How to Play Nintendo Switch Games on M1 Mac

Recently, gaming Nintendo Switch games on a Mac isn’t something impossible to do anymore. Read on to know more about how to play Nintendo Switch games on M1 Mac.

Developer Sera Tonin Brocious (@daeken on Twitter) has successfully played Nintendo Switch games on Apple Silicon Macs. However, the gaming experience is not quite perfect yet. This is probably due to the technical limitations of the MoltenVK runtime library, which maps Vulkan to Apple’s Metal graphics framework. Despite that, the emulation still looks very promising overall.

Nintendo Switch Gaming on M1 Mac: Unofficial but Very Interesting

In the video, we can see the Super Mario Odyssey was put to the test on macOS. As the game begins you can start to see those technical limitations and soon after that, a black screen issue here. Unfortunately, this also means that even though the game starts, it only takes a few seconds to stop working correctly.

However, there is no doubt that with time and resources, this project could be completed without problems. Furthermore, the developer has also installed “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” on macOS and prepared for even more tests.

All in all, this project does confirm that the Apple M1 chip has the potential to run console games.

Related article: Apple Silicon M1 Mac Mini vs Intel Mac Mini

Why is it Possible to Play Nintendo Switch Games on M1 Mac Now?

Apple’s Mac and Switch used to run on totally different processors. But now, Apple’s M1 chip is also based on the ARM architecture, the same one used by the Tegra X1 SoC in the Nintendo Switch. Moreover, Apple’s first ARM-based chip is much more powerful, as it has an 8-core CPU. Although both processors have a different layer of customization, this is still the key reason why you can play Nintendo Switch games on macOS. 

On top of that, an emulator is still required in order to run Nintendo Switch games on the Apple platform. And, you can easily notice Yuzu, the emulator that was used in the video. This is a popular Nintendo Switch emulator that many gamers have been using ever since the Switch first came out. It’s made by the same developers who created Citra, which is also another popular emulation platform specifically built for the Nintendo 3DS.

Currently, there are no clear instructions on how everyone can try out emulating a Switch on their own M1 Macs. But, now at least we know it’s possible. We will update the guide on how to play Nintendo Switch games on M1 Mac as soon as it’s available here!

The Bottom Line

Users have been experimenting with M1 Macs ever since they were released. And, it’s incredibly impressive to see this test being done. But, it’s important to note that Nintendo takes a very anti-emulation stance. So, it can get very litigious when it comes to developers creating or distributing their software and ROMs. Also, Nintendo does not have a special interest in Apple either. Therefore, personally, I don’t think this project can go much further.

Regardless, this is still an incredibly cool tech demo that highlights the increased flexibility of the new Apple’s ARM architecture.

Let us know if you have any questions about how to play Nintendo Switch games on Macs in the comments!

Read more: M1 MacBook Air: 8GB vs 16GB RAM

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