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A software maker called TransGaming has unveiled a program called Cider, which is claimed to allow game developers to port their games designed for computers running Microsoft Windows on Intel-based Apple Macintosh machines. Given that there are currently not a lot of games for Apple platform, the application may not only ease life of game developers, but catalyze more people to migrate to Mac.

Cider is a portability engine that allows Windows games to be run on Intel Macs without any modifications to the original game source code.  Cider works by directly loading a Windows program into memory on an Intel-Mac and linking it to an optimized version of the Win32 APIs. According to TransGaming, games are “simply wrapped up in the Cider engine” and they work on the Mac.

While the company does not provide any information in regards possible performance penalties, it stresses that developers will be able to have one code base to maintain while keeping the ability to target multiple platforms. The software designer claims that the Cider is “so effective” that publishers will be able to simultaneously deploy the Mac and Windows versions of their titles, even for new games already in development. Cider powered games use the same copy protection, lobbies, game matching and connectivity as the original. Pricing of the Cider is unknown.

Besides Cider, the company also has a piece of software called Cedega, which is aimed at end users and allows to run Windows games on Intel-based Macs. It is unclear whether Cedega is popular and whether performance it provides is similar to what is offered by Windows-running systems. It should also be kept in mind that Intel-based Macintosh systems either use integrated graphics cores or Radeon X1600-series graphics chips from ATI, which may not provide sufficient performance for demanding games.

UBS Investment Research expects Apple to sell over 1.3 million Macs next quarter and between 5.1 and 6.7 million units over the 2006-2007 fiscal year. A poll of Mac purchasers conducted by Apple shows that nearly 50% of buyers are “new to Mac”. Furthermore, analyst Charles Wolfe of Needham & Company expects Apple to triple its share of the home computer market.

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