Older Mac games could stop working in the next OS update

(Image credit: Apple)

Mac gaming has come a long way, with more and more games supporting it by default. Older games may be in trouble, however. A new macOS called Catalina is coming out this month, and it won't support 32-bit apps by default. As game maker Paolo Pedercini points out on Twitter, that includes not just old games but basically anything made with Unity before its 5.5 update in 2016. And a lot more games were made with Unity than you probably realize.

Developers can of course update their games to be 64-bit compatible, but that's not always possible—whether because the studios that made them no longer exist or it's not cost-effective. Jake Birkett of Grey Alien Games says, "I may not release any more games on Mac because of this."

A similar problem affects iOS apps, which are frequently abandoned because the cost of updating them for each new iPhone becomes prohibitive, especially for small studios with a wide catalogue.

MacRumors explains the process for checking if a program will stop working under Catalina, which will obviously affect all kinds of programs as well as games (Adobe's Lightroom, for instance), and even entire file types.

Before those of us who stick to Windows get too full of ourselves, there's no promise Microsoft's OS will support 32-bit games in future versions either. So that's something to look forward to.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.