Wednesday, 26 March 2008

CodeWeavers releases CrossOver Games

CodeWeavers has announced their new solution for playing Windows games on an Intel Mac. Previously, gaming support hasn't been strong with CrossOver Mac, but they've now taken a different route for gaming. CrossOver Games is based on Wine, the already well known open source compatibility layer for running Windows software on x86 computers in Linux, OS X, and other BSD Unix based systems. In the case of CrossOver Games though, it's optimised for games, whereas Wine is intended for a more general catalogue of Windows software, although it does also run some games (and is popular with Linux gamers).

CodeWeavers claims that "you can run many popular Windows games on your Intel OS X Mac or Linux PC". However, when you check the list of compatible games it's not that large (45 at the date of writing this). They also seem have a tendency to pad the compatibility list; for example, not only is the Orange Box listed, but also every game contained within the Orange Box (5 separate games) making a total of 6 entries for what is essentially one release (unless you buy single games through Steam, which is also included in the list).

Of course the absence of a game from the compatibility list doesn't necessarily mean it won't run - it just may not yet have been tested. And much of the testing is not in-house, relying instead on public feedback, so some of those listed as supported may not have had comprehensive testing. Note that at the date of writing, no Tomb Raider is on the compatibility list...

So every potential MacIntel gaming customer will have to decide for themselves whether to use Wine, CrossOver Games, or some other solution like Boot Camp. At this time Boot Camp (native Windows booting on a MacIntel) is still by far the best way run PC games on an Intel Mac, and basically the only limitations are for games that run on the particular Windows version you're running (XP or Vista). One more consideration is that CrossOver Games comes at a cost of $US39.95, whereas Wine is free and may already cater for your specific game, and Boot Camp requires the purchase of Windows XP or Vista (neither CrossOver Games nor Wine requires a copy of Windows...)

Monday, 3 March 2008

SCi Entertainment Group Business Review

SCi Entertainment Group are the parent company of Eidos Interactive, and as such have ultimate control over games such as Tomb Raider. However, SCi have been in financial difficulties recently and have reviewed their business model. In cases like this there is always the chance that the parent company might sell off their more attractive assets to raise capital, but in a recent announcement (29 February 2008) SCi have confirmed that Tomb Raider is not in their sights and is safe for now! In fact SCi have stated in that press release that Tomb Raider is a prime asset and as such is one of the cornerstones of their business, so there's no reason to be concerned that it will be sold off.

The next game in the series, Tomb Raider: Underworld, had already been pushed back to Christmas 2008 on all platforms (that is, all platforms they develop for - that doesn't mean on the Mac...) That date has been confirmed in the above press release, so although not set in stone TR Underworld is looking good for next Christmas!

(If the link above to the SCi business review doesn't work for you, then go to this page and open the RNS press release dated 29 February 2008 and titled 'SCI Entertainment - Interim Results')