Being a gamer and the stigma that has come along with it has changed over the last decade. Gamers were often labeled as a “geek,” “nerd,” or “loser,” but now it can’t be farther from the truth. One of the major contributions to this change is the explosion of gaming communities the past generation. With access to social media sites, on-line forums, and on-line gaming becoming the standard, video games have become a varying and accepted form of entertainment for the masses.
One of the largest gaming communities revolves around the ever expansive Youtube scene. What seemingly started as a few passionate gamers uploading their gameplay using off-screen video cameras (some lucky people had a Dazzle) has boomed into a massive, billion dollar industry with thousands of gamers creating and uploading content.
With this explosion in popularity came the technology to support it, and for a long time, the Hauppauge HD PVR was the staple in video game capture technology. But times have changed, and with Hauppauge releasing their second iteration other companies have come out with their own devices, taking what they have learned from user complaints and comments, and building their own software and devices around it.
Well I am here to say that one company has succeeded, and succeeded immensely. The Elgato Game Capture HD is a relatively new device, only 6 months old. In those 6 months the company has managed to streamline every aspect of game capturing software while producing a sleek, HDMI-enabled device that looks as good as it runs.
My first interaction with the software was refreshingly easy. Right away I was blown away by how easy it was to use. The software is designed and tailored for gamers. As a recording device, the Elgato HD Capture is by far and away the best HDMI enabled, sub $200 device on the market. With the ability to record in true 1080p at 30 frames per second, the quality is far and above the competition. This comes as no surprise as the Elgato, at max recording settings (you can adjust capture quality in the tool bar) can record up to 30mbs, twice as much as the Hauppauge HD PVR 2.
Recording is simple – and set up is plug-and-play. All that’s required is titling the video you’re recording. Once you do so, hit record and the software takes care of the rest, creating its own folder and file structure at a set destination. Another great feature is the live-recording. Forget to hit that record button? Not a problem, just rewind to what you need, hit record and the software instantly saves what you almost lost. The software is scalable as well, don’t have a monster PC? No worries, you can turn some of these features on and off depending on how well your computer handles everything.
With the ability to control both in game volume and a one-click microphone control that also has a separate audio volume control, live commentating is incredibly easy with this software. It removes the need to create a separate audio track using a second program, easing up the load on your computer, which removes problems that come along with syncing audio with the video.
To say I was satisfied is an understatement, but then I downloaded the BETA software available on Elgato’s website (now available as free update V1.2). This is when my mind truly was blown. The BETA allows for the same great recording functionality, but includes the ability to one-click live stream straight to Twitch.TV… no exaggeration… one click. Once you link up your Twitch.TV account, you hit the “Live Stream” button and there it is, live on the internet. This was truly the “game changer” moment for me, as it made live streaming as easy as recording; it is remarkable.
I do have some suggestions and things I would love to see Elgato work on, though. The file structure the software creates is well enough, but I’m still not sure about the multiple files it creates. It’s not a problem by any means, just seems like some unnecessary bloat that could be cleaned up with some more development time.
There also seems to be some weird hardware characteristics when using an Xbox. According to Elgato, if the Xbox has an analog audio cable plugged in (in my case, a headset), turning the software on or off while the Xbox is turned on forces a reboot of the Xbox. Elgato were the one’s that came to me with the explanation, and I have no doubt that they are working on a fix for it.
These are minor gripes though, as the thought and care put into both the hardware and software is above anything else on the market, regardless of price. The Elgato Game Capture HD comes with my full support and backing: If you want to capture your gaming experience and share it with the world, the Game Capture HD is the only choice you need to make, it’s simply brilliant.
Let me know your comments, questions and suggestions, as I’m always interested in hearing them. Subscribe to me here, or follow me on twitter @NicholasGigante.
The Elgato Game Capture HD retails for $179.99 and can be purchased on Elgato’s website