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Best OS for Gaming in 2023 – Windows, Linux or MacOS?

Best OS for Gaming

Windows is the most compatible operating system which makes it the best OS for gaming. MacOS and Linux often don’t support the latest games.

Performance and compatibility are two of the most important factors for gaming. Any serious gamer has to make sure their chosen OS can keep up with the current market’s demand for speed and processing power.

The three most popular choices for a gaming operating system are Windows, Linux-based or MacOS options.

Which of the three are best?

Here’s a look at everything you need to know about choosing the right operating system for gaming.


Gaming operating system? Yes, for the majority of game releases.

Windows has been the dominant force in the operating system sphere for decades. Whether you’re at a gaming tournament or logging into a PC at the office, it’s likely that the default operating system around will be designed by Microsoft.

The operating system was revolutionary at its first introduction, and continues to lead the race, especially when it comes to gaming.

Microsoft officially ended support for Windows XP on the 8th of April, 2014 – and Windows 10 was released on the 29th of July, 2015.

Next, let’s take a look at how well Windows performs when it comes to gaming capabilities.

Windows for Gaming

Choose any PC game on the market and check it for compatibility.

The majority of games are released with Windows in mind first – and this has been the main factor that makes it the first choice of OS for gaming.

Windows gamers are very seldom excluded from the release of a game. While  Linux and MacOS users usually have to wait longer for compatible versions of a game to be released – if it gets released at all.

You’re unlikely to run into any compatibility issues with gaming and Windows – and if you do, it’s usually easy enough to fix with a patch, update or hardware change.


Gaming Operating System? Yes, but only for some games.

Linux describes a group of operating systems based around the Linux-kernel.

Ones like Ubuntu and Mint are the most known, but there are plenty of others out there.

Linux has never been known as an operating system built for gaming. And it’s fair to say that the majority of new releases aren’t optimized for most Linux operating systems.

Having said this, because the whole idea of Linux is open source, there are a lot of people out there who are trying to fill the gap when it comes to Linux and gaming.

Linux for Gaming

It’s obvious that Linux wasn’t designed with gaming in mind first – instead, it’s the first-class choice for developers, online security specialists and a lot of writers rather than most gamers.

If you want gaming on Linux, operating systems like Ubuntu and Mint run some games. But they leave you with limited capacity when it comes to what you can run.

As a gamer, this is an immediate disadvantage.

SteamOS is a Linux-based operating system that offers more gaming options. However, if you’re switching over as a gamer, you’re still going to find it limited.

Other options exist, like Linux Console and Game Drift Linux, but they’re even more limited for mainstream gamers.

There are games like DOTA2, Borderlands 2 and Bioshock Infinite – but you have no guarantee that the developers for the next big new release will care if you’re running Linux. Which cuts you out of a huge percentage of the gaming market.

That’s a plus for effort, but no cigar.

Sure, if you’re on Linux you still have the option of running a Windows emulator when you’re faced with a game that’s not compatible. But why would you want to at the cost of system resources when you could just have gone with Windows?

Casual gamers (and occasional ones) might find Linux just fine, but anyone who marks days off their calendar until a game gets released should opt for Windows instead.


Gaming operating system? Not recommended for mainstream gamers.

MacOS is a revolutionary operating system for a lot of industries out there, but gaming really isn’t one of them.

If you’re a professional designer, layout artist or writer, MacOS is one of the top operating systems out there (with the only real drawback being price).

If you’re a gamer, it’s fair to admit that MacOS isn’t a great choice. In fact, most gamers don’t consider MacOS an option at all when it comes to their preferable platform.

Here’s why.

MacOS for Gaming

The best you can do for gaming if you’re on a Mac is to choose from the games available. Which aren’t nearly as vast as they need to be because they’re almost sure to be “conversions” of games that happen months or years after the release date – or use an emulator.

That’s not even ideal for casual gamers, and it definitely won’t cut it if you’re a professional gamer.

Even players of card games find themselves left out of the race: BridgeBaseOnline was developed only for Windows. Yet Mac compatibility doesn’t seem to be planned at all – to the dismay of thousands of bridge players who might happen to use Mac are forced to either switch to another OS or find another game.

This isn’t unique to the card gamer sphere, and you can see this ripple-effect with a lot of games. Try it and pick a game you play often – then see if it’s compatible for MacOS.

It’s likely that it’s not.

Having a Mac is great: They rank top when it comes to design, functionality, programming and speed – but these factors are all true if you’re anything except for a gamer.

Game developers think about Windows and console compatibility first, and more are starting to think about Linux compatibility. But MacOS compatibility still remains last on the list for most game developers, which means that it’s going to cut you out of most games.

MacOS isn’t even a popular operating system choice for game developers themselves, and it’s not preferable to build any mainstream game in Mac either. So there’s really no good reason (at least for the time being) why a gamer would say, “I prefer Mac.”

Related posts:

Building a gaming PC? – start here

optimizing MacOS for gaming – how-to guide

Getting Fortnite to run better on MacOS

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Richard Bolden

David has been interested in computers for over 25 years. From playing games on his parents computer as a kid in the early 90s, to building his first PC in 2003 (and many more since then). He has a passion for everything related to computing and this site is dedicated to helping others find the info they need.