Final Fantasy XIV’s New Mac Client Is A Joke

Final Fantasy XIV’s New Mac Client Is A Joke

Since Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn‘s August 2013 release, Mac players have had to jump through the normal hoops to play a Windows game on their hardware. Now the game finally has an official Mac client, but by most accounts it’s not great.

Until the release of the official Mac client, which coincided with last week’s release of the Heavensward expansion pack for Final Fantasy XIV, it seems like the best option for Mac owners looking to play the MMORPG was to boot into Windows using Bootcamp and run the game from there. Now that the $US60 Transgaming-developed “native” Mac edition is available, Bootcamp’s still probably the best way to go.

The word “native” gets quotes because Transgaming’s method of porting the title is pretty much just putting a wrapper around the Windows version so it will run in Mac OS. Now to be completely honest I’ve not used a Mac regularly in decades so my grasp on the technology might be a bit fuzzy, but wrapping a game to shoehorn Direct X support into the OS seems far inferior to creating a Mac-specific client. The player winds up with a game that needs all the resources of the Windows version, plus additional resources for the wrapper that swaps Windows and Mac functions.

The result seems to be a Mac client that suffers from lowered frame rates, as well as problems loading assets, as seen in the screen below found on Reddit.

Final Fantasy XIV’s New Mac Client Is A Joke

Over the past week a post filled with disappointed Mac client purchasers has blossomed in the Final Fantasy XIV forums, with users reporting performance far below what they were getting via the Bootcamp method using the Windows client. We’ve also gotten several tips (thanks Jason, Ben and Saba) alerting us to the debacle. Many players in the forum are calling the Mac client unplayable and have requested refunds.

It’s not all horror stories. I’ve seen several players report respectable performance from the client, including the following video from YouTube showing what looks like a perfectly playable game.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here’s a video from a user running on a 2012 Macbook Pro.

Mind you the latter video is running on a system that doesn’t meet the required specs for the Mac client as listed on the Square Enix store page, but those recommended specs only popped up on the page a week ago, long after most folks had pre-purchased the client.

Earlier this week Final Fantasy XIV lead programmer Hideyuki Kasuga took to the forums to explain that due to hardware and software factors and the wrapper method used to create the Mac client, “the Mac version will not reach the same level of performance as the Windows version with the same equipment and settings.”

So basically there’s not much that can be done for it. The company is looking into the possibility of a Direct X 11 version of the game (currently the Mac client uses the Direct X 9 version and PC players can swap between both) that might run better on Macs, and improvements coming in Apple’s upcoming El Capitan MacOS release could help the situation further. In the meantime, Kasuga suggests lowering the amount of objects and players displayed on the screen in settings to help reduce performance drops.

This unfortunate situation is a black mark on what’s otherwise been a relatively smooth expansion pack launch for Heavensward. Mac gamers have been waiting ages for this new client, and to pay $US60 for an experience that’s inferior to the workaround many of them have already employed is, quite frankly, bullshit.

As much as PC gamers like to poke fun, the Mac can be an excellent gaming machine, at least when the games are created from the get-go with the system in mind. That’s obviously not what happened here, and the results speak for themselves.


  • Now the game finally has an official Mac client, but by most accounts it’s not great.

    Neither are Mac’s….


    I’ll be here all week thanks guys….

  • I play a few games on my late 2013 Macbook, you just need to be careful with the games you choose! Mini Metro, Broforce and Hearthstone all play just fine, even at native res. The problems arise when you want to play a 3D game, the Intel graphics chip just can’t handle them at anything more than about 720p on my system.

    • As a hater of macs, it’s probably because you’re ignorant. Don’t need to like macs to be able to see their uses.

      • This wasn’t about hating on macs, but since you went straight to the Apple fanboi response, I was alluding to how there are so many other platforms for gaming, that are designed with a gaming capability in mind (as opposed to being almost tacked on), and that are, most importantly, well supported by parent companies and developers of games. You reach a point of diminishing returns with a platform like the mac that has a long history of difficult or troubled ports of games and a kind of ‘second place’ attitude amongst developers, when the effort to get the game working well outweights the simplicity of getting it to work or the end result is worse, compared to other systems. And that’s not even to mention the (in some cases) extremely long lead time for games to appear on that system (CoD 4 took 4 years to be released in Australia on mac, for example), or that a hefty portion of console/PC games don’t appear at all. The Mac user buddies of mine (all 2 of them) who love their gaming ultimately bought alternatives simply because they didn’t want a sub-par performance, despite still loving their macs for their other capabilities.

    • Most people don’t buy their computer solely for games (if they only wanted to play games, why not get a console instead?).

      If I had bought a Mac in order to use a particular piece of Mac software, I’d find it convenient to also be able to play games on that system.

      • Which is pretty much the same conclusion my Mac user buddies came to. One mate put it to me that he could race a station wagon, and he could move house in a Skyline, but they’re not exactly built for those purposes, so if he wants to game, why not just get something that was built with gaming in mind, thus dedicating his mac for it’s strengths?

  • The minimum specifications are a bit strange. Both the minimum requirements are integrated graphics.

    21.5-inch iMac (Mid 2014) with Intel Iris Pro Graphics or higher
    MacBook Pro 15 inch with Retina display or higher

    Surely an older machine with a dedicated graphics card could do better, or is Iris Pro really that good?

    • As someone who regularly records in Garageband i’d argue that’s one of the few things they aren’t good at. Garageband is good for casual users, but if you’re using it regularly you’ll quickly grow infuriated with it.

      No, macs are good for turning it on, not worrying about anything other than what you’re doing (work, internet, etc) and knowing that tomorrow you’ll be able to turn it on again with similarly no issues. They aren’t built for games, although they are getting better at that, they aren’t built to tinker with or “improve”, they are built to work out of the box and give you a streamlined, superior UI and operating system that is optimised for a closed system.

      They are computers for people who don’t want to have to think about their computer, and instead want to focus on the task at hand; pornography.

  • I’ll let you in on a little secret, all games that use transgaming’s wrapper are shit, some just hide it better (such as GW2) but Square Enix has the audacity to charge $60 to be able to use it since PC and Mac are separate licences just like PS3 and PS4 are.

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