macOS Sonoma improves Mac gaming with new features like Game Mode, which reduces Bluetooth latency, and premium new titles arriving in 2023.

The Stray game running on MacBook Pro, with AirPods and PS5 controller next to the laptop
The Stray game is getting ported to the Mac | Image: Apple

Over the past few years, Apple has been adding various features to its platforms to make its devices better at gaming, including the Metal graphics API, enhanced support for Xbox and PlayStation controllers and more.

macOS Sonoma continues the tradition with new gaming features, such as a dedicated new Game Mode, new tools for porting existing titles to macOS, etc.

What is Game Mode in macOS Sonoma? What does it do?

In addition, the company highlighted more than a dozen premium PC and console titles that’ll be released on the Mac thanks to these enhancements.

WWDC23 keynote with Craig Federighi standing in front of a slide advertising Mac gaming improvements
Game Mode reduces controller latency | Image: Apple

The new Game Mode aims to improve game frame rates by temporarily suspending certain system features and boosting others. Available in any game, Game Mode significantly cuts down audio and input latency over Bluetooth because every millisecond matters when playing high-octane action games.

When Game Mode is active, the operating system assigns the CPU and the GPU the highest priority to ensure other background tasks don’t steal precious CPU cycles.

A photo showing a young male from the back who sits at a desk and holds a controller in his hands, playing a game on their Mac
Controller latency is also reduced | Image: Christian Zibreg/iDB

It “dramatically” lowers AirPods latency and “significantly” reduces input latency with Xbox and PlayStation controllers by doubling the Bluetooth sampling rate.

Keep in mind that even if your Mac meets the macOS Sonoma system requirements, it must be powered by Apple silicon to take advantage of Game Mode.

For further information, visit

New premium games getting ported to the Mac

WWDC23 slide with thumbnails of upcoming Mac games
New games are coming to the Mac | Image: Apple

Gaming on the Mac has always been an afterthought, but things have started to change slowly but surely with the introduction of Apple silicon Macs. The power of Apple silicon CPUs and GPUs has allowed developers to port their titles to macOS without too many compromises—especially regarding graphics.

The keynote included an appearance by legendary game designer and Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, who revealed that Death Stranding: Director’s Cut is coming to Apple silicon Macs later this year. He also said that his studio Kojima Productions is “actively working to bring its future titles to Apple platforms.”

Game designer Hide Kojima introduces himself during the WWDC23 keynote
Hideo Kojima says he’s a die-hard Mac fan | Image: Apple

Some of the games that are available or coming to the Mac:

  • Death Stranding Director’s Cut
  • Disney Dreamlight Valley
  • Dragonheir: Silent Gods
  • Firmament
  • Humankind
  • Layers of Fear
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Fort Solis
  • Resident Evil Village: Winters’ Expansion
  • ShowRunner
  • Stray
  • The Medium
  • World of Warcraft: Dragonflight

All these games take advantage of Apple’s latest Metal 3 APIs for hardware-accelerated graphics that take full advantage of Apple silicon GPUs.

Developers get a new game porting toolkit

To make porting existing titles from other platforms to macOS easier than before, Apple also unveiled a new game porting toolkit and Metal shader converter.

Lifestyle image depicting a young man playing a game on a MacBook Pro, using Sony's PS5 controller
Mac gaming suffers from a chicken-and-egg situation Gaming | Image: Apple

Traditionally, porting PC games to the Mac was lots of work as developers had to convert their DirectX shaders to Metal shaders. The whole process can often take months or even years. The new toolkit allows developers to run DirectX 12 games on macOS with little changes to see how well their games could run on the Mac.

“It also dramatically simplifies converting the game’s shaders and graphics code to take full advantage of Apple silicon performance, significantly reducing the total development time,” says the macOS Sonoma press release.

Some folks have used the Game Porting Toolkit and a tool from Github to run Windows games on macOS Sonoma. The video above demonstrates Hogwarts Legacy running on an M2 Max 14-inch MacBook Pro via the Game Porting Toolkit.

As this isn’t a true Mac port, the results are fantastic.

What you’re seeing on the video is Windows-optimized Hogwarts Legacy that uses DirectX 12 running on a Mac without any optimizations, using the Game Porting Toolkit to translate DirectX 12 calls to Metal ones. Games like Stray, Diablo 4 and Cyberpunk 2077 were also made to run on Sonoma via the Game Porting Toolkit.

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