Next Gen Game Capturing Comparison

The combination of this generation of consoles, affordable video capturing equipment and the expansion of Youtube has created an incredible gaming community, with thousands of people on Youtube creating video content by capturing the video feeds from their consoles.

Whether it be for Achievement guides, Let’s Plays or simply game reviews, companies such as Rooster Teeth, Machinima and IGN make use of this technology every day. Alongside this, there is an ever increasing number of Let’s Players - ranging from the very successful Two Best Friends, to minor video makers who get merely 20 views a video - there is now a huge market for videos made out of video game footage.

It’s not surprising then, that Microsoft and Sony have caught onto this trend and have both implemented next gen game capturing in their new consoles. Both the Xbox One and the PS4 respectively have a method of capturing, editing and uploading video game footage. All within your own console, no external hardware required. What can we expect from this technology? And what does this mean for our old capturing methods? I am going to compare both the internal, and external capturing abilities of both of the next gen consoles.

Xbox One

Internal Capture

We’ve known for sometime that the Xbox One Game DVR system will allow users to capture up to 5 minutes of their previous gameplay directly from their console, but we have only recently been told the quality of this game capture. Whilst Forza 5 will run at 1080p, 60fps - the Game DVR system will always capture at a lower quality, but still impressive 720p with a fixed frame rate of 30fps. This HD game capture should also work alongside the Twitch application Xbox have implemented in their new console. This is thankfully an impressive set of specs for an internal capturing system, but the maximum of 5 minute game capture may limit this system greatly. (Obviously, the 5 minute limit will not be implemented when streaming via Twitch).

In an interview with IGN, Whitten from Xbox confirmed this by saying -

“Game DVR captures beautiful clips at 720p 30fps. The first thing you’ll see with our game DVR is the integration of our Upload service on the console. This service allows you to manage, edit, and share your content. Your clips are stored in the cloud. Also, you’ll see games making “magic moment” videos of your gameplay based on the game DVR functionality – all seamlessly integrated. You’ll be able to see these clips in the Xbox One Guide, in your own game DVR collection, and when you are looking at gamercards on the system. You’ll also see games take advantage of this platform capability and do interesting things to integrate captured game footage into the game experience itself.”

UPDATE: It has been confirmed on the Xbox Gold features page that the Game DVR capturing system will be exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members only. (8th August 2013)


External Capture

Rejoice, Let’s Players. Microsoft have confirmed that much like the Xbox 360, the Xbox One will not use the HDCP system on games. This means that yes, you can use any HDMI capture card with the Xbox One in order to capture game footage.

However, they have confirmed that some applications, presumably Netflix type applications, WILL have HDCP protection on them. This is a system implemented to obviously prevent the illegal copying of movies or TV shows. Due to this, if you do run Netflix before wanting to capture video game footage through an external capture card, you will have to do a quick reboot of your console. This is because as soon as you use one of these HDCP protected apps, it will not be removed until the console is restarted.


Internal Capture

Much less is known about the PS4′s Share button capturing, but Sony are boasting a superior capture time of up to 15 minutes of their previous gameplay in comparison to the Xbox’s 5 minute maximum. We don’t yet know the level of quality that the PS4 will capture in, but we can only presume that it will be a HD capture, presumably the same level as that of the Xbox One.

However, we do know that game developers can limit this video sharing, and not allow certain parts of the game to be captured. For example, if a game developer decides that he doesn’t want any cutscenes or boss fights to be captured via the PS4 - this can be restricted.

UPDATE: It has also been confirmed that Sony do NOT required you to have PS+ to stream or use their Share system. (8th August 2013)


External Capture

Many of you may know that the PS3 was HDCP protected, meaning that you could NOT use an external capture card to record footage via a HDMI cable. Due to this, you were forced to use the somewhat more frustrating Component Cable system to capture from the PS3.

It seems However, in the PS4 console, there will be no analog alternative for game capturing - and the entire console will be HDCP protected. Due to this, it is extremely likely that the PS4 WILL limit external game capturing - just like the PS3. Forcing you to use their own Share system to capture video game footage as an alternative. This seems to be a certainty, especially with the ability for the developers to limit the use of the Share button in their games.

Whether or not you can share your video files to an external source remains to be seen.


Who wins?

For internal capturing, I’ll have to give it the PS4. Even though the developers can restrict exactly what can be captured, the superior capture time will give a much better internal capturing experience - providing that the inter-console editing system isn’t clunky and awkward to use. There is certainly a potential that voice recognition in the Kinect 2.0 could provide an incredibly accurate editing experience in the Xbox One, such as directing the console to exact times or frames.

However, in the external capturing round - there is really no way of even comparing them. If the PS4 does utilise full HDCP as it is likely to do, then the production of externally edited videos longer than 15 minutes will only be possible on the Xbox One.

What do you think? Let us known in the comments section below. 


Stefan Richings