Closed systems don’t make it easy to do things they’re not specifically designed for. Games consoles are a key example. Xbox 360s and Sony PS3s have hard drives and should, in theory, be capable of letting you capture your own gaming highlights to share with the wider gaming community – but they don’t. The Roxio Game Capture box is here to plug that gap.
The popularity of Xbox Live Achievement points and, to a lesser extent, Playstation Network trophies has proved that the social aspect of gaming goes further than merely people playing against each other directly. Competition extends beyond the frameworks built by designers too. Glory in the gaming world comes as much from exposing glitches as getting high scores, and Roxio Game Capture lets you snag clips of these – most likely to slap them on YouTube in the hope of racking-up millions of views.
It’s a two-part package, consisting of a box that hooks-up your console, TV and computer, and the Roxio Game Capture software. The hardware will connect to any device with a component video output but is thoroughly geared towards Xbox 360 and PS3 users. It’s worth bearing in mind that you may need to buy an additional component cable for your console, especially as HDMI has already become the “standard” HD output for these two gaming platforms.
One set of component cables is included, but this is to connect the Roxio Game Capture unit to your TV – not to plug directly into your console. Using component rather than HDMI connection may seem like a retrograde step, but it’s necessary. HDMI’s HDCP (High-bandwidth digital copy protection) doesn’t allow recording, so it’s an enforced technological limitation at work rather than something Roxio has any control over.
However, a crucial limitation of Roxio Game Capture is that it will only snag video at 480p resolution – not in HD. This is not a limitation of the component output, which is capable of transmitting video at 720p or 1080i resolution with a PS3 or Xbox 360. The restrictions this gadget puts on your gaming are fairly serious too. The pass-through element of the box means you can still play the content on your TV in HD, but as it rules-out using HDMI, you’ll almost certainly have to make do with 720p/1080i. And as the audio output is a stereo phono pair, you can wave goodbye to 5.1 surround sound while using Roxio Game Capture.
At first it seems like this is a much more convenient way to capture your gaming highlights than using a camcorder or standard PC capture card, but it comes with its own set of compromises too. They are less obtrusive than using a PC card, and easier to setup than a camcorder, but as Roxio Game Capture is aimed at the hardcore gamer, they may prove to be deal-breakers for many. Especially when it costs around half the price of an Xbox 360 console.