Sometimes, anticipated products seem to take too long to get here. Other times, there’s no other word to use but “forever”. Where NVIDIA’s ShadowPlay is concerned, “forever” is definitely the right term, because when the company first announced it, GeForce fans all over wanted it – and wanted it right there and then.
ShadowPlay is in effect a Fraps competitor, designed to capture your gameplay more efficiently thanks to offloading some of the work to the GPU. While this is going to impact your FPS a wee bit, NVIDIA feels confident that the actual impact will be minimal, or even non-existent to the human eye (this of course would change if you’re using lower-end hardware).
Like Fraps, ShadowPlay works with every game, and you also have the ability to record gameplay continually in case something cool happens and you’d like to save a video of it. In addition, Twitch.tv support is built right in, and the cost? $0. Quite an eye-catcher given Fraps’ $37 one-time fee, and $59/year for X-Split (which I’ve never used). Unfortunately, but as expected, ShadowPlay requires recent GeForce cards to operate.
As seen in the above shot, ShadowPlay integrates itself with GeForce Experience, and overall, the applet is stupid simple to use. That has its upsides and downsides; while ShadowPlay is easy to use, it lacks the advanced encoder options that some might like to tweak. Perhaps in time we’ll see those added.
The options that are made available include adjusting the “shadow” recording from 1 – 20 minutes, the quality of the video (Low, Medium, and High), disabling audio, and, if you don’t like the GPU always recording, the ability to turn that off and stick to manual.
Due to being inundated at the moment with other work, I haven’t been able to give ShadowPlay a great test, but do have good initial experiences. I plan to use it every single time I game going forward in order to discover its perks, and potential drawbacks.
Want to give ShadowPlay a go for yourself? Head on over to NVIDIA’s download page, grab GeForce 331.65, and give it a go. And if you do happen to give it a go, please let us know your thoughts below. It’s hard to gauge just how epic a tool is based on a single experience, after all.