The increasing prominence of YouTube ‘let’s players’ and the exponential growth of streaming services like Twitch TV has evidently convinced Sony and Microsoft that the ability to easily record, edit and share gameplay footage must be a key feature of the next generation.
So it is that both the PS4 and the Xbox One have built in game DVRs that allow you to capture your gameplay, share it with friends, broadcast it live to strangers, post it to social networks, and so on.
But just how easy is the software to use? Do the PS4 and Xbox One game DVRs function as Sony and Microsoft claim? Is the capture quality of a high enough standard?
These are just some of the questions we will be addressing as we compare the PS4 and Xbox One’s game capture devices.
PS4 Vs Xbox One: Game DVR Capture Quality
Considering that the PS4 and Xbox One game DVRs are on-board, we have to say that we’re pretty impressed with the quality of video that they output.
Naturally, you won’t get as high quality video as you would get were you to use bespoke capture software, but the video that you get is more than useable.
The file sizes of PS4 videos are a little bigger than Xbox One file sizes, but in terms of video quality, you will see benefits from that – smaller file sizes means more compression and more compression means lower quality.
The video that you get from the Xbox One is by no means bad, but it is of a noticeably lower standard when compared to the PS4.
PS4 Vs Xbox One: Game DVR Ease of Use
To capture video footage on the Xbox One, you’ve got a couple of options, depending on whether you want to use Kinect or not.
If you just want to use your controller it can be a bit of a faff. While in game, you’ll need to press the home button to get back to the Xbox One’s home screen and from there, you must select ‘snap’.
This will take you back into the game, with the snap window on your right. You’ll then need to select ‘Game DVR’, ‘start new clip’ and, finally, ‘start recording’ to get on your way.
Things are a little easier if you want to use Kinect. Saying, ‘Xbox snap’, will save you having to quit out to the home screen and from there, you can use voice commands to go through the same set of steps.
If you then want to upload the clip, you’ll need to open the upload studio – a separate app in itself – in order to edit and upload the clip.
Things are a lot simpler with the PS4. If you want to upload a clip with the PS4, all you need to do is press the share button. This will bring up a menu where you can choose to upload a video clip or a screenshot.
Once you’ve selected the clip you want and started it uploading you can then back straight out into your game.
The PS4 stores a maximum of 15 minutes of footage for one clip. Having this much footage to be able to draw on means that choosing to upload a PS4 clip feels like it requires less forethought, as well as being quicker and a lot less fiddly.
In fairness, the option to retroactively select gameplay that you want to upload without explicitly asking the console to start recording is also available with the Xbox One.
However, the Xbox One only stores up to five minutes of footage. This shorter time frame inevitably makes you more conscious of how much time you’ve got left to record a section of gameplay and, needless to say, gives you a lot less scope for going back and retrospectively picking out a particular moment.
The simplicity of the PS4’s share functionality and the fact that the console captures longer periods of footage means that we prefer the PS4 over the Xbox One in terms of ease of use.
PS4 Vs Xbox One Game DVR – Editing
When it comes to editing your clips before upload, you’ll not have any trouble trimming your clips on either PS4 or Xbox One. In both cases trimming clips is intuitive and fuss free.
However, trimming is the only editing option that you’ll get on the PS4.
In contrast, the Xbox One offers you a few more possibilities. Using Kinect, you can record yourself chattering away and either embed that clip in the corner of your gameplay video or sandwich a gameplay clip with your commentary placed at either end.
The Xbox One also offers the possibility of stitching five gameplay clips together, although, bafflingly, it must be exactly five. No more, no less.
If you want to introduce your video with a fancy little transition, the Xbox One’s got you covered for that too, allowing you to add ‘skins’ to videos before you upload them. You can see an example of a video with a skin attached below.
While both the PS4 and Xbox One are easy to use in terms of the editing functionality that they offer, Microsoft’s machine offers a greater array of possibilities.
On that front, then, the Xbox One is a clear winner.
PS4 Vs Xbox One: Uploading and Sharing Options
The PS4 currently offers you the option to upload your footage to PSN and to Facebook, while the Xbox One allows you to upload to Xbox Live and to Skydrive.
While we would expect the ability to upload to the likes of Twitter and YouTube will be added in the future, we can’t really judge upload options on what may or may not be patched in at a later date.
In both cases, then, your options are a little limited at this stage, regardless of what Sony and Microsoft are promising in the future.
The Skydrive option offered by Xbox One is useful given that it’s an easy way of getting your gameplay clips onto PC if you want to do any additional editing with another program.
The big advantage that Sony has over Microsoft, though, is that you can stream gameplay footage to Twitch TV with the PS4 from day one.
The fact that the PS4 offers the ability to stream, as well as upload video, puts it ahead of the Xbox One in terms of sharing options at this stage.
If Microsoft can get Twitch TV and YouTube up and running, then we might change our tune, but until then, the PS4 is out in front.
PS4 Vs Xbox One Game DVR Review
The Xbox One is more flexible than the PS4 when it comes to the ability to edit your footage, but unfortunately, that’s about all we’ve got to say in favour of the Xbox One’s game DVR.
With better capture quality, a less fiddly way of capturing and the ability to stream your gameplay to Twitch, we feel that the PS4 game DVR and its associated functions are the better of the two.