UPDATE: 21/09/2020 - No luck with running Doom. The game detects the GPU as integraded card and it will not run, so no joy. On the other hand, Fusion runs just fine with no problems at all.
UPDATE: 15/9/2020 (23:15 CEST) - Upgrade from 11.5 to v12 was fine with zero problems. Upgraded my Win10 LTSC VM from compatibility level 16 to the latest 18 and started to install Doom (2016). Considering that my connection is so slow this will take some time for all 68GB to download. Fingers xx!

With each year VMWare and Parallels release new versions of their virtualization platforms. Parallels 16 was released a few days ago and today we got a new version from a leading virtualization company VMWare.

Along side Fusion (virtualization platform for macOS), we also got Workstation 12, version for Windows. I will focus on the macOS side of the story here.

So what's all the noise about here? Well, the biggest change apart from support for the upcoming BigSur macOS and several more features is the fact that for the first time Fusion is FREE!

Ok, a bit context here. VMware has decided to change the licensing model for Fusion and it is like this:

Fusion 12 Player (free for personal use license) and Fusion 12 PRO. Fusion 12 Player replaces Fusion 11.5 ‘standard’, and follows the same pricing and licensing model as Workstation Player, meaning that it is both free for Personal Use, but requires a license for Commercial Use. Fusion Player has the same features as Fusion 11.5.x ‘standard’ and more.

So if you’re a home user who switched to Mac but want to use Windows for things like DX11 games or other personal apps, you can do so, for free, with a Personal Use License.

On top of this, there is also a new pricing model for Fusion PRO. Fusion 12 Pro now supports individual use on up to 3 devices which now include Windows or Linux PCs running Workstation Pro. Yes, your Fusion 12 Pro key will unlock Workstation 16 Pro on Windows or Linux. Upgrades for existing customers are reduced to $99, and both upgrades and new licenses ($199) now give users the ability to use their license on up to 3 personal devices running either Fusion Pro for Mac, Workstation Pro for Windows, or Workstation Pro for Linux.

Wow, this is great news! Finally a mac version of Fusion that we can all use without any major differences when it comes to features. While we are on the subject what will PRO offer over the Player version?

Well here is a shortlist of features that are NOT supported with the Player version:

  • Virtual Network Customization (NAT, network rename)
  • Virtual Network Simulation (Packet Loss, Latency, Bandwidth)
  • Connect to vSphere/ESXi Server
  • Remote vSphere Host Power Control
  • Create Linked Clones
  • Create Full Clones
  • Encrypt VMs

As you can see, almost every "home" users can live without these features, so head over to VMWare and register for free to claim your Fusion 12 Player for free!

Whats new??

Here is the list of some new features and highlights for the new v12:

macOS Big Sur Support

We’ve firstly made some big changes to get ready for the next major version of macOS 11.0 Big Sur, for both Hosts and Guests. With big changes happening at the deepest layers of the Mac Operating System, we’ve rearchitected our stack to take full advantage of Apple’s hypervisor APIs so that we no longer need kernel extensions to run Fusion on Mac making it more secure and ready for the future of macOS.

Fusion 12 will fully support macOS Catalina at launch, and is ready to support macOS Big Sur once it’s made generally available. On Catalina, it runs the same way it always has: with our kernel extensions. On Big Sur, it will run VMs, Containers and Kubernetes clusters by using Apple’s APIs.

Containers and Kubernetes

For developers, we’ve added new features to our container engine CLI, vctl, while also making it available on Workstation for Windows.

‘vctl’ can now perform ‘vctl login’ to persistently log into remote container registries without having to type the full URL path every time you want to pull an image.

vctl also brings with it a new feature to deploy Kubernetes clusters with support for `kind`.  vctl can expose a ‘docker compatible’ socket for kind to connect to without modification to `kind` itself.

DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1

Fusion and Workstation now both support running games and apps with Direct3D version 11, otherwise known as ‘DirectX 11’, or OpenGL 4.1. Users can now allocate up to 8GB of vRAM to your 3D accelerated guest to maximize gaming and 3D app performance. (vms must be configured for 16GB of RAM or more to unlock the 8GB vRAM option.)

You can be sure that I will try to run some GL games like Doom and see how they run, if they will run at all. With the new version of OpenGL it might be possible if version 4.1 will be enough!

eGPU Support

Fusion 12 Player and Fusion 12 Pro also now support eGPU devices. With eGPU, Fusion offloads the resource-taxing graphics rendering process from the internal integrated or discrete GPU, to a much more powerful one running in a supported external enclosure.

Install from Recovery Partition using APFS

We’ve also added APFS support for installing macOS from the Recovery Partition, making it easier than ever to install macOS guests.

vSphere 7 Compatibility

Fusion and Workstation have been updated to support connections to vSphere 7 through ESXi and vCenter for remote VM operation and configuration, as well as providing workload mobility / compatibility between Desktops and Data Centers.

Sandboxed Graphics Rendering Engine

Fusion and Workstation both offer a new security enhancement feature: Sandbox Renderer. The SBR runs the virtual graphics engine in a separate thread with reduced privilege, making Fusion and Workstation more secure out-of-the-box without sacrificing performance or quality.

Improved Accessibility

We believe in making computing as inclusive as possible for everyone. To that end, we’ve improved our compliance with VPAT Section 508 to help users of all kinds get the full benefits of using virtual machines.

USB 3.1 Support + Performance & Bugfixes

In this release we’ve also added support for USB 3.1 virtual devices, allowing for USB 3.1 hardware devices to be passed into virtual machines with full driver support.

Are you using any virtualization software and if so for what? Let me know down in the comments.