Nvidia court Youtubers with ShadowPlay recording feature: "like Sky Plus for PC gamers"

Nvidia have just launched their latest high-end graphics card, the GeForce GTX 780 , and an impressively quick, but expensive card it is too. Alongside that we'll also be getting some interesting updates to the GeForce Experience as well, including the intriguing ShadowPlay feature.

GFE is about to become an opt-in component of the Nvidia's driver downloads, and given that it's already had around 2.5 million downloads in its beta form already those numbers are likely to get bigger. That means it's only going to get better and more reliable too, according to Nvidia.

I spoke to Nvidia about GeForce Experience at the GTX 780 reveal last week. “From our perspective,” said Nvidia's Ben Berraondo, “GFE gets better and better the more the community feeds back into it. It's one of those apps that organically gets better and better over time.”

“GFE has now become an integral part of having a GeForce card,” he continued. “It will become just as integral as a driver; it is a crucial part of the whole story.”

It's not just getting organic improvements from the community either, Nvidia is making innovative moves with it too. The new ShadowPlay feature is likely to be included around E3 time and Nvidia is likening it to “Sky Plus for gamers.”

That's not a bad description given that it's a future function in the GFE app that allows you to set ShadowPlay to continuously record anything up to the last 20 minutes of any gaming session. You can choose resolution and audio settings to suit and because it's mainly a hardware based recorder it minimises the performance hit on your machine while it's doing it.

Nvidia are estimating that it should only represent around a 3% performance hit depending on your settings, and supposedly doesn't have any impact on frame times either.

ShadowPlay builds on the way SHIELD taps into GFE to stream content from your gaming rig by utilising the H.264 encoder built into the Kepler GPU. Sadly then that means only GTX 600 series cards and up will be able to use the feature

It's really tapping into the burgeoning YouTube and Twitch TV gaming audience, making it easier for GeForce owners to record HD gaming and get it out there, as long as they have a Kepler GPU or above of course.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.