How to Play Age of Empires 2 DE on Mac (M1, M2 or M3)

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The day I shifted from Windows computer to Macbook, the very first game I liked to make it run on the M-1 was Age of Empires DE(Definitive Edition). Fortunately, the game runs fine via CrossOver and Parallels Desktop on the new Mac systems( M1, M2, or M3). I have shared both methods here with their advantages and disadvantages so you can select which one is best for you. In addition to this, I have also covered some cloud-gaming platforms that you can subscribe to run Age of Empires 2 De and other games on your Mac.

This is my Macbook Air M1(8GB) showing the Menu Screen of Age of Empires 2 DE

CrossOver – The Best Way To Play Age of Empires 2 De on Mac

CrossOver is similar to Parallels Desktop as it allows you to run Windows games & programs on your Mac but it does not run full Windows virtually or emulate it. The program translates Windows commands into Mac commands. This means the games and applications will function seamlessly, without any simulation running in the background or tweaking.

To play Age of Empires 2 DE using CrossOver, follow the steps below:

  1. Download and Install Cross Over on your Mac.
  2. Open CrossOver and install Steam from there(Note: This will be a Windows version of Steam that will run only with CrossOver)
  3. Next, Download the file: “ucrtbase.dll
  4. On the steam bottle, go to C: drive and then C:/Windows/System32 and paste the “ucrtbase.dll”. Note: Replace the existing dll.
  5. Now Start the Steam.
  6. Run and Enjoy the game.

The best part is that the latest CrossoOver is one hundred percent compatible with the Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition.

On a Macbook Air M1(8GB) of RAM, the Age of Empires 2 Definitive edition runs perfectly fine. I played a full two-hour match on high settings and there was about zero lag.

Here is the game test of Age of Empires 2 De on my Macbook Air using CrossOver:

How to Play Age of Empires 2 DE using Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop is a third-party application that allows you to run Windows on your Mac. This means you can play any Windows game or use any Windows application on your Mac. This method is recommended for playing Age of Empires 2 De on M1, M2, or M3-based Macs not the ones with Intel processors.

Follow these simple steps to run the game:

  1. Download and Install Parallels Desktop on your Macbook Air.
  2. Open the Parallel Desktop App and complete the Windows setup.
  3. Download and Install Steam right there on the Parallels Desktop Virtual Windows.
  4. Open Steam.
  5. Start the Game.

That’s it.

The great thing about Parallels Desktop is that it’s straightforward to set up and use. Windows will run virtually on your Mac just like any other Mac application.

The latest version available for download is the Parallels Desktop 19, which is better optimized for macOS Sonoma. It can run virtual versions of Windows 10, and 11 without any problem. In addition to that, the performance is also improved in the new update with very few bugs.

The disadvantage of using Parallels desktop is that it only uses half of your system’s memory. For example, if you have an 8GB RAM Macbook Air and want to use the program at its fullest potential then only 4 GB will be allocated for Parallel Desktop–which isn’t enough when doing gaming or other heavy tasks. That’s why I recommend Parallel Desktop for Mac with 16 gigs so it can handle everything without slowing down.

I tested the Age of Empires 2 Definitive edition on a Parallel desktop running on the Macbook Air M1(8 GB RAM) and it was not playable. So make sure you get at least a 16Gb ram model of Macbook.

Cloud Gaming Platforms – Alternative Methods


You can start enjoying playing Age of Empires on any of the Macs by using the cloud gaming platform, Boosteriod. The monthly subscription has a quite reasonable price tag. For a game like Age of Empires 2 DE that is not so graphics intensive can smoothly played at full HD / 60 FPS on a 15 Mbps internet connection.

The Boosteriod can play games available on Steam. So, you will need to purchase the Age of Empires on Steam to play it on Boosteriod.

Xbox Cloud Gaming

So, Xbox Cloud is another cloud-based gaming platform from Microsoft. It’s still in beta version but there are a lot of games available on the scene to play. Users must have the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to play Age of Empires DE or any other game on Xbox Cloud.

The good part is that with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, you will also get access to a library of free games other than Age of Empires that you can enjoy playing,

GeForce Now

GeForce Now is a premium cloud gaming service by Nvidia. They offer streaming games from Steam, Epic, etc for users to play games on Mac.

The platform offers different types of subscription models, with the ultimate membership offering GeForce RTX 4080-class performance which guarantees 4K 120 FPS or 240 FPS.

So, if you want to play Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition on a 4K external monitor attached to your M1/M2 Macbook with Max settings, Geforce Now is the way to go.

musteed to download the Geforce Now app for the M1/M2 Mac.

Age of Empires 2 DE Minimum Requirement

The system requirements for Mac will depend on which method are you using to run Age of Empires DE.

Cloud Gaming: 15 Mbps of stable internet.

CrossOver: Macbook Air M1 With 8GB.

Parallel Desktops: Macbook Air M1 With 16 GB.

Bottom Line

I recommend going for CrossOver by the Crossweaver team to enjoy playing Age of Empires 2 definitive edition comfortably on any Mac M1 model. However, if you have the high-end 16GB or the newer M2 then you can try Parallels Desktop.

Apart from this cloud gaming platforms like Boosteriod, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and GeForce Now are excellent alternative options for playing the Age of Empires on Mac if you have a fast and stable internet connection.

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