Xiaomi admits to throttling game applications

This month has been filled with controversies regarding various manufacturers throttling the performances of applications due to a variety of reasons best known to them.

The latest casualty in this saga is Xiaomi, which has allegedly been throttling the performances of gaming applications while leaving benchmarking applications free, creating a false impression of their devices’ performance in various situations.

Disguising the Geekbenchmarking app as Fortnite, for instance, resulted in the single-core performance dropping by 30% while the multi-core performance dropped by 15%. This behaviour was also observed while disguising the benchmarking app as other gaming applications, including Genshin Impact.

Android Authority reached out to the Chinese company for an official comment, and their response basically agrees that they are indeed throttling the performances of a few applications.

“Xiaomi applies temperature control strategies to ensure optimal product experience, particularly with demanding applications commonly used for extended periods. In many of our devices, we offer three performance modes, enabling users to adjust the balance of performance and power efficiency. At a system level, all optimizations related to application performance weigh many essential factors, such as power consumption, performance, and thermal impact,” Xiaomi’s response to the app throttling controversy read.

Most gaming applications would perfectly match the description of “demanding applications commonly used for extended periods” If the heat being produced during gaming is too much, it makes sense for the company to regulate the performance as too much heat would also cause the processor and GPU to throttle by themselves.

There is also the general problem of a heated phone being uncomfortable on the hands, especially when gaming.

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What rubs people the wrong way, is that these measures are not also applied to the common benchmarking applications, creating the false perception of very high performance that you would not get during your gaming session, as it is likely that the performance would be throttled.

Android Authority notes that they have asked this specific question to Xiaomi, but they have not yet gotten a reply. The answer to this question however is simple, a poor score in any benchmarking app would not bode well for the company’s marketing efforts, especially when their latest flagships are packing the best performing chipset in the world at the moment, Snapdragon 8 gen 1.

After Samsung was caught doing the same, they rolled out an update for the Galaxy S22 series which offered a priority mode in its Game Launcher. It will be interesting to see whether Xiaomi will follow a similar path or they will stick to their response that they are doing this to balance the experience of their users while taking a variety of things into context including power consumption, performance, and thermal impact as they mention in their reply to Android Authority.

This situation creates an interesting scenario where taking a look at the benchmarking scores of a particular device might not really create a true picture of the device’s real-world performance, as the experience might differ quite drastically outside the benchmarking apps due to the clever throttling that is coming to light.

Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at criskariuki@gmail.com Twitter @KarisNaftaly

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