I've always been a Mac fan and the way game developers treat Mac users is just sad.

No big games (with the exception of Portal 2 and Starcraft 2) have been released for Mac this far. I've always been into gaming, but playing Starcraft 2 over and over gets really boring once you think about all the possibilities you would have if Mac ran Windows games natively.

I know there are several ways to play Windows games on a Mac.

  1. You use Boot Camp on your Mac to run Windows. The problem here is: Should I buy a Mac just to install Windows on it? (I believe you have to own a copy of Windows, too which costs additional money as well.)

  2. You buy Parallels Desktop (costs money!) which doesn't require you to reboot your Mac every time you want to use Windows. This program also requires you to have a copy of Windows (money!).

  3. You can install custom "wrappers" which allow you to run or install Windows software on your Mac. The wrappers require an installation program like Wine(Skin), Cider, CiderX and so on. Wine is free, but you still need to have a copy of the game.

My question is: can I play the games that I bought for PC on Mac the 3rd way? Would this be legal?

My Problem with the first two is that they both would cost me a lot of additional money - it's like paying for one game about 5 times.

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    Side Note: Wine is exactly how some games are ported to the Mac. Reference: The Sims 3 -- it installs the Windows version of the game with a custom Wine wrapper for running it on OS X. – Ian C. Jun 7 '11 at 20:23

I take issue with your premise: NO BIG GAMES (with the exception of Portal 2 and Starcraft 2) have been released for Mac this far.)

Evidently, you're unfamiliar with Steam. I don't know what your definition of "big games" is, but in my mind Civilization V, Counter-Strike, Assassin's Creed 2, etc. qualify. Best part about Steam is that if you buy a game, you can download it for Windows and/or Macintosh.

Yes, if you want to play Windows PC games the best option is to use Boot Camp. And yes, you have to buy Windows to install in Boot Camp. Of course, if you were to purchase a Windows PC you would also have to buy Windows.

So, I'm not sure what you expect here… Apple should throw in a copy of Windows for free? Apple should spend money and resources to incorporate Wine or Cider into the OS and go through the tremendous support and legal headache while simultaneously cutting its developers off at the knees by allowing Windows applications to flood the ecosystem? — not that it would ever happen… ;)

Apple's last OS update, 10.6 was a $30 upgrade. 10.7 Lion will also be a $30 upgrade. Seems to me your beef should be with Microsoft's pricing of Windows. (Oh, and lazy/cheap game developers of course. heh.)

To answer the central question: Wine and Cider are both legal, since they use no code or binary data from Microsoft's implementation of Windows.

  • I am familiar with Steam. i just don't like it very much nor do i play counter-strike or Civilisations. Our image of "Big games" is just different :) – DailyDoggy Jun 7 '11 at 20:54
  • However, I believe that Cider is licensed to developers. Modifying it is unlikely to be legal. Also the previously mentioned games are pretty much as big as it gets (you could also add WoW and then you'd have almost all of them). – XQYZ Jun 8 '11 at 14:18

In no way playing game under Wine/WineX/Cider running under MacOS or linux could be considered illegal.


Here are some big games too:

  • all games from Blizzard (for example World of Warcraft)
  • Sims
  • Call of Duty
  • and more others (check for example Amazon.com - Mac games)

Running games under Wine is not a "legal" problem.

I know one old case, where someone got a game-ban because he played WoW under Wine and the Warden (wow build-in antihacking watcher) report this as illegal activity. But this is an old case, now playing Wow under Linux and Wine is pretty common, so probably will not be any problem with other games too.

As @Robert told, here is another problem. Performance issues. Some games will run fine under emulators, some others not. You need check forums or google for reports.

For some games you can use VirtualBox too (what is like Parallels or VmWare), but im not sure about its DirectX performance. (Parallels has good DirectX performance), but again as for your BootCamp, will need Windows.

At least - Wine is legal platform - if the game run with it - you can use it.

  • I have all Blizzard games and exe-packs (except WoW). Cod 4 2 :) Since i got better at cod4 iwanted to move up the ladder and play some MW2 :) – DailyDoggy Jun 7 '11 at 20:58
  • It's somewhat telling that you feel the need to beef up your list of "big games" with Myst, which is 18 years old. – meagar Jun 8 '11 at 15:42
  • deleted myst. ;) – jm666 Jun 8 '11 at 15:44
  • LOL MYST… I played that under System 9! – Martin Marconcini Jun 8 '11 at 19:50
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    @daviewales edited - done - thanx ;) – jm666 May 26 '14 at 10:34

I don't think you'd be causing yourself any legal problems by using Wine, though how well it would work for all games might be another thing. I think you'll get the best results from bootcamp.

I appreciate you don't want to spend a lot on a copy of Windows, which is fair enough if you'll just use it for games, so have you considered looking for an "OEM" copy of windows - a lot of software and hardware re-sellers will sell those and that's about the cheapest option.

  • The game that i want to play (MW2) requires steam support, I bought the game and wanted to bootcamp my mac. But then i kinda sisliked the whole bootcamp idea. Should i just make a steam account and put the game there? As i start MW2 from a wrapper it says: "Steam should be running, in order for this game to be played." – DailyDoggy Jun 7 '11 at 20:43
  • PS. I have the russian version of MW2. – DailyDoggy Jun 7 '11 at 20:44
  • @DailyDoggy Steam is available for the Macintosh. I run the same account in Windows Boot Camp and MacOS. – ghoppe Jun 7 '11 at 20:50
  • it's a bit complicated. I installed the english version of the game and am playnning to use it with the russian key code. will it work? – DailyDoggy Jun 7 '11 at 20:52
  • I've not tried to run steam + a game in WINE, mostly because I don't need to with bootcamp. As I say, its the simplest solution to the problem. I understand why it might not be a solution you like, but its still the simplest one. – Rob Moir Jun 7 '11 at 21:10

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