Up For Debate - Should in-game benchmark tools be free for all players?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, Nov 7, 2020 5:00 PM
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With the recent releases of several games now including extensive benchmark utilities in-game, we thought of posing a question to you guys: should in-game benchmark tools be separate of the base game and free for all players? Then you can download a benchmark tool for a specific game to see how well your system will perform before actually buying the game itself.

For instance, say you want to get one of the biggest games of the year, Cyberpunk 2077, exactly when it releases. However, you’re rocking a pretty low-end setup before Christmas rolls round and you can finally upgrade your setup, but that doesn't change the fact you want to play CP2077 on day 1.

Let’s say you have the bare minimum card, the GTX 780, and you want to know what kind of performance and quality you can expect from Cyberpunk before you actually play the game. The problem is that you need to actually buy the game and try it out first, and if it doesn't play well and you instead want to wait for an upgrade then you’ll just have to refund it, which can be quite disheartening once you’ve already made the purchase.

Obviously there are ways to get around this, like refunding the game after purchase as mentioned above, or obtaining a copy of the game in… other ways… but again these aren’t always ideal. And in a world where demos are scarce (though, admittedly, on the rise again) this would be a great way to make sure customers are happy with performance before making purchase.

Personally I don’t see any harm in it, as the benchmark software wouldn’t be packaged with the full game and therefore there’s no way of being able to experience the game through the benchmark, and it will only test your PC's performance.

As a side note: I am aware that a lot of games these days have in-game benchmark tools that are not indicative of real in-game performance (*cough* Watch Dogs Legion *cough*). Casting those worries aside, let’s treat this debate like all benchmark tools from here on out are 100% accurate and completely representative of in-game performance.

What do you think? Should in-game benchmark tools be free for all players and separate from the base game? Or should there be other ways available to test performance before purchase? And what is your routine for testing performance in-game? Let’s debate!

Should in-game benchmark tools be free for all players?

On average how accurate have you found benchmark utilities in-game?

Do you test a game's performance before playing?

Our favourite comments:

What i want is games that allow you to change setting without restarting. Love those.

Prometheusx

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21:22 Nov-18-2020

You should be able to check and test and benchmark before you buy.

It doesn't make sense to find out after you bought and installed the game.


Because this first startup feeling seeing a good intro and getting ready to play is ruined if the game doesn't run or just crash.
Returning the game and, buying it later when you can run it does not bring back that first start feeling.

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21:25 Nov-08-2020

might as well go and see benchmarks for my specs on youtube.

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08:58 Nov-08-2020

There is no debate here. It should absolutely be free. Given that companies have resorted to outright lying about system requirements so that they can sell to the masses (look up any AC games or even Legion recently), benchmarks need to be free so that the players can make the ultimate decision.

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12:33 Nov-08-2020

I concur

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18:55 Nov-08-2020

I also agree, but I'd add that those benchmarks should be representative of the actual gameplay somewhat. I'm sure you've also seen plenty of in-game benchmarks that were either running either considerably better than the actual game, or worse. That could use some improvement, IMO.

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11:59 Nov-09-2020

Seconded.

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07:06 Nov-08-2020

Demos should be a thing again.But then again,with all those 5-10-15 GBs "first day patches" i don't know how accurate they will be.

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02:58 Nov-08-2020

"but that doesn't change the fact you want to play CP2077 on day 1." Learn to be patient. Or find a friend who has it, make a copy as it's DRM-free then test it on your current rig. If it works buy it on Gog that day, if it doesn't buy it anyway as you're planning on upgrading your rig three weeks later anyhow.

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01:19 Nov-08-2020

So I have a pretty stupid question.
Is there a specific reason why game developers can't get together and agree on a standard on how to measure their games (FPS - min, avr, max, 99% and stuff; latency, stuttering) and just built that into all their games (like a plug-in that could be developed and improved down the line)?

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02:52 Nov-08-2020

I'm guessing it wouldn't be possible as different games use different game engines eg. UE4 or Unity and most of them would be customised as well by developers. Saying that though there are third party apps that provide framerate stats, there's even basic one in Steam's options.

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12:21 Nov-08-2020

Do you use any app to measure your game stats?

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14:04 Nov-08-2020

The only game I was concerned about in regards to FPS was AC: Odyssey and I just used Uplay's built-in FPS counter to check that.


MSI Afterburner is free and can be used with AMD and Nvidia cards (don't need to be MSI) and that has a FPS counter, I just tend to use it for checking temps and GPU/CPU usage. There are paid apps such as FPS Monitor but I'd suggest trying Afterburner first.

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18:57 Nov-08-2020

The new Nvidia performance metrics tools that come with the last 2 or 3 drivers - they're good! You can customize roughly how much info they show, but then it shows you realtime your fps, avg fps, frametimes, 99th, how many watts the GPU is pulling, clocks, etc. Pretty cool to have that built into the driver for once :)

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20:28 Nov-08-2020

@Imwhat
I've used MSI Afterburner in the past and it does everything I need it to.
@Xquatrox
Didn't know that Nvidia had that tool in their drivers. Guess I've been a little out of touch.

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23:03 Nov-07-2020

You can simply purchase the game from a vendor that allows you to refund/return it within seven or fourteen days. This way you can try it out on your device and if you don't like the performance - get your money back and buy it later on.

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22:39 Nov-07-2020

unfortunately most benchmark doesn't give accurate results,I think demos or at least a benchmark that looks like gameplay(like saint denis benchmark from RDR2) is much more better and accurate than flaying camera with a bunch of explosives.

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06:30 Nov-08-2020

I don't know what to say, haha. The real benchmark in that game is Strawberry, not Saint Denis.

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21:40 Nov-07-2020

Yeah, whole in-game benchmark, if it exists, definitely should be free fro all owenrs. There really is no reason to make it paid. Hell, argument could be made to make benchmark free for publicity sake, since it could bring in more potential buyers. Or have whole world talking about it, like Cinebench. Though it is easy to fail, like FF XV benchmark did, hence it gained no popularity.

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21:43 Nov-07-2020

As for accuracy, it is mixed bag, built in benchmarks tend to overshoot in either direction more often than not, so they aren't completely reliable, I wouldn't say they are fairly accurate, but also wouldn't say they are not at all. Still, I like to use them for early evaluation, but I always tweak it further as I find nice area in game to do so.

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21:35 Nov-07-2020

I think demo versions of games should be offered,
benchmark won't tell you how the gameplay is...

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00:12 Nov-08-2020

There's YouTube for that. But there is no harm in checking whether your system can run it or not without having to waste money first.

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12:09 Nov-11-2020

YouTube isn't "hands on" experience,
but I admit I like to watch some brief video reviews if possible, to get better idea on how game feels to the reviewer

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19:40 Nov-07-2020

What i want is games that allow you to change setting without restarting. Love those.

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07:40 Nov-08-2020

This! I often don't even bother tinkering with settings because of the restarting.

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18:58 Nov-08-2020

Yeah... It's not often that a setting requires an outright restart, but when there is one - oof...

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17:46 Nov-07-2020

If they don't want to give us demos then benchmarks are the next best thing.

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17:31 Nov-07-2020

To me, every 3D game not having one makes so little sense. The game engines have all the tools to measure the performance in the background. Benchmarks are essentially just flying cameras through part of the game, and displaying the tools.

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