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This week saw the launch of MacOS Catalina, the operating system update that brings a handful of video game-centric changes to the platform, some welcome additions and some less so.
With the launch of Catalina, Apple’s game subscription library Apple Arcade has now officially rolled out on all supported platforms. The service, announced earlier this year, first popped up on iPhone this September and slowly rolled out to iPad, Apple TV, and now MacOS in the weeks that followed.
One Apple Arcade subscription, priced at $4.99 a month, offers access to a growing library of semi-exclusive titles, though the launch of Catalina highlights that the full library isn’t entirely cross-platform. While many games are playable across all supported platforms, not all of the 100 or so games currently on the iOS version of the service are playable from MacOS.
On the topic of games not playable on Catalina, the update also marks the end of 32-bit program support on MacOS, a divisive move that essentially renders any app not updated to use 64-bit framework unplayable on Mac machines.
It’s a move that mirrors one made on iOS last year when the company, after a year of windup, ended support for 32-bit apps on mobile devices with the launch of iOS 11. As is now the case with MacOS, developers were left with the option to either bring their creations inline with current standards or, if unable to do so, have their games become unplayable.
As a roundup on Rock Paper Shotgun points out, some developers have made the jump to 64 bit or announced plans to do so in the near future including studios like Aspyr and Feral Interactive that have previously launched several Mac ports of existing games, but even those studios have had to leave some games behind.
For several titles, MacOS Catalina still means the end of their time on Mac. Developers don’t always have the legal or technical resources to alter older releases, while others say that the small number of players that frequent MacOS games means a 64-bit upgrade doesn’t make financial sense.