Windows vs. macOS - What is best for Cloud Gaming?

Last updated on May 18, 2021

Posted on May 16, 2021

Cloud Gaming is designed to be multi-device and multi-platform ready; however, some platforms/devices are better than others for Cloud Gaming.

Today, we will be looking at two popular operating systems.

If you somehow avoided reading the title of this article, the two operating systems that we will be reviewing are Windows and macOS.

Both operating systems have a significant chunk of the total desktop environment market share.

But, even though they are both widely used, is there a difference between the two for Cloud Gaming?

Compatibility

Windows

Image Credits: Microsoft

Being the most used desktop operating system globally, Windows compatibility is pretty much guaranteed for Cloud Gaming services. Select few may decide to stick to phone-based OS's or avoid Windows, but, for the most part, most companies will have a Windows client of their applications.

Taking a look at the current large-scale cloud gaming providers, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and NVIDIA GeForce Now all have a native Windows client.

Services like Xbox Cloud Gaming are currently testing a Windows Client, and a browser-based client, for release soon.

macOS

Image Credits: Apple

If you have ever used an Apple computer, you have used macOS. This operating system is tied to Apple devices and only on Apple devices.

With macOS being big in the creative market, it has become one of the commonly used desktop operating systems next to Windows. According to Statcounter.com, macOS currently holds a 16% market share compared to Window's 74% market share.

Although macOS is only a portion of the market share, that 16% is still a large chunk of users, and thus, many companies focus on bringing an option to macOS users for their products. The same for Cloud Gaming platforms.

You can expect to see a macOS client on most platforms, and if not a local client, you will likely have the ability to access the service through the browser.

Performance

If you compare two devices with the same hardware, the Windows machine will likely have slightly better performance.

However, it is worth noting that cloud gaming does not require significant resources to run. If there is a performance difference between Windows and macOS, it will be negligible and hard to notice.

In the grand scheme of things, both Windows and macOS should run your favorite cloud gaming software without any issues. That is, as long as the service offers a native macOS or browser-based client.

You may notice some performance issues on the new M1 series devices, as these devices run on ARM architectures, and native clients for the M1 Mac devices are in beta or fairly new.

Features

Most services will offer the same features between Windows and macOS due to the significant market share both operating systems have in the market. But, sometimes, this is not the case.

In general, Windows will likely have more development dollars spent on new features. With this being the case, you will likely see new features hit Windows before macOS users see the feature.

With services switching to or supporting a browser-based client, this gap between feature releases in operating systems is becoming slimmer. For the most part, you can expect to see the same features available on both operating systems.

Final Thoughts

Both operating systems are among the best for cloud gaming. If you own a Windows or macOS device, you can almost guarantee that you will be able to play your favorite cloud gaming service without any issues.

However, if you are looking for the device that will best run any current and future cloud gaming service without any issue, I highly suggest looking into using a windows-based machine. It will give you the highest odds at software compatibility.

Other than that, no matter what you own, a Windows PC or a macOS PC, you will likely have a wonderful cloud gaming experience!


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