So you heard CrossOver is an app that allows you to run Windows games and programs on your Mac, but you’re not sure if you need to buy it. When you’re done reading this article, you’ll know if CrossOver is worth it for you.
What is CrossOver?
CrossOver is an app by CodeWeavers that lets you run Windows apps on macOS, Linux, or Chromebooks. What’s interesting about CrossOver is it is not an emulator, but rather a translation software.
In other words, Windows apps run natively on CrossOver and don’t have much lag when compared to Windows apps running on Mac Os emulators. CrossOver has a free 14-day trial, so you can take it for a test run.
The other pricing options are $59.95 for a year and $499.95 for a lifetime use license.
Is CrossOver Worth It?
CrossOver is only worth it if you play a lot of Windows games or you rely heavily on Windows programs such as Microsoft Office.
What makes CrossOver for Mac OS special is you don’t need to reboot to launch Windows games and apps. You will need a Mac running macOS, with High Sierra or later.
CrossOver does have a few bugs and shortcomings, with CodeWeavers admitting that not all Windows applications can run on it. There is a database of compatible programs that is updated on a daily basis.
I recommend checking the database for the program you use to see if CrossOver will work with it.
Recommended MacBook for CrossOver: Apple MacBook Pro M1
CrossOver for Gaming:
CrossOver 20 is supported on Apple’s M1 chip featured in newer Mac models. It allows users to run 32-bit Windows games on their Macs without having to install Windows itself.
As CrossOver is able to run on M1 Apple Silicon Macs, it is a clear winner for those with these models, as Boot Camp, a popular alternative, is not yet compatible with M1.
Running Games on CrossOver:
Before we get into the benchmarks, I need to be clear about one issue. In most cases, games that require a launcher will not work with CrossOver. Most of the time, you will need to download an unofficial copy of the game that strips the launcher to run it with CrossOver.
The reason for that is most game launchers are not supported at the moment, although the compatible list is improving on a daily basis.
One example would be GTA V, the Rockstart Social Club launcher is not compatible with CrossOver, so the only way to launch the game was to use an unofficial copy that bypasses the launcher.
However, according to Andrew Tsai’s Life & Tech tips, the latest build of CrossOver should support Rockstart Social Club.
On another note, most games that use DRM won’t run on CrossOvers. Even if some games open, most are prone to bugs and other issues.
Here is how to best set up CrossOver for Windows games:
- Install CrossOver
- Search for Steam Bottle on CrossOver, and install it (you can install Steam natively too)
- Search for DXVK in CrossOver and install it.
- Install Direct X if playing more modern games.
- Launch Steam from CrossOver and open a game from the library.
CrossOver Game Benchmarks:
Here’s the framerate you can expect from some games using CrossOver with Apple’s M1 MacBooks:
- Portal 2: 60 FPS at 1080P
- Max Payne 3: 50 FPS
- GTA V: 50 – 60 FPS
- Team Fortress 2: – 60 FPS
- Halo Masterchief Collection: 50 – 60 FPS
- Skyrim: 50 – 60 FPS
Bear in mind, if you lower the resolution of the games from Mac’s native resolution to 1080P, the performance should be much better.
Running games on CrossOver can be a little tricky because not all games are supported. On the games that are supported, you will also likely run into graphical issues from time to time.
An alternative to CrossOver is Parallels or Rosetta 2.
CrossOver for Windows Programs:
There is a major appeal to using CrossOver, being that Windows has so many more applications on offer than the Apple App Store, and many of these aren’t naturally compatible with Macs.
If you rely heavily on certain Windows programs, CrossOver can bring them to your Mac.
Once again, I recommend searching the CrossOver compatible app database for the Windows program that you use.
CrossOver, being a software translator rather than an emulator, runs quickly and easily, and all the usual basic Mac commands can still be used, making Windows blend in and run as if it were Apple.
It will save you time and money where you would otherwise have had to find Mac-specific replacements, by giving you access to Windows programs such as Microsoft Office, which will help you out endlessly if you’re a student or worker.
Some users have given reviews of CrossOver being better than competitor Parallels, because it functions more simply, and doesn’t compromise your computer’s resources, nor does it consume computing power as an emulator would.
Why CrossOver is NOT Worth It:
Although being a useful, and user-friendly software, there are some bugs and glitches which can hinder its performance.
Do note that CrossOver recently added support for some 64-bit games, but not all of them are compatible.
The reason for that is 64-bit games require different APIS that CrossOver does not support. However, some 64-bit games can run perfectly fine, it varies from game to game.
The games that are playable often lack functionality, for example, keyboard and mouse support is disabled, and menus don’t work properly.
Also as mentioned, those looking to use it primarily for gaming, especially on Steam, may be disappointed by the lack of options, as many games still won’t run properly.
If CrossOver can’t run the game you want, you can try Parallels Desktop.
Overall, CrossOver is a generally convenient, less expensive option than many of the alternatives, and offers all the essential Windows programs you’d be after, and with extra setups can run several Windows games too.
My suggestion is to take it for a test run with the free trial and see if it can run the Windows games or apps that you need. If it does, consider buying the full product, or testing out an alternative software.
Have you tried CrossOver on your MacBook? Drop a comment below to share your experience.