In the past year or so we've seen the sharing of gameplay video and screenshots really take off on the newest generation of consoles. For both Microsoft and Sony capturing gameplay has been a major marketing feature, and users seem to love it.
A little less than a year ago Nvidia jumped into the fray with the GeForce Experience and its Shadowplay system. Shadowplay used hardware encoders on your Nvidia graphics card to let you record gameplay without incurring a framerate penalty. A few months later Nvidia added Twitch.tv support for streaming.
Raptr has been chasing Nivdia on features for a while now. When GeForce Experience first launched it offered to optimize graphics settings for a selection of games, based on the graphics card in your system. Raptr's response was to offer the same thing, only they crowd-source their settings while Nivida hand-crafts them.
As of yesterday Raptr has taken another step towards catching up with Nvidia when they rolled out a new version of the Raptr client that adds streaming (via Twitch only) and capture features to their PC gaming service (including capturing after the fact, with the amount of time buffered being user configurable). In a press release reposted at Gamasutra, Raptr claims that their client uses hardware encoders on Nvidia or AMD graphics cards (GeForce Experience only supports Nvidia cards) and that they go one step further than Nvidia by making it easy to upload video from within the client. They also support using a webcam for picture-in-picture support of the gamer recording the action.
PC gamers who're already streaming or recording videos probably won't find much here to get them excited; they already have a solution that works. But for more casual gamers a system that is more or less 'plug and play' could offer a nice introduction to the world of streaming and recording gameplay. Also, Raptr is free (as is the GeForce experience) while many (but not all) other solutions come with a fee.
I only had a chance to test it very briefly, and I only tried capturing locally, but it seems to work more or less as advertised. My only immediate concern was that it puts an overlay on your screen in the top left corner, but that was easily adjusted by visiting the "In-Game" section of Raptr's Preferences.
Here's the resulting test video which was uploaded to YouTube via Raptr (though I then used YouTube's editing features to snip out the log-in screens that showed my login info). I set it up to record max 1080P, max 30 FPS and max 30 mb/s. You'll note I wound up with 720P, so some fiddling is in order. I was using custom settings; the default High settings are 1080P, 60 FPS and 50 mb/s. Still I think the quality is decent:
If you're looking for an easy way to capture or stream video, you might want to give Raptr a look.
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.