Apple Wants to Get Into Esports with a Gaming PC?

"Yeah, I game on my Mac. Is that a problem? -Glorious Mac Gaming Master Race, playing a multiplayer shooter at a local coffee shop, circa January 2020 (Colorized)


When the gamers think of gaming, the last thing anyone thinks of is a Macintosh, but, according to a rumor from computer tabloid Patently Apple, Tim Cook's company plans to take Apple into the E-sports scene this year.

According to the website, rumor on the streets of Taiwan claim that Apple wants to build a high-end gaming PC of some kind, in order to break into the E-Sports scene, with an estimated retail price tag of $5,000.

All of Apple's off-shore component manufacturers, including Quanta, TSMC, Hozun, Kechang, and Delta are reportedly in on it, with plans to create either an All-in-one PC, or a laptop with a massive screen.

If this turned out to be true, Apple's foray into the E-Sports scene should surprise no one. Apple has been making big moves into the gaming market already, with the release of iOS 13's Apple Arcade subscription service. Though we may not know what it is Apple is trying to manufacture, we can speculate that Apple plans to leverage its massive iOS gaming market share, with thousands of games representing well over 24% of all iPhone and iPad apps on the platform.

According to researcher Christina Gough of Statista.com, the global E-Sports market is valued at nearly 865 million U.S. dollars on 2018, and is expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2022.

This is the stareotype Apple has to overcome in the gaming scene.


But if the rumors are true, and Apple wants to build a traditional gaming PC, then Apple may have to take drastic steps to change their image in the minds of gamers. Macintosh PCs -Particularly MacOS- have never been considered the ideal platform for gaming. Sure, games were always available for Mac, but the historically scarce availability of games, coupled with almost NO exclusive titles, on top of a bloated and inefficient operating system like current MacOS makes Mac gaming less than appealing to most PC Master Racists.

And then there's the alleged price...

This debate has raged on longer than I've been alive.

The rumor perpetuates Apple's long-running stereotype of overpricing hardware. Gamers -particularly PC gamers- typically don't spend $5,000 on any PC they build for gaming. In fact, PC gamers see the low pricetag for building an entry-level PCs as a selling point that gives PCs an edge over consoles. Those $5,000+ prices are typically reserved for ASICs (Computers designed for mining cryptocurrency) or mid-range workstations built for film production and deep learning A.I. Most games on the market barely require 8GB of system RAM for high settings, and the bulk of the price of the system usually comes down to the CPU and Graphics card.

Apple, on the other hand, charges -on average- a $900 premium on any Mac product they sell, when compared to similar PCs, and typically carry system specs inferior to a comparable PC of the same price.

The alleged pricetag is also drastically out of step with the price range of current American consumers. Most gamers between the ages of 18-35 are already out-priced when it comes to spending anywhere near $5,000, when you compare rising wages with the weakened purchasing power of the U.S. dollar. Most Americans don't even earn that dollar amount in a month, so, even assuming the average consumer can save the money, the time it would take to save the needed amount to buy this thing would make that particular model obsolete.

Who would this be marketed to?


But maybe Apple's theoretical Gaming PC isn't marketed to consumers. What if -like touring cars- this is a specially designed machine that only sponsored competitors will be using?

A price tag like that would only ever make sense in the world of E-Sports. Competitive FPS pros often sing the praises of 120hz 4K monitors. An 8K screen alone would set you back well over $1000, so factoring in 64GB of DDR5 RAM, and potentially, a core i9 or AMD Ryzen 7 system, and you have about half the price of the rumored mac already. And what about video cards? having two Radeon RX VEGA GPUs connected in Crossfire, (Or SLI if you're using Nvidia GeForce 2070s,) and you're looking at almost $700 on top of the monitor and CPU. When you look at it that way, the $5,000 price tag starts making more sense. Perhaps this is a move by Apple to sponsor competitors using sponsored machines, with the ultimate goal being brand recognition in this previously untapped market.

And then there's the OS. Assuming this machine is a Mac, I would be lying if I said that Mac OS didn't have a history of oversized operating systems, dating all the way back to the release of Mac OS X way back in 2001. Even back then, the system required more minimum system RAM than any of the entry-level Macs Apple was selling at the time. Since then, Apple has been nearly doubling the minimum amount of RAM required for every other Mac OS version, leading many Apple users to believe it's a form of planned obsolescence to trick its customer base into buying the latest system every year. Every gig of RAM the OS needs just to be open is a gig the software or games you need can't use, which is terrible for gaming performance. One could speculate that the gaming PC's minimum $5,000 price is a result of buying high-end hardware to offset the performance hit that games would take with the operating system.

In any case, if this rumor turns out to be true, gamers stand to benefit from it. Gaming has never had more representation than it has today, so it would make sense that Apple would want to get in on that market.
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