Apple, Breaking, Business, Entertainment, Gaming, iOS, OSx, Virtual Reality (VR)

Apple Macs and Virtual Reality could have a Happy Ending

It’s the gaming revolution that had everyone talking in 2016, but are we really moving towards a virtual reality (VR) world? Well, according to research from Deloitte, VR is now a “billion dollar niche“. Reviewing the state of the market and making predictions on its potential progress back in 2016, the accounting and professional services firm calculated that hardware sales of $700 million would be bolstered by $300 million in content sales.

As impressive as this and similar assessments have been, VR isn’t quite the full package. As is often the case, Apple users have been forced to watch from the outside in recent months. Unless you’ve opted for mobile VR and some unsupported apps, the entire Apple ecosystem is excluded from VR. While PC and console gamers have been able to plug products such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Sony PlayStation VR into their devices and enter a new world, Mac owners haven’t had this luxury. In fact, according to Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey, his VR hardware and software won’t work on any MacBook now or in the near future.

“A lot of people have Apple hardware, especially in the laptop space. But the GPUs in those, they’re not even close to what we’re pushing for our recommended spec,” said Luckey during an IGN Live interview at E3 2015. True, the problem lies solely on the fact that Apple hasn’t updated its graphics hardware for ages, and iMac pushed four years without an upgrade, with Mac Pro coming into half-decade territory.

Mac Users Can Still Enter New Realities

Although Apple may improve its GPUs (graphics cards) in the future so that VR would become a reality for Mac users, it looks as though it may take some time. Fortunately, as is often the case in the tech world, when there isn’t a direct a route to something, people will find a way around the problem. So, even though Macs may not be capable of running a VR-style game, you can still enjoy a new reality if you’re a die-hard Apple fan.

One easy way to enjoy a dose of reality in a virtual world is to take advantage of live dealer games. Pioneered by the iGaming industry, these games combine RFID chips, HD webcams and special online software to make the experience more realistic for players. Take, for example, the Mac compatible casino platform On one side of the site, players can play “traditional” casino games using Bitcoin i.e. BTC (another recent innovation). On the other side of the site, live dealer games offer a different way to play.

For example, when you compare Satoshi Bitcoin Blackjack (a virtual game) and Live Dealer Blackjack by Ezugi, the differences are clear. While the former is comprised of an empty digital table powered by a random number generator (software that creates random results), the latter has a real dealer, real cards and live conversation. Although the former costs slightly less to play at 0.10 mBTC, the latter is much more engaging.

Tech Experts Are Finding New Ways to Make VR a Reality

If live dealer games are a Mac user’s first entry point into a new reality, then MacVR is the next doorway into a different realm. Developed in 2015 and still in an alpha state, the third-party software is basically running its own VR software that users can link to some of the latest headsets. Although slightly cumbersome, it is a step in the right direction for those who want to experience VR through their Mac.

In fact, it’s thanks to products like MacVR that some of the major developers are now rethinking their anti-Mac stance. During a 2017 interview with TechCrunch, co-founder and head of Oculus Rift Nate Mitchell said that the technology was “not quite there yet”, which would suggest things are moving forward. Similarly, even though Apple isn’t likely to have the Nvidia GeForce GTX 10 series (a GPU capable of running VR), inside its Macs in the near future, Nvidia has come up with a solution.

Announced at Consumer Electronics Show 2017, Nvidia Now will offer cloud-based GTX 10 service. The idea is that PC and Mac users would be able to remotely access the power of the GTX 10 and, subsequently, make their devices capable of running high-end games without a high-end device. From this, there’s potential, according to Nvidia, for Mac users to enjoy VR games.

Although the proof will be in the pudding when the product goes live around the world in spring 2017, there does appear to be a glimmer of hope on the horizon. However, even if that glimmer doesn’t break into a ray of light, Mac users aren’t completely in the dark when it comes to VR. Through a combination of live dealer games and add-ons, you can enjoy a more immersive experience and still remain loyal to Apple.