Here is how games perform in Windows 10 on Arm using Parallels on M1 Macs

Blendlogic posted a video on YouTube recently, in which he ran gaming tests using Parallels in Windows 10 on Arm running on an M1 MacBook Air.

Parallels released a Technical Preview Program recently for M1 based Macs. The company stated that it has developed a ‘new virtualization engine that uses the Apple M1 Mac chip’s hardware-assisted virtualization’ to let users run Arm-based operating systems, like Windows 10, in a virtual setting.

Gaming on Windows 10 on Arm running on M1 MacBook Air using Parallels

To install Windows 10 on Arm on M1 Macs, users have to download Windows 10 Insider Preview build for ARM64. Here is how to do so:

  1. Go to this link.
  2. Follow the instruction and download the software.

Once users have installed Windows 10 on Arm, they will have to make additional changes in Settings to enable x64 emulation, which is only available for the Insider Preview Dev channel.

  1. Go to Windows Insider Program.
  2. Make sure to choose Dev Channel.
  3. Go to Windows Update, and download the update once it shows up.

Blendlogic started off the video by discussing games that do not work. Namely Fall Guys, Destiny 2, Cyberpunk 2077, Apex Legends, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. As Blendlogic was using Parallel 16, it does not support DirectX 12. If someone manages to make it work and launch the games, they will definitely crash a couple of times or not get the best FPS to play with. Still, it is a technical preview of Parallels 16, and hopefully, there will be better results as the developers work to improve it further.

Anti-cheat carrying games have a major chance of not working or crashing. One of the games that were tested in the video was Alien: Isolation. While running the game, Blendlogic was either seeing crashes, both for the game and Windows in Parallels. It shows that even though users are getting Windows 10 on Arm, they may not get full compatibility.

On to the games that did work, Halo seemed to launch fine giving 60 fps with low settings. Steam overlay was not working, and there were some graphical glitches but overall it ran smoothly.

The last game in the test was War Thunder. Previously, the game did not work using CrossOver on macOS. In Windows 10 on Arm, it was running steadily and gave 60-70 fps without much trouble on low settings which was definitely an improvement.

The tests showed that there is still a long way to go before Windows 10 on Arm can successfully run on M1 powered Macs, even when virtualized. The biggest challenge is the lack of fast x64 emulation, which Apple has nailed with Rosetta on M1 Macs.

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About the Author

Gaming editor at iThinkDiff