macOS + Windows
Last updated: November 9, 2023
Play Windows Games on Mac

How to Play Windows Games on a Mac

Home->macOS + Windows->How to Play Windows Games on a Mac

Macs are reliable and powerful, so it’s unfortunate that there are not a lot of games available to play on them. True, there’s an Apple Arcade, but, in comparison to Steam, it is seriously lacking. Luckily, there are several ways in which you can start running PC games on Mac today. The technology has gone so far that you’re even able to play the newest AAA titles without hiccups.

In this guide, we’ll go through the most effective ways to experience Windows gaming on Mac devices, including the variants that utilize M1 and M2 silicon chips.

How to Play Windows Games on Mac Using Game Distribution Platforms

You can actually play PC games on your Mac using popular game distribution platforms like Steam, Good Old Games (GOG),, and Epic Games. As long as your Mac’s resources can support these platforms, you will be able to play.

The only limitation of game distribution platforms is the number of supported games that they can run on Mac. Know that many of the games available out there are primarily configured to run on Windows. Hence, the difference.

To install your preferred game distribution platform, below are some steps you should follow. We’ll be demonstrating how to install Steam here, but the process should roughly be the same for other platforms.

  1. On your browser, go to Steam and click Install Steam at the top right of your screen. This will redirect you to a download page where you should click a similar Install Steam button again.Steam website
  2. Click Allow when asked to confirm the download. Wait for the download process to finish.allow download from steam
  3. Click the Downloads icon at the top right and open the steam.dmg file to start the installation process. In some browsers, the downloads section automatically shows up.
  4. Drag the Steam icon to the Applications folder.install steam on macOS
  5. Exit the window once done.

With that finished, you might be wondering which game distribution platforms are worth installing on your Mac. Here’s what we think:

1. Steam


If you’re looking for a wide variety of games, Steam’s huge collection would be suitable for you. You’re likely to find the newest and most popular games available here, as long as they’re not exclusively sold in other game stores.


  • Wide selection of games to download
  • Big Picture mode
  • Video streaming


  • Poor customer service
Popular games available: Dota 2, Grand Theft Auto V, Baldur’s Gate 3

2. Epic Games

Epic Games

Installing Epic Games on your Mac would be a must if you’re trying to play Fortnite, one of the hottest battle royale video games at the time. Fortnite is their exclusive game, so you might have some challenges finding it in other game shops.

While there are few big titles on Epic Games, the platform does love to give game giveaways. Epic Games is also DRM-free.


  • Game giveaways
  • Exclusive games
  • DRM-free (DRM stands for Digital Rights Management)


  • Lacks big titles
Popular games available: Hades, Baldur’s Gate 2, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

3. Good Old Games (GOG)

Good Old Games

If you like playing classic games like Alone in the Dark and Baldur’s Gate, Good Old Games (GOG) might be a good option. It doesn’t have a lot of modern games like Call of Duty, but its collection of older games is huge. Most of the games here are also cheap, compared to other platforms.


  • DRM-free
  • Best selection of older games
  • 30-day refund period


  • Few recently released games
  • Few multiplayer games
Popular games available: The Witcher 2, Syndicate, Warcraft I & II


If you’re looking to play Call of Duty and Diablo III, installing would be the right choice. These two popular games are exclusive to this platform. also boasts a good number of big-title games, many of which are exclusive to it.


  • Exclusive games
  • Lighter than other platforms
  • Some games are also available on Steam


  • Crash problems
Popular games available: Diablo III, World of Warcraft, Overwatch

5. Origin


Origin is Electronic Arts’s official platform for macOS. If you’re looking to play on both Mac and Windows, having your games on this platform might be a great idea as it supports dual-platform play. Whatever games you purchase on Origin, you can also access them in the EA app for PCs—as long as they’re compatible.


  • Cloud storage
  • Good social connectivity
  • Dual-platform play


  • Not as polished as competitors
Popular games available: The Sims 4, LEGO Harry Potter, Dragon Age 2

5 Alternative Ways to Play PC Games on Mac

Over time, many solutions were devised on how to access Steam titles with Mac. And not all of them are as effective. I’ve devised this list in a logical order, from the best to the least favorable alternative.

Option 1: Boot Camp

Apple’s Boot Camp is the most popular way of installing Windows on a Mac that doesn’t require a virtual machine. Instead, you’ll be able to choose to boot either Windows 11 or macOS. This way you can use all of your resources exclusively for playing games, which results in a smoother experience. The downside is that you can’t switch back to Mac in real-time, which is possible with a virtual machine.

Note: to ensure that everything goes smoothly, we recommend creating a Time Machine backup and reading our article about performing data recovery from a Time Machine backup.

To set up Boot Camp, simply follow these steps.

  1. Get Windows 11. Microsoft lets you download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO) for free, and you don’t need to have a product key to use it. Simply select the version and the language you want, and click Confirm. Lastly, make sure to get a 64-bit version of the program.get windows 11 iso
  2. Go to Spotlight and open Boot Camp Assistant. This utility will immediately locate Windows 11 ISO and help you install it. Hit Continue and choose the size of your Windows partition. Keep in mind that some games require a lot of storage space. You won’t be able to change the partition size later. When you are happy, click Install.Go to Spotlight and open Boot Camp Assistant
  3. Set up Windows 11. Once you get to the main screen, choose your language and hit Next. Select I don’t have a product key and pick Windows 11 Home edition. When the setup is finished, Mac will restart and open up Windows.
  4. Install Drivers. You should now be on the desktop with a Boot Camp open. Make sure to go through this installation, as it will update your Mac with important drivers.
    Note: If Boot Camp didn’t open on its own, you can find it by going to This PC > OSXRESERVED.
  5. Enjoy Your Games. Now you will be able to play most 32 and 64-bit games released on Windows. Sites like Steam, Epic Games, and Origin will supply you with thousands of excellent titles that would otherwise be unavailable to Apple users.
Note: To run a Boot Camp, you will need an Intel processor. Installation requires at least 64 GB of storage space. For best optimization, you will want to have around 128 GB available. To run the newest PC games on Mac, you will need to have a MacBook Pro or iMac with a non-integrated graphics card (4GB and up).

Option 2: GeForce Now

If you have weaker hardware but still wish to play the newest PC games on Mac, you can use GeForce Now. This is a cloud-based streaming service powered by Nvidia’s servers. Since all games are run remotely, all you need to have is a decent internet speed. After a long beta, most of its kinks are worked out and now you can use it to fluidly play even fast-paced multiplayer titles, such as Fortnite.

Speaking of games, GeForce Now has an extensive library of Steam,, and Uplay titles. Most of them are already stored as a cached version, so you can quickly jump into your favorite game. GeForce Now can be used for free, but you will be limited to 1-hour sessions and will have to wait in a queue. If you wish to play longer, you are going to have to get a Priority Membership ($10).

GeForce Now is fairly easy to set up.

  1. Go to Nvidia’s Website. Before downloading GeForce Now, you will have to create a free account or log in via Google or Facebook.
  2. Download & Install GeForce Now for Mac OS.Download and Install GeForce Now for Mac OS
  3. Log in to Your Account. Clicking on Log In will open a browser page. Simply click on the Nvidia logo in the middle to complete this process.Log in to Your Account
  4. Look for Games. GeForce Now has a lot of titles to choose from. Paid games will require that you log into Steam or another service before you can play.
  5. Start Playing.
Note: GeForce Now is available in select countries across the globe, some of which offer the service through affiliate partners. You can check out the full list of supported countries and their partners here.

Option 3: WineBottler

Another great alternative is to run Windows Steam games via Wine. This is not an emulator, but a compatibility layer capable of running many Microsoft applications. WineBottler is like its main hub – a place from which you can conveniently download all of the popular Windows apps. Best of all, it’s completely free.

This is how you can use WineBottler to play PC games on Mac.

  1. Visit WineBottler and Download the app. Make sure to get a stable version, instead of the latest.
  2. . To do this, just open the download location and drag both Wine and WineBottler to the Applications.Install winebottler combo
  3. Open WineBottler. Go under the Games tab, locate Steam, and click Install.Open WineBottler and install Steam
  4. Log in On Steam. Creating an account is easy and can be done within one minute.
  5. Find Games in Store. Now, it’s time to browse through the store and download the games that you wish to play. Steam also offers a lot of excellent Indie titles for free, so you don’t even have to spend any money.
  6. Play! Once you are all set, head over to your Library. Find your game and click Play.
Note: WineBottler can only run Windows games that are compatible with Wine, which will somewhat limit your choice.

Option 4: CrossOver Mac

CrossOver is another app that utilizes Wine. Thanks to its slick interface, it’s more convenient than a WineBottler, but it is a paid product. CrossOver will cost you $40, although you can test it out for 4 days with a trial version. Along with Parallels, it is the only software that will let you play Windows titles on modern Macs with M1 chips.

Only 3 steps are needed to run PC games on Mac with CrossOver.

  1. Download and Install and install crossover
  2. Get Steam. Open the app and click on Install a Windows Application. In the search bar, look for any app that you wish to get, such as Steam and Origin. Simply click install, and follow the process.
  3. Find the Games You Wish to Play. When you open Steam, all of the Windows games should be available. Download the ones you like and start them from the Library.
Note: CrossOver is effective, but won’t work for all games. It’s best to check this list of supported titles before purchasing it.

Option 5: Using a Virtual Machine

This may not be the best way to run Windows Steam games on Mac, since virtual machines use more resources. However, the benefit is that you can seamlessly switch between 2 operating systems whenever you want, without restarting your Mac.

There are two virtual machines worth mentioning: Parallels and VMWare Fusion, both of which can be used for free. Parallels, in particular, is compatible with Apple’s latest silicon M2 and M1 Macs, as well as Intel Core i5, i7, i9, Core M, and Xeon processors.

For this example, we’ve decided to use Parallels since it’s more convenient and faster, and we have already tested it before. Parallels is also supported on the latest macOS Sonoma 14 and Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise Editions. Although this is a paid product, you can test it out for free with a 2-week trial.

To set up Parallels, simply follow these steps:

  1. Visit Parallels … and create a new account.visit parallels website
  2. Install the App. From Dashboard, go to Parallels Desktop for Mac Technical Preview page. Scroll down to the Install and Activate section to get the latest version of Parallels. Under it, you will also find an Activation key that you will use later.
  3. Download Windows. If you have an M1 Mac, make sure to get the ARM-ed version of Windows. Otherwise, you won’t be able to create a virtual machine. You’ll also need to sign-up to become a Windows Insider, which is completely free.
  4. Start Windows Installation via Parallels. When the download is finished, go back to the Installation Assistant and hit Continue to set up a virtual machine. Parallels should automatically find Windows 11, so just click Create when it and install windows with parallels
  5. Enter your Activation Key. Paste your key from the website and click Activate to get Parallels to continue configuring Windows 11.enter parallels activation keyAfter a few minutes, it will be ready to use.complete installation
  6. Visit Steam. Open Microsoft Edge and visit Steam. Install it and register if necessary. Browse and install.steam website in paralells
Note: you can easily switch between Mac OS and Windows via the Command + tab shortcut.

Option 6: Game Porting Toolkit

Game Porting Toolkit (GPTK) is Apple’s newest solution for running Windows games on Macs. It is based on Wine’s translation layer combined with Apple’s D3D Metal transition layer. GPTK has been tested to work with a wide range of DirectX 11 and 12 games, including Diablo IV, Final Fantasy VII, Elden Ring, and most games in your Steam library, among others.

However, one of the cons of choosing this toolkit is that it’s not easy to install, as it requires the use of Terminal commands and a bit of shell scripting understanding. Additionally, you can’t expect games to perform as well as they do on Windows, especially graphic-intensive games.

If you plan to install GPTK using macOS Terminal, take note of the following tips for a smoother installation process:

  1. It is recommended to use macOS Sonoma, as there have been reported issues encountered when using macOS Ventura.
  2. You have to install Command Line tools for XCode 15 (if you haven’t already)
  3. You may need to uninstall ARM64 Homebrew if you currently have it, as it may interfere with the setup process.
  4. You might also need to install the latest version of Homebrew that is compatible with macOS Sonoma.

Here’s how to setup Game Porting Toolkit using Homebrew:

  1. Open Terminal from Finder.
  2. Install Rosetta (for M1/M2 Macs) by typing softwareupdate –install-rosetta and pressing Enter. Type A and press Enter when prompted.install rosetta
  3. Type arch -x86_64 zsh and press Enter. This allows your system to run the x86 Brew version for compatibility.
  4. Type /bin/bash -c “$(curl -fsSL” to install Homebrew. This command will require you to input your Admin password. You can also install it using the new .pkg installer. You can download it from Homebrew’s latest GitHub release.install homebrew
  5. Type the following commands and press Enter:
    (echo; echo ‘eval “$(/usr/local/bin/brew shellenv)”‘) >> /Users/$USER/.zprofile
    eval “$(/usr/local/bin/brew shellenv)”
    This would set the correct path for Homebrew to work properly.
  6. Type brew tap apple/apple and press Enter. This allows Homebrew to communicate with the Apple Homebrew repository.allow Homebrew to communicate with the Apple Homebrew repository
  7. Now, type brew -v install apple/apple/game-porting-toolkit to start the Game Porting Toolkit installation. This process might take an hour or so to finish.start the Game Porting Toolkit installation

Possible errors you might encounter include the following:

  • If you proceeded with an older Homebrew version and encountered an unsupported macOS version error, you can update to the latest version of Homebrew by typing brew update and pressing Enter.
  • If you have encountered path issues, you can confirm if the current chosen path is correct by typing which brew and pressing Enter. Your path should be /usr/local/bin/brew. Otherwise, type export PATH=/usr/local/bin:${PATH} and press Enter.

If you prefer a less complicated installation process, you can try a third-party open-source installer called InstallAware, which can be found at InstallAware’s Github repository. This app is Apple-notarized and GUI-enabled, making GPTK installation simpler with just a few clicks. Simply download InstallAware’s dmg file and GPTK’s dmg file and follow the installation instructions as illustrated in the repository.


There are 3 options: running a compatibility layer (Wine Bottler), a virtual machine (Parallels or VMWare Fusion), or via GeForce Now.
Boot Camp is the best option for gamers, as it will give you the best frame rate and doesn’t take much processing power. In case you have a weaker Mac, you can still play the newest AAA games by signing up for GeForce Now.
While Boot Camp doesn’t have support for M1 Macs, you can use Parallels virtual machine or CrossOver Mac. Both of these are paid solutions.
Yes. By installing or virtually running Microsoft’s operating system, you’ll get access to all of the popular Windows games.

Last Words

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to run PC games on Mac. The best solution for you will depend on your preferences, hardware, and the amount of money that you wish to spend.

Marko Medakovic is a professional tech writer that covers everything related to data recovery. This encompasses software analysis and breaking down complex topics so that they are easily understandable to the casual user.
avatar approver Andrey Vasilyev Approver
Andrey Vasilyev is an Editorial Advisor at onMac. Andrey is a software expert with extensive experience in data recovery, computer forensics, and litigation. Andrey has over 12 years of experience in software development, database administration, and hardware repair.
Scroll to top