If the recent $970 million sale of Twitch to Amazon has taught us anything it’s that there’s big money to be made in gameplay streaming. What was once an industry that required exceedingly expensive equipment and technological know-how is now as simple as a few button presses.
A major player in the consumer gameplay streaming and recording market has been El Gato, whose line of GameCapture products are at the forefront of the industry. Chances are most have heard of the El Gato GameCapture HD, and many can’t sing the device’s praises enough. But with the introduction of new consoles come new needs for gameplay streaming, and that’s where the El Gato GameCapture HD60 comes in.
As the name implies, the HD60 supports 1080p60 recording, a first for the El Gato line. That means any PC, PS4, or Xbox One game that outputs at 1080p60 can be recorded at that resolution and frame rate.
The device itself isn’t that much different from the GameCapture HD in terms of design – the HD60 is still a pocket-sized piece of tech – albeit this time the device trades the fingerprint prone shiny black finish for a standard matte black. It features the basic HDMI-in and HDMI-out ports as well as a USB 3.0 output for transferring video to a PC or Mac.
The Game Capture HD60 is also extremely easy to operate and requires very little from the user. El Gato has built their devices to be almost foolproof thanks to their streamlined GameCapture software. In fact, I might argue that the more significant release for El Gato this month is the 2.0 version of the GameCapture software, which boasts some fairly significant improvements.
The software has always been easy to use, but this 2.0 version features some really smart additions like flashback recording and basic overlays for text, images, or webcams. Where the GameCapture device took the idea of gameplay capture and streaming and made it easier, this 2.0 software makes delivering a professional presentation a cinch.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that the Game Capture 2.0 download is free to all El Gato owners and is not unique to the HD 60. But as a longtime El Gato user, I found improvements like separating game audio and commentary onto two different tracks and the improved user interface a big step forward.
However, as a 1080p60 game capture device, the HD60 is still well ahead of the current technology curve. Yes, YouTube is slowly introducing support for 1080p60, but most video players have yet to accommodate the higher frame rate. For that matter, most gamers won’t feel the need to record in 1080p60, unless the goal is to deliver a true representation of gameplay or to track a game’s frame rate.
1080p30 or even 720p30 will suit the average consumer just fine, and that’s the group that this device is mostly built for. As a result, if you already own a gameplay capture device capable of delivering a 1080p30 presentation, like an El Gato or some other type of HD PVR, then it might be better to wait until 60fps video becomes standardized.
Moreover, recording in 1080p60 can take quite a toll on both your hard drive space and your PC’s processor. At higher bit rates, for example, the HD60 will output video at 40Mbps, which can add up extremely fast. I also found that the device struggled to keep up when recording at max bit rate and resolution, resulting in an inconsistent video.
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Input: PlayStation 4, Xbox One & Xbox 360 (unencrypted HDMI)
- Output: HDMI (pass-through)
- Supported resolutions: 1080p60, 1080p30, 1080i, 720p60, 720p30,
- 576p, 576i, 480p
- Dimensions: 112 x 75 x 19 mm / 4.4 x 3 x 0.75 in
- Weight: 106 g / 3.7 oz
- Comes with: Elgato Game Capture HD60, USB cable, HDMI cable
While the HD60 may be a little ahead of its time it’s still, without question, a top tier option. If you’re the type of gamer who has been looking to get into recording Let’s Play videos or streaming gameplay, then you cannot go wrong with the El Gato GameCapture HD60: it’s reasonably priced and it’s easy to use. El Gato was already leading the pack in terms of consumer gameplay capture devices, but with the HD60 they’ve secured that lead for the foreseeable future.
Have you had a chance to check out the GameCapture HD60? Are you thinking about picking up or upgrading to the device?
The El Gato GameCapture HD60 is available now for $179.95.
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina