Asus GPU Tweak II Overlay Injects Ads Into Games

AlphaAtlas

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Citing post on Reddit, Techpowerup claims that Asus GPU Tweak II injects what appears to be an Asus GPU ad right into games. But, since Reddit has a habit of blowing up unverified claims, I decided to download the utility myself and see if there's any truth to them. I grabbed the Windows 10 64 bit build of Asus GPU Tweak II Version 19.33 (released 01/16/2019) from the Asus website, installed it, and fired up a game to see what would happen.

As you can see in the picture in the original article, the overlay, does, indeed, inject an Asus GPU ad right into any game that runs the overlay. But, what the Reddit post failed to mention is that it can easily be disabled. It doesn't appear to pop back up during subsequent game launches, but I'm not sure if the ad will eventually re-enable itself, and performance (subjectively) felt worse with the ad active. While some overlays like Origin and Steam show promotions when they're manually opened, this is the first time I've seen an ad that's displayed in-game by default, and I hope this is a trend that Asus and other overlay developers don't continue in the future.

ASUS Response: "It is a feature for the beta group testers, not on by default, the image is just a stock placeholder to show how it works if a streamer wants to use that functionality and it can be disabled or repositioned based up on the user settings. "

Update ASUS Response:
"As for the beta testing portion, yes, it is in the public release but is included now for user using the overlay when streaming. The overlay was a request by the beta testing group to be an active feature in the software. I could have worded that differently in my reply. But, the overlay is not enabled by default. We inserted an image so something is there if you use the feature and can see what occurs if enabled. That image or one supplied by the user can be deleted, changed, or repositioned from being shown."


So all this seems to be a bit overblown as it is simply being misunderstood.
 
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fullvietFX

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Never buying ASUS again. That's just ridiculous, fuck ASUS. I am a huge fan of their products too.
 
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oh for god's sake... it's the default image for their overlay. You can remove it, easily, calm down. Even the original poster of the Reddit thread deleted their post after they realized they they goofed up. Stop trying to manufacture a controversy when there is none.
 

AlphaAtlas

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Gross... they even misspelled 'turn'
Yeah, that made me twitch when I saw it. Some other annoyances:

-The overlay seems to (subjectively) have a performance hit, even without the ads.

-There's a huge lag spike when disabling the ads.

-The overlay immediately crashes if ReShade is active. I had to try launching 3 games before I figured that out, as I use ReShade with pretty much everything.

oh for god's sake... it's the default image for their overlay. You can remove it, easily, calm down. Even the original poster of the Reddit thread deleted their post after they realized they they goofed up. Stop trying to manufacture a controversy when there is none.
I believe the article makes that sufficiently clear (unlike the original reddit post). But it's still a rather obnoxious thing to be enabled by default, IMO.
 

Lakados

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See I wouldn't mind things like billboards and posters in game to have actual adds on them rather than fake ones, let some advertisers pay the game companies and let them ditch all the micro transactions but this overly from ASUS is just dumb...
 

PhaseNoise

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That's A-OK! Asus' software is universally shit.
This. Good hardware. Skip the rest.

I briefly had their tuning tool until I saw how much crap it had running all the time (preventing the CPU from going idle). And then the little bundle of joy refused to uninstall via actual uninstall means, leading me to prune, purge, destroy and vow Never Again.
 

Elf_Boy

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Ad ware is getting pretty intrusive. I get software doesn't grow on trees - this just goes a lot far.

When do we get to the point where only about 20% of our monitor space is usable as the rest is unrecoverable un-blockable add space?
 

sadsteve

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I learned long ago to never install the extra crap associated with motherboards or graphics cards, only install the device drivers.
 
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Galvin

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See I wouldn't mind things like billboards and posters in game to have actual adds on them rather than fake ones, let some advertisers pay the game companies and let them ditch all the micro transactions but this overly from ASUS is just dumb...
That's how they do it in the movies
 

seanreisk

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Good news, guys, I've looked at the overlay, and it's not an 'ad', it's a 'memo'. Big relief, because I really hate ads.
 

AtomClock

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I am wondering, is it possible that this "Ad" can be interpreted by some game companies as cheating? Content is being injected into the game and that sounds like something that game companies would frown upon because of the cheating potential???
 

Dan_D

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I learned long ago to never install the extra crap associated with motherboards or graphics cards, only install the device drivers.
Bingo. This is why I don't knock these companies harder for crap software. You generally don't need it anyway. It's all fluff.
 

FrgMstr

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ASUS Response: "It is a feature for the beta group testers, not on by default, the image is just a stock placeholder to show how it works if a streamer wants to use that functionality and it can be disabled or repositioned based up on the user settings. "
 

AlphaAtlas

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I am wondering, is it possible that this "Ad" can be interpreted by some game companies as cheating? Content is being injected into the game and that sounds like something that game companies would frown upon because of the cheating potential???
As far as "cheating" policies and bans go, game overlays are, indeed, a big can of worms.

ReShade, for example, has a multiplayer game blacklist it uses to disable itself, and Asus used to ship "Sonic Radar" software that projected directional audio cues onto a visual overlay. An ad isn't really in that same boat though.
 

DNMock

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Yeah, that made me twitch when I saw it. Some other annoyances:

-The overlay seems to (subjectively) have a performance hit, even without the ads.

-There's a huge lag spike when disabling the ads.

-The overlay immediately crashes if ReShade is active. I had to try launching 3 games before I figured that out, as I use ReShade with pretty much everything.



I believe the article makes that sufficiently clear (unlike the original reddit post). But it's still a rather obnoxious thing to be enabled by default, IMO.

Only so many ways for an injector to hook into an application. You can get more than one to work at a time, but you have to specifically piggyback them in. Generally speaking, anything more than one is gonna lead to crashes, which is why disabling the Steam or Ubicrap overlay is necessary to get reshade to work properly.
 

WarriorX

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edit: seems like some sort of mode that they added, so maybe not an ad.
 
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1_rick

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But it's still a rather obnoxious thing to be enabled by default, IMO.
I think that's the most important point here. This is something that should be opt-in, not opt-out. If it's aimed at beta users, all the more reason: you'll be explicitly calling out a feature users might want, not forcing on them something they're probably reflexively going to say "ewww, how do i get rid of?"
 

1_rick

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When do we get to the point where only about 20% of our monitor space is usable as the rest is unrecoverable un-blockable add space?
Back in the 90s there was a company that gave out free low-end computers. I want to say it was PeoplePC, but I might be wrong. Their model was ad-supported, implemented by taking up a hunk of your desktop for ads.

I don't know if they ever went through with it--very shortly afterwards it proved an untenable business model and they became an ad-supported ISP, like NetZero.
 

Furious_Styles

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Bingo. This is why I don't knock these companies harder for crap software. You generally don't need it anyway. It's all fluff.
I think they should be knocked. It's so sad they don't put a little money into making good software. That could be the difference between me purchasing one of their products vs. a competitor.
 

Spun Ducky

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I am wondering, is it possible that this "Ad" can be interpreted by some game companies as cheating? Content is being injected into the game and that sounds like something that game companies would frown upon because of the cheating potential???
I am curious if this is whitelisted for most anticheat software and you could piggy back some code with it.
 

dyzophoria

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Its honestly seems to be just a feature for streamers, which makes sense (they would benefit more for ads than us).
 

FrgMstr

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Update ASUS Response:
"As for the beta testing portion, yes, it is in the public release but is included now for user using the overlay when streaming. The overlay was a request by the beta testing group to be an active feature in the software. I could have worded that differently in my reply. But, the overlay is not enabled by default. We inserted an image so something is there if you use the feature and can see what occurs if enabled. That image or one supplied by the user can be deleted, changed, or repositioned from being shown."


So all this seems to be a bit overblown as it is simply being misunderstood.
 

AlphaAtlas

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Indeed. It's not immediately obvious (I missed the scrollbar that showed the option), but the in-app options do indicate that it's a streamer overlay setting:
Annotation 2019-02-04 184128.png


OMG someone else on the internet not on r/plantside still plays Planetside.
There are (maybe) dozens of us!
 

lostin3d

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I call BS on Asus response on this. It's not just beta testing. When I installed my RTX2080TI back in November I clicked on their setup program included on the install disk. It in turn took me to their website download page and it was not a beta download. Any time you turn off the OSD and turn it back on it re-triggers/resets two of these adds on the side. You close one and then a different one displays right after. They are easy to turn off(Ctrl W and then Ctrl F).Once they're turned off they do stay off unless you turn disable and re-enable the OSD(Ctrl A).

edit: I just assumed this feature was their way of compensating for not giving me Space Invaders. :)
 
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