Capturing game play on consoles has always been a bit of a mystery for gamers. Up until the most recent generation of consoles came out, capturing gameplay either involved expensive capture cards or setting up a video camera in front of your TV (let’s be real here…all of us did it at one point). With the advent of the next generation consoles, the Xbox One shipped with built in recording features that were sure to please gamers and finally provide them with the tools they need to share their craft with the world.

Ehhh…not so much.

Instead, Microsoft shipped an unimpressive, minimally viable increment of features so they could cover their butts and say “You can record gameplay with the Xbox One”. Let’s get real here, Microsoft. All you did was make capturing gameplay more of a hassle than what it’s worth. Capturing gameplay and sharing your craft should be effortless, and fun. But instead of making it effortless and fun, it turned in to a nightmare of epic proportions. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why:

Reason 1: You can only capture 5 minutes of gameplay at a time.

You might be able to record up to 30 minutes (according to some articles), but they only make it easy to record 5 minutes. 5 minutes? That’s like using a Dixie cup to drink a gallon of water. Or using a spoon to shovel your driveway. Basically, it’s a waste of time. If you’re in to recording clips and sharing them, I guess that’s great. However, the way the YouTube community is moving, people usually want to see full games, full rounds, or complete walkthroughs – and they want it fast. Think you can piece a bunch of these clips together and be fine? Well you’re in for a treat when you realize how much time it takes to merge and export these clips on Microsoft’s hilariously named app, “Upload Studio”.

upload studio 3

Thanks for the flexibility, Bill.

Simply put, if you have anything to do in real life like oh…go to work, or attend class, you’re going to have a tough time dedicating any significant amount of your day trying to finagle your way around the recording features on an Xbox One.

Reason 2: You have to open a separate app to record…and it usually crashes.

So you’re in the middle of the battlefield in Call of Duty. You do an awesome 360, double backflip, one-handed backside nose grab, quick-scope headshot. There are hordes of enemies approaching and you want to capture your gameplay. What are your options? Well, you can hope the Xbox captures it (lol – ya right), or use one of these:

Using the Kinect, you can only record up to 30 seconds of gameplay by saying “Xbox Record That”. Awesome. So for everything else, you have to snap or open up a completely different app (which is crap by the way – see Reason 3), and slug through the different menus before you even get to the options of how long you want to record. Not only do the options suck (30 seconds – 5 minutes), but the app usually crashes after you select your option and start to record, requiring you to restart your whole Xbox or just, ya know, wait it out.

So you did a sweet trick, but your team lost and now your friends won’t call you ever again – thanks Bill.

Reason 3: Upload studio is a piece of junk.

upload studio 2

Where do I even start? For being a software company, Microsoft really struggled with this one. Upload studio is slow, ugly, counter-intuitive, and doesn’t have a lot of functionality unless you’re looking to be featured on public broadcast local television channels at 3:30am. All you can do is add some hideous themes, do voice-overs (that is, if you can even find your mic), and trim your 5 minute long clips. Lol.

Not only are the features for editing terrible, but the process for uploading a video is like trying to eat the ice cream at a Chinese buffet after your food baby is in it’s 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Unless you have a super fast wired connection and your clip is under 5 seconds, you’re going to be sitting there soul-searching, or possibly reading the entirety of Moby Dick before your clip is even done process. And then, you have to wait for it to actually upload.

Reason 4: Xbox records all the clips you don’t want it to.

Ever sitting in a game and the Xbox records a gameplay clip for no reason? Yeah, me too. It seems to happen quite frequently. You kick the ball in FIFA, or shoot a bullet in Battlefield. You moved your character in Fallout, or looked up at the sky in Halo. The most awesome moments in gaming history…all captured by Microsoft’s Xbox One’s built in recording features.

Not only does the Xbox One record all the gameplay clips you don’t want, and none of them that you do want, but it makes managing these clips a nightmare with how quickly your hard drive space fills up. Just buy another hard drive…that’s the solution. But make sure it’s one from Micro$oft first!

Reason 5: Reasons 1 through 4 make you spend extra money on a capture card.

If you’re serious about recording gameplay on an Xbox One and using it for anything other than your own personal enjoyment (does anyone do that?), you’re going to have to buy a capture card. I’m a huge proponent of forking over the extra ~$150 for a good piece of equipment because it’s an investment, and something that will last you for quite some time. Not only will buying a capture card for your Xbox One or other gaming console allow you to prevent reasons 1 through 4 from ruining your day, but there are tons of other features that come along with it, such as: high definition recording, downloading directly to your hard drive for easier editing, the ability to stream/upload directly to YouTube, and many many more.

If you’re looking for a high quality capture card for your Xbox One that won’t break the bank, check out my review of the Hauppauge HD PVR 2, below. Although there are many capture cards out there, the Hauppauge HDPVR2 delivers a great bang for the buck and will satisfy a majority of your needs, without leaving you asking Grandma and Grandpa for extra money on your birthday.

Although Microsoft thought they had all the bases covered when shipping out of the box recording features with the Xbox One, they clearly missed the mark. A combination of slow software, hideous interfaces, and limited functionality still leaves serious gamers and YouTubers looking for more. For that, you’ll have to get a capture card.

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