XIV on Mac: Apple silicon Macs can now get up to 120 fps at 1440p in Final Fantasy XIV thanks to new open source community launcher
Final Fantasy has not had a good run on the Mac. The last known version to support Apple hardware was Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV), but the game's Mac launch in 2015 alongside its first expansion pack met with serious performance criticism. Square Enix was forced to temporarily suspend sales and issue refunds.
However, subsequent updates to the game including the Endwalkers expansion and the transition from OpenGL to Metal API made the game playable on Macs — both Intel and Apple silicon models via Rosetta 2 — even though the official system requirements do not specifically mention M1/M2 support.
According to MacGamerHQ, the 2021 M1 Pro MacBook Pro 14 should be able to run FFXIV at 45-60 fps at 1440 x 900 low settings. Although Square Enix has an official launcher for FFXIV, there exists a community that offers a more efficient and better performing option.
"XIV on Mac" provides a way to run Final Fantasy XIV on Macs without the need to rely on Square Enix's outdated and poorly supported wrapper or paying for a CrossOver license. The XIV on Mac launcher is open source and is written in Swift with support for popular FFXIV mods such as Dalamud, GShade, Anamnesis, and IINACT.
The developers claim that their launcher performs way better than the official wrapper and offers native support for the latest Apple silicon, macOS, and Metal 2 API along with day-one support for major macOS releases. XIV on Mac also bundles a custom Wine distribution with optimized DXVK/MoltenVK translation layers.
Users on Reddit seem to testify to the developer's claims as well. Gamers report up to 2x better performance with the XIV on Mac launcher compared to the official wrapper from Square Enix. One user said that the game runs great with high frame rates on the base M1 MacBook Air in mid settings even on battery power, though there were no specific numbers provided.
According to XIV on Mac, the native launcher should enable excellent frame rates. The Apple M1 Ultra with 64 GPU cores, for example, should be able to afford 75 fps at 5120 x 2880. The M1 Max, on the other hand, can hit up to 120 fps at 1440p while the M1 Pro does 75 fps at 1080p. The latest M2 Max-based Macs are also able to hit between 90 and 120 fps at 1440p.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Final Fantasy XV on the Mac. According to AppleGamingWiki, FFXV does just shows a blank screen when used via CrossOver and does not even start when run via Parallels on Apple silicon.