'But Can It Run VR?' Basemark And Crytek Creating New Virtual Reality Benchmark To Punish Your PC

We use a bevy of benchmarks here at HotHardware to measure everything from computational power to SSD speeds to the graphical prowess of $1000 video cards. I employ 3DMark's Fire Strike software on a near-daily basis for my GPU testing and find that, while it can't perfectly mirror in-game performance, it's a pretty accurate representation of a graphics card's -- and by extension your PC's -- gaming chops. But as we collectively rush toward the proliferation of Virtual Reality hardware and games in 2016 and beyond, we lack a standard for testing how well our systems can handle VR. Enter Crytek and Basemark. 

But Can It Run VR?

"Can It Run Crysis?" has become an iconic question for PC gaming enthusiasts, originating from Crytek's demanding CRYENGINE technology and its resulting gorgeous eye candy. Now Crytek is partnering with Basemark (you know them from such tests as Browsermark, and Basemark ES 3.1 which tests OpenGL performance) to create a real-world benchmark that will help both gamers and hardware companies to assess the level of experience they can expect when running virtual reality content. 

cryengine logo
“Basemark is already helping to measure technology standards in other areas of gaming, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with them as we work to establish a user-friendly yardstick for VR performance. We believe CRYENGINE can become a go-to tool for developers looking to create compelling VR experiences, and this partnership means players can also count on CRYENGINE as they evaluate whether their PC is ready for the most advanced, cutting-edge VR content available.”

This is important, because while tools like Fire Strike measure how a system handles stuff like physics and advanced lighting systems, there's a lot of other variables to consider with VR. Issues like memory consumption and spatial audio. And especially latency, which can make or break the immersion that VR is capable of.

Sure, we already know the basic required specs for hardware like Facebook's Oculus Rift, but the upcoming benchmark (yet to be named) will provide feedback like ideal graphical quality settings for your unique mixture of hardware, perhaps in a similar fashion to Nvidia's GeForce Experience. 

In a press release, Basemark CEO and founder Tero Sarkkinen insists the partnership will allow them to forge the definitive benchmark for all PC VR games using CRYENGINE at its core. Crytek certainly has some experience pushing boundaries with their graphics engines, but they're also breaching the virtual reality space in other ways, such as their recently announced game Robinson: The Journey

Once the companies wrap development on this tool and VR solutions like the Oculus Rift or HTC/Valve's Vive headset hit the market, I have no doubt you'll start seeing the benchmark become a staple of our testing here at HotHardware and elsewhere.