Being in Early Access, Baldur’s Gate 3The performance is impressive and can be improved in the next releases. Much less impressive is the noticeable performance drop every time the Mac is turned on. After an hour of continuous play Tomb Raider Benchmarks and in-game frame rates are bumped up to 10fps. You have to put up with that or give your Mac a break. Fortunately, another issue – poor performance after switching AAA games – was quickly fixed with a reboot. (We suspect that the 16-GB MacBook Air doesn’t have this problem because it has more RAM, but we can’t confirm.)
Windows games on Mac
Apple’s removal of Intel also made it more difficult to run native Windows content on the Mac. Options remain, but none of them are good. Besides adding complexity (where your games live, installing multiple versions of Steam) they also hinder performance, since these games don’t run locally.
Parallels Desktop is a user-friendly and powerful choice, and it automatically installs Windows 11. Crossover doesn’t need Windows, but it does need more compatibility to run games. (There’s also PlayOnMac, a free alternative that rides on CrossOver’s coattails.)
It’s easy to find Steam on Parallels Desktop and Crossover; Finding games that work, less so. In general, 2D titles are more likely to do well. Old favorites Death Ray Manta And Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Played flawlessly during testing. But when we try 3D effort Pinball FX3It failed completely in CrossOver and was similar to the frequency of slow motion in Parallels Desktop.
Depending on the games you like, you may have more luck. GTA VFor example, it plays at over 50fps on the M2. But that’s a very old game. So if you want to boot your existing Windows stock onto your MacBook Air, consider a lighter price or a higher-end model several years old. For the latest Windows games, get PC.
So: Is the Apple M2 MacBook Air worth it for gaming?
Whether you think the M2 MacBook Air is good for gaming depends on what games you like. With AAA titles, there are obvious problems. The hardware is mostly capable, but the ecosystem and throttling let it down. Very few games are optimized for Apple’s silicon, sustained performance is questionable, and even Apple’s WWDC announcements in 2016 .
Speaking of money, for the price of the M2R, you can buy a PC that’s more suitable for gaming. So buying the Air primarily for gaming is a rare choice. And if you want more raw power and are considering upgrading from an M2 Air to an M1 Pro or M1 Max machine, the price difference alone will get you a PS5, Xbox or Steam Deck. Any of these would be better suited for AAA games.
But despite what gaming obsessives might say otherwise, AAA titles don’t cover all games, and as we’ve seen, the M2 MacBook Air supports plenty of interesting titles. So if you’re looking for fun, casual fare or streaming, or if you’re not too picky about AAA games, the Air has it covered if you want to play the odd game just for fun. And if you’re into classic games, OpenEmu remains the most polished and user-friendly emulation system on the desktop.