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Can I play computer (3D) games using Parallels Desktop?

  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition
  • Parallels Desktop
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition


  • I have Parallels Desktop installed on my Mac. Is it possible to play computer games in my Windows virtual machine?


With Parallels Desktop, you can run games and applications that require video cards with DirectX or OpenGL support in your virtual machines.

  • The DirectX10.1 and OpenGL2.1 support can be enabled for Windows-based virtual machines with Parallels Tools installed.
  • The OpenGL2.1 support can be enabled for Linux-based virtual machines with Parallels Tools installed.

Installing Parallels Tools

Please follow instructions from KB115835 to install Parallels Tools in your Virtual Machine.

Checking virtual machine configuration

  1. Open Virtual Machine configuration window

  2. Make sure your virtual machine is preconfigured for Games only by checking General tab > Configure for > Change.

  3. Set the maximum volume of Memory within the recommended limits on your Mac. Make sure you keep at least 50% of total RAM being still allocated to the Mac OS X. To know how much RAM you have on your Mac click the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen > About This Mac. For more information please visit KB113649

  4. Switch to Options tab -> Optimization. Make sure that Performance option is set to 'Faster virtual machine', and Power option is set to 'Better performance.

  5. Switch to Hardware tab -> Video (Graphics). Set 256MB of video memory. Set the desired DirectX version from the drop-down menu.

  6. Check Enable vertical synchronization.

  7. Check the settings of Mouse & Keyboard > Smart Mouse and choose Auto-detect for the games. The Keyboard option needs to be set to Optimize for games.

The information about Parallels Desktop 9 Game Benchmarks you can find in this article

Supported versions

  • OpenGL 2.1
  • DirectX 10.1
  • Shader Model 4

Related articles

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PD Business

PD Pro Edition

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