The one Mac gaming problem that no one is talking about


Halo running on a MacBook Pro.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

For the first time in years, I’m genuinely excited about the Mac’s gaming prospects. This year looks set to be a great one for Mac gamers, with hardware and software finally aligning to bring a bounty of great games and blistering performance in every area.

Well, almost every area. You see, there’s still one thing that is holding gaming back on the Mac. No, it’s not the range of games or the performance of Apple’s computers — it’s the Magic Mouse.

A gaming hindrance

Magic Mouse next to a Mac keyboard on a desk.
kaboompics / Pixabay

Compare any of the best gaming mice to Apple’s Magic Mouse and one thing will instantly become obvious: they look nothing like each other. Most gaming mice feature ergonomic shapes and a few extra buttons that can be customized to your own controls. The Magic Mouse, meanwhile, is a low-profile white pill that doesn’t appear to have any buttons at all (it does, they’re just blended into the body).

The reason for the disparity is clearly the different use cases. The Magic Mouse is built for productivity and general use while gaming mouse are intended for, well, gaming. Apple’s device has a flat surface so that you can use it for gestures, something almost no other mouse offers.

It’s a clever feature, but let’s face it, it’s pretty much useless if you play a lot of games. If that’s your pastime, you want a mouse that’s easy to grip in fast-paced games. The flat Magic Mouse, meanwhile, is a slippery slab that can swiftly fly out of your hand in first-person shooters. Its smooth buttons are hard to find in intense moments, while its total lack of side buttons mean you can’t assign any extra commands to the mouse for quick access.

Lies of P being played on an iMac.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

That all means that right now, the Magic Mouse is useless for games, even for casual gaming. It’s far too low-profile to be useful in anything but the slowest, most relaxing games, and even there, its uncomfortable shape means you probably won’t want to use it for long.

In other words, it’s a gaming dud. And that might have been fine in years gone by because — let’s be honest here — Apple didn’t give a fig about gaming. Now, though, the company has been vocal about how its devices are gaming powerhouses, and with the arrival of the M3 generation of chips and huge titles like Baldur’s Gate 3 making their way onto the Mac, that’s starting to ring true.

Now, I know what you’re thinking — Apple never claimed the Magic Mouse would be good for games. And most gamers are going to want to buy their own dedicated gaming mouse anyways. But if Apple wants to lure more developers to its platform and convince current Mac users to give them a try, having the bundled mouse be halfway decent would be very smart.

Ergonomics first

A person using the Logitech MX Master 3S for Mac mouse on a desk.
Logitech

To be clear, I’m not saying Apple needs to ditch the Magic Mouse and go full-on gamer mode with a garish device sporting a ton of blinding RGB lights and aggressive, swooping curves (we all know Apple will never do this). It just needs to improve its mouse so that it’s better adapted to the Mac’s new reality as a gaming destination.

Apple could fix this by bringing out a better Magic Mouse that’s more ergonomic and better-suited to games, even if indirectly so. What do I mean by that? Well, it’s no secret that the Magic Mouse’s low profile can get very uncomfortable over extended usage. It offers no support to your hand or your wrist, and I know at least one person who found it so painful that they had to switch to an upright ergonomic mouse to alleviate the discomfort. If Apple simply redesigned the Magic Mouse to have a better, more comfortable shape, it would go a long way to making it a lot friendlier for gamers.

Making this change won’t come without its trade-offs. For one thing, a more ergonomic mouse probably wouldn’t have the flat surface that the current Magic Mouse uses for gestures. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t get gesture control at all. The Logitech MX Master 3S has a gesture button that you hold while moving the mouse in various directions to perform quick actions. It’s a genius idea and proves that supreme comfort and enhanced control can go hand in hand.

Redesigning the Magic Mouse to be more ergonomic will be worth it, not just for better gaming performance, but for more comfortable long-term usage. And if it means Apple can rethink the absurd charging situation of its current mouse, all the better.

The Mac could have the best games in the world, but if Apple’s default mouse remains nearly unusable ing ames, it’s going to put gamers off (or force them to spend even more money on a better mouse). It needn’t be that way. All that needs to change is pretty much everything about the Magic Mouse.

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