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We've seen an interesting social-gaming trend taking place in the gaming world the last few years. Sure, there's been online gaming for some time, but now game developers and hardware manufacturers are jumping at the chance to allow gamers to connect on levels well beyond conventional game sharing.
A quick YouTube search for a specific video game scene will most likely net precise results, making the days of text-based walkthroughs nearly obsolete. Savvy games have found ways to capture video game footage while franchises like Halo and Call of Duty have video sharing built right into their software.
In an effort to streamline the game capture workflow, Roxio has released the Game Capture, a focused attempt at bringing console video game capturing to the masses. While the system does make simple game capturing easy, it's otherwise a bit buggy, suffers from compatibility issues, and offers a subpar built-in editor.
Setting up the Roxio Game Capture is a breeze. The only real hardware to install is the Game Capture box, which is essentially a pass-through for component cables. Roxio provides one set, so users will attach their existing component connection into the box and use the supplied set to attach back to the TV.
The Game Capture box doesn't require power, either, which is a plus for gamers who are tight on electrical sockets near their home theater setup. In order for capturing to commence, however, the included USB cable must be attached to the destination PC.
The included capturing software works great and allows for recording in AVI, WMV, and DIVX file formats. Unfortunately, only customers with a Windows PC will be able to use the software, as Roxio is not currently supporting Mac devices. Also, in our testing, we weren't able to install the software onto our Windows XP SP2 machine, which Roxio does claim compatibility with. It wasn't until we tried out a Windows 7 PC were we able to install the software.
Furthermore, we were a bit disappointed with the software's performance on our Asus laptop. It's not a slow machine by any stretch, but its Intel Core i3 running at 2.53Ghz with 4GB of RAM could barely keep up with the resource demands of the editing software.
Roxio suggests a Core Duo running at 1.8GHz with 2GB of RAM, so we figured we'd be safe with doubling its RAM requirements. Needless to say, that was simply not the case. In our testing we were left with out-of-sync audio and video, drop-outs, and an inexplicably sped up video.
It wasn't until we tried things out with a souped-up Alienware that we netted acceptable results, though the editing software still lagged at an almost unusable pace.
As if the editing software slowdown wasn't enough of a hindrance, we were disappointed at its ease of use. One would think that having a decade of experience with nonlinear editing on Final Cut would have prepared us for the Roxio software, but unfortunately it isn't laid out nearly as logically as we would have preferred. Of course, we're not expecting game capture software to be as comprehensive as Apple's flagship editor, but Roxio's software could be very powerful if presented in a better fashion. We offered the interface up to a complete novice in our offices who reported the same shared frustrations.
For instance, selecting items on the timeline doesn't allow the user to move it forward or backward in time. The storyboard mode makes editing within a clip nearly impossible, and inserting text overlays is nowhere near intuitive as it needs to be. Overall, we'd recommend against using the included software. Instead, bring the raw capture file into something like Windows Movie Maker instead.
Users can upload their video creations directly to YouTube or Facebook from within the Roxio software, but any capable PC users will have no issues taking the few extra steps to do it manually. In that regard, the Roxio software does offer an impressive amount of output configurations.
We also can't help but notice that the Game Capture's pass-through output offers a shoddy signal when being fed into a TV. We immediately saw a good amount of ghosting on all text and plenty of blurry edges with the Game Capture connected.
Roxio's attempt to streamline the video game capture process is ultimately imperfect, but for just raw video, it works good enough--albeit with a bad output signal. We'll have to recommend against it for the gamer who plans on capturing tons of footage, aside from the gamer who may just want to record a session sporadically.
Priced at $100, there is a decent value here with the hardware/software combo, but do-it-yourselfers and marginally savvy gamers can accomplish similar feats by purchasing a cheaper component video-capturing device and using simple built-in movie-editing software.