Apple wants to trigger gaming on Mac with MetalFX Upscaling technology

Something to look forward to: there aren’t many reasons to game on a Mac, and one of them is the relatively high Retina resolution of Apple displays. This would normally require a powerful GPU, but Apple is following in the footsteps of AMD, Nvidia, and Intel with its own upscaling technology that should make gaming an enjoyable experience on Apple Silicon Macs.

Over the past few years, Apple has focused almost exclusively on the mobile gaming experience of its users. Hyper-casual games thrive on iOS and that’s why the company created Apple Arcade, a subscription service that does away with the manipulative monetization systems found in many mobile games.

In the meantime, the Cupertino giant had been working on custom silicon for its Macs to bring them more in line with the iPhone and iPad. Today, all Mac models except the Mac Pro are powered by M-series chipsets, and some of them feature rather beefy GPUs rivaling those from Nvidia and AMD. This has created an opportunity for Apple to appeal to game developers, although the company isn’t doing everything just yet.

This week during the WWDC keynote, Jeremy Sandmel – who is senior director of GPU software at Apple – announced a significant upgrade to the Metal API. Macs are typically productivity-focused machines, but Metal 3 is supposed to elevate the gaming performance of Apple Silicon Macs to the point where people might start taking them more seriously for this use case.

Apple is looking to achieve this with something it calls MetalFX Upscaling, which is a technology similar to Nvidia’s DLSS, AMD’s FSR 2.0, and Intel’s XeSS. The company didn’t provide many details on its implementation, but Sandmel noted that it uses temporal data from frames rendered at a lower resolution as well as temporal anti-aliasing to produce the image. scaling.

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Additionally, Apple has developed a fast resource loading API that is very similar to DirectStorage and its proprietary incarnations. Game developers will be able to take advantage of this new software framework to load large game assets directly from storage to the GPU, improving game load times and enabling larger worlds.

Those of you interested in seeing these technologies in action won’t have to wait too long. Apple says native Mac ports of GRID Legends, No Man’s Sky, and Resident Evil Village will land later this year. No Man’s Sky will also work on iPad Air and iPad Pro models with M1 chipsets.

As for what to expect in terms of performance, Maseru Ijuin, head of technical research at Capcom, says that a Mac Studio can run Resident Evil Village at 4K using the high-quality graphics preset (Prioritize Graphics). Even a MacBook Air should be able to run it “effortlessly” at 1080p, but we’ll have to wait and see what that means in terms of frame rate.

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