodes from the Taiwanese chipmaker, yet for all that, it is shunned by practically every publisher in the gaming space.  

What gives?  

The answer here is two-fold and requires a bit of mental gymnastics which may lead you to question what any of this has to do with Hogwarts Legacy.  

First off, Apple has been accused of anti-competitive practices (probably rightfully) by Epic Games for requiring app-makers to comply with its 30% revenue rake with no allowance to include different stores and different methods of payment. The original lawsuit originated when Epic Games bypassed Apple’s requirements in Fortnite by allowing users to buy in-game credits directly as tokens from Epic, thus generating 0% revenue for Apple. Apple retaliated by banning Fortnite from the App store for violating its store policy. The legal battle is ongoing to this day, and some of the findings are very interesting to say the least. As a refresher, the largest gaming store on the planet, Steam, takes an 18% revenue share for games offered on it, while the Epic Games store takes only 12%. So essentially, Apple wants at least double the money for its much smaller user-base (compared to Windows), eating away a lot of the profits game makers would normally take. 

But even so, why not make a native version? Certainly, there are millions of users who would play in the starved macOS landscape. The answer here is much more technical. All macs are basically laptops, but unlike Windows-based ones which are equivalent to the PCs these games are created on, macs are not optimized and the OS itself works in an entirely different way. This necessitates a fork-off in the developer team to exclusively work on the macOS version. 

So, which would you choose if you were leading the team for Hogwarts Legacy and you are accountable for hundreds of people? To take off 25% of them to work on a mac version of the game that will make less money, or to take that 25% of people and make the game even better so it sells more on Windows? 

Now you see why we rarely get mac ports.