Xbox Insiders app displays a rating to indicate how games will perform on your computer

Dec 3, 2021

Can you run it? Gamers may recognize the phrase, it is the tag line of a popular benchmarking service that determines whether your computer can run a game or not. It's actually a pretty terrible way to judge the performance of your system, but things like these have a cult/meme status.

Xbox Insiders app displays a rating to indicate how games will perform on your computer

Now, if you are curious whether your PC can handle a game, there is a way you can get an idea. The Xbox app now displays a rating to indicate how the games will perform on your computer.

I tried this on a Windows 10 machine with the regular Xbox app, it does not have the rating system. You will need to be using the Xbox Insiders app on your system to get the new feature. The Xbox app has been getting new features steadily, Microsoft recently added an option in the app that allows you to install games to any folder.

Xbox Insiders app displays a rating to indicate how games will perform on your computer

Search for a game, and visit its listing page. You will see a banner that displays a message about the performance. For example, it will say, "Should play great on this PC."

So, what is this rating based on? Does Microsoft have a database of benchmarks for specific GPUs and CPUs? Does it use the minimum system requirements of a game, and check whether your computer's specifications match them or the recommended hardware? Microsoft does have access to the system information, and we have seen tools like PC Check that analyze your machine's compatibility with Windows 11. We don't have an official explanation about it.

Xbox Insiders app game performance rating

That said, I don't believe it uses the minimum requirements or your PC's specs for the check. Some games display a rating that says "Performance check not available yet". This specific message seems to be displayed on newer titles like Age of Empires 4, Forza Horizon 5, and so on. Upcoming games don't have a rating displayed on their listings either.

I tested the rating system by downloading games that I have never played. I didn't run them, just to make sure the Xbox app is not using it is as a benchmark to determine the performance. But the app still displays ratings for these titles. Since I couldn't find a setting related to the ratings in the Xbox app, I can only speculate that the new feature it is either based on feedback from users, or telemetry data gathered from similar computers.

Is this a reliable way to tell if games will run properly on your computer? I think it can assist you in making a decision whether to buy (or download for free if you've Gamepass) a game or not. If the app says the computer may not be able to play the game, you may as well skip it.

For what it's worth, I find the ratings to be acceptable. I played Age of Empires 4 when it was launched in October, and while I didn't have issues running or playing the game, I did notice that it was pretty taxing on the CPU, though you could attribute it to a single threading issue. To be fair to it, the game did play great, and so did Forza Horizon 4 which I benchmarked on Windows 11 here. To sum up, based on my experience, the ratings seem to be reliable.

I've mentioned this a few times before, I'm not a fan of benchmarks, the actual performance of games depend on your system's specs, how graphically demanding the game is and more importantly, how well the game has been optimized. Even though having the game performance ratings on the Xbox app is nice, I wouldn't take it for the face value, i.e., don't assume that you can run the games at Ultra settings or something.

Xbox app displays game performance ratings for your computer
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Xbox app displays game performance ratings for your computer
Wondering if your computer can run a specific game? The Xbox Insiders app displays a rating to answer that very question.
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