Are you wondering if you can play Age of Empires 4 on a Mac? Age of Empires 4 is the latest title in the popular Age of Empires series.
It’s included in Xbox Game Pass and also sold separately on Steam. The system requirements are also not very high, so even people with low-end machines can run it.
But where does that leave Mac users? Let’s take a look.
Can You Play Age of Empires 4 on Mac?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to play Age of Empires 4 on M1 Macs because the game exclusively uses Directx 12. Even emulation software like Crossover or Parallels Desktop doesn’t support Directx 12. While the M1 chips are certainly powerful enough to run the game, the software is not compatible. There’s no way to use another version of Directx with Age of Empires 4.
The only exception to getting Age of Empires 4 running on a Mac is using Bootcamp which is only available on Intel Macs. However, most Intel Macs have been phased out. The ones that are available do not have powerful enough hardware to run the game at a reasonable frame rate.
There is hope, though. CrossOver does have plans to support Directx 12 titles in the future. Nevertheless, it may be quite some time before they can support Directx 12 at a level that offers playable performance.
The most generous predictions are CrossOver will support DirectX 12 in 2023 but that is mostly a rumour. Nevertheless, it is on the CrossOver dev’s radar, and they are working towards it.
How to Play Age of Empires 4 on Bootcamp (Intel Only)
- Open Bootcamp Assistant in Utilities
- Insert a USB Drive with a minimum of 64 GB of space (boot partition)
- Format the partition
- Install Windows 10
- Restart and hold Option Key to boot into Windows
- In Windows, download updates, drivers, and necessary system files
- Download Gamepass (or Steam)
- Install Age of Empires 4
There are still a couple of Intel Macs available for sale. I wouldn’t recommend buying an Intel Mac today because the M1 Macs are simply way better in terms of performance. However, if you do have a modern Intel Mac it should be able to run Age of Empires 4 with Bootcamp.
The performance will vary depending on your Mac’s CPU. To give you an example, the 2019 Intel MacBook Pro can run Age of Empires 4 at around 30 – 40 frames a second on the lowest possible settings and resolution.
Bear in mind, that it’s also possible to use an external eGPU to get better performance with your Mac. In other words, if you have an Intel Mac with an external GPU, then you can play Age of Empire 4 with a good framerate.
Is Age of Empires 4 on Xbox Cloud Gaming?
Xbox Cloud Gaming allows you to play games through a web browser on any device, including a Mac. Unfortunately, Age of Empires 4 is not available on Xbox Cloud Gaming and it’s unlikely to be added any time soon. The reason for that is Xbox Cloud Games are streamed from Xbox Series X consoles and Age of Empires 4 is a PC exclusive.
Xbox did announce that Age of Empires 4 was coming to Xbox Cloud Gaming but that seems to have been a mistake. Since the announcement, the cloud gaming logo has been removed from the game. It’s only playable on PC at the moment.
Phil Spencer mentioned on Twitter that PC games will eventually come to Xbox Cloud Gaming but the focus at the moment is on console games. I will update this article when Age of Empires 4 is available on the Xbox Cloud Gaming service. Age of Empires 4 is also not available on Google Stadia.
Can You Play Age of Empires 4 on CrossOver?
No. Crossover does not support Directx 12. The developers are working on it and may release an update that supports Directx 12 in the coming year.
Can You Play Age of Empires 4 on Parallels Desktop
No. You can’t play Age of Empires 4 on Parallels Desktop because it does not support Directx 12. Parallels Desktop has not released any announcement regarding their plans for Directx 12. It is unlikely they’ll support it any time soon.
What About Other Age of Empires Games?
The good news is that the other Age of Empires games can run on Macs, even on Apple Silicon because they use older Directx versions. Age of Empires 2 and 3 runs great on the M1 Macs with Crossover or Parallels. Even the definitive editions run well.
For instructions on how to install the older Age of Empires games on M1 Macs, take a look at this Reddit thread. Generally, it’s recommended to play through Steam because the Xbox app can have issues.
If you already bought an M1 Mac, you could consider returning it for a refund and getting a Windows laptop instead. Window’s laptops are not as fast as the M1 Macs, but they’re more compatible with games and software, especially if the laptop has a dedicated graphics card. Another idea would be to buy a gaming PC.
On that note, Age of Empires 4 is available to game-stream but you can only stream it from your PC to another device. So you have to have the game open on a PC to stream it to your Mac. It’s not a very practical setup and you’ll have a lot of stutters and input lag due to your network. If you have a PC and Mac, you might as well just play it on your PC.
Remember, M1 Macs are powerful but they’re not gaming machines. Only games that have native Mac OS clients run well on the M1 Macs, such as League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and a handful of others. You can use emulators like CrossOver and Parallels to run games too, but the performance is a hit or miss, and it’s a bit of a hassle to install.
To summarize, M1 Mac users can’t play Age of Empires 4 at the moment because none of the emulation software support Directx 12. Intel Mac users can get the game running with Bootcamp but the performance might not be great. The older Age of Empires games are compatible with the M1 Macs using Crossover or Parallels, and the Steam editions are recommended.