I used a MacBook Pro to play GeForce Now - the Butterfly keyboard is bad for gaming

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
I wish I had the 16-inch MacBook Pro instead (Image credit: Future)

I'll be the first to admit that streaming services like GeForce Now are nowhere near where they need to be to disrupt the gaming market like they clearly intend to. But they are kind of cool, and that's doubly true for GeForce Now. 

The thing that attracts me to Nviida's service over something like Google Stadia is that I don't have to buy any games that I already own to play – I get to use my existing Steam, Origin and Epic Games libraries, all of which I've been building up for literally years in a long string of terrible financial decisions. 

I love that I'll be able to play my games on my MacBook Pro – at least some of them – while I'm chilling in my living room, tens of feet away from my gaming PC. But, that means playing with the Butterfly keyboard.

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

I'm upset that I can't find some way to use the Touchbar in games (Image credit: Future)

Let me get one thing out of the way

Before I start complaining about the most obvious problem in the world (read: using a MacBook keyboard while gaming), I have to admit something potentially embarrassing. 

I like the Butterfly keyboard. I actually love it.

I know, I know, the Butterfly keyboard is the worst, right? I should clarify that I only really prefer it when I'm working, as I find the low travel is comfortable when I'm trying to get some writing done, and it's still the keyboard that I type fastest on. I even have access to a literal pile of mechanical keyboards both at my office and at home and I still use Apple's keyboard for work. 

I totally understand why people hate it, and you'd better believe that I've definitely got my fair share of odd looks from colleagues at the office when I've evangelized about my love of Apple's keyboards. Most people absolutely loathe the Butterfly keyboard and if you do, you're totally valid. I just happen to love it, and my opinion is totally not valid

But, well, even I hate playing games on it. 

Pictured: what I'm actually used to playing PC games with

Pictured: what I'm actually used to playing PC games with (Image credit: Future)

They're called gaming keyboards for a reason

Gaming keyboards exist for a reason. The deeper travel,  tactile keys and yes, even the RGB lighting serve to enhance the PC gaming experience. When you're playing a high-speed game like Wolfenstein Youngblood, there are definitely going to be moments where your hand is going to slip and hit keys that it's not supposed to. Ideally, the keys on a good gaming keyboard won't actuate just cause you brush over them with your clumsy fingers.

And especially on the MacBook Pro, where it's phenomenally easy to accidentally hit a key on accident, I constantly hit the wrong button. This could potentially come down to my lack of coordination, of course, but I never claimed I was well coordinated anyway.

Think back to when the MacBook Pro was making all the headlines in the worst ways. No matter how much I love them, Butterfly keyboards are famously prone to failure, especially if you have a 2016 MacBook Pro or a 2015 MacBook. GeForce Now will absolutely run on either of these laptops, even if the 2015 MacBook has a comically weak processor – but just imagine you're hitting a button and it just gets stuck in a game. Or what if it doesn't register at all? That's not something that's happened to me, but I can totally see it happening

So I guess that leads me to the conclusion that while GeForce Now will absolutely let you play the best PC games on the MacBook of your choice, it might just be best to pick up a gaming keyboard. 

That sucks, of course, because those things are expensive, none of them are compatible with USB-C and they're practically all designed for Windows PCs. You can still use a Windows keyboard on a Mac, of course, but it's not a fun time. 

Luckily, TechRadar has a list of the best gaming keyboards on the market right now, so if you're committed to playing GeForce Now games on Mac, it might be worthwhile checking that out. Oh, and pick up a USB-C adapter while you're at it. 

Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas (Twitter) is TechRadar's computing editor. They are fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but they just happen to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop them a line on Twitter or through email.