In this study, formation of magnesium substituted hydroxyapatite (Ca10-xMgx(PO4)(6)(OH)(2)) on (Ti,Mg)N and TiN coating surfaces were investigated. The (Ti1-xMgx)N (x = 0.064) coatings were deposited on titanium substrates by using cathodic arc physical vapor deposition technique. TiN coated grade 2 titanium substrates were used as reference to understand the role of magnesium on hydroxyapatite (HA) formation. The HA formation experiments was carried out in simulated body fluids (SBF) with three different concentrations (1X SBF, 5X SBF and 5X SBF without magnesium ions) at 37 degrees C. The coatings and hydroxyapatite films formed were characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and FTIR Spectroscopy techniques. The energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) analyses and XRD investigations of the coatings indicated that magnesium was incorporated in the TiN structure rather than forming a separate phase. The comparison between the TiN and (Ti, Mg)N coatings showed that the presence of magnesium in TiN structure facilitated magnesium substituted HA formation on the surface. The (Ti,Mg)N coatings can potentially be used to accelerate the HA formation in vivo conditions without any prior hydroxyapatite coating procedure. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.