On 4th of June, Apple revealed macOS Mojave which brings a dark mode, redesigned App Store, and other features. It also deprecates OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) and OpenCL (Open Computing Language) in favor of Metal API.
This means that apps that use OpenGL and OpenCL will run on Mojave but won’t receive any further updates. Apple encourages graphically intensive apps such as games to adopt Metal ahead of Mojave’s launch. The OpenCL is to be replaced with “Metal and Metal Performance Shaders.”
Metal is an API developed by Apple itself and launched back in 2014. It combines the functions of OpenGL and OpenCL under a singular API. Apple prefers Metal over OpenGL and OpenCL because “Metal avoids the overhead inherent in legacy technologies and exposes the latest graphics processing functionality” of GPUs found in devices across iOS, macOS, and tvOS.
The decision made by Apple isn’t well received by all developers as some have raised concerns over how it affects the future of gaming on Mac. OpenGL is an open-source, cross-platform solution that made it simple for developers to build games on both Mac and PC at the same time. This provided some parity to the Mac which is considered to be significantly behind the PC when it comes to gaming.
“Many games and apps continue to use OpenGL,” particularly those that released prior to Metal in 2014, the shift to Metal-focused development is leaving Mac developers worried about any potential to grow as a gaming platform”, PC Gamer. Game developer Sam Loeschen tweeted that he feels “conflicted” about the decision, calling Metal a “really, really good” graphics API but admitting that “this decision alienates macOS further as a gaming platform.”
More developers and programmers chimed in on the news to PC Gamer, including Alex Austin, who ultimately said that while he likes to develop on Mac to “support fans if I can,” he’s most likely “not going to spend any time on Metal because Macs are a pretty small percentage of the market and really probably not worth it even now.”