Xbox One DVR buffer length revealed

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When the Xbox One was announced back in May, one of the features that piqued our interest was the console’s “Digital Video Recorder” that could record a video of the last few minutes of any game being played. This sounded cool because it meant gamers could capture amazing in-game feats as they happened without any need for an external video-recording solution. What we didn’t hear at the time of the announcement was just how far back the Xbox One was able to record.

Microsoft Studios’ creative director Ken Lobb revealed a little more detail about it to Gamespot while talking about upcoming fighting game, Killer Instinct at the recent Comic Convention in San Diego. If you’re just interested in Lobb’s explanation of the Xbox One’s DVR system, start watching from the 10:25 mark.

“It’s called Project Upload. So the idea is you’re always recording,” he said. “So we have a ring buffer game DVR, basically. So the last five minutes of any game you’re playing is always being stored locally on your [console’s] hard drive.”

He went on to talk about two different DVR scenarios. If you’re playing online, and you can’t pause, all you have to do is say “Xbox, record that” and the Xbox One will grab the last 30 seconds of gameplay footage and save it as a clip for you to play with later. The other alternative is to save the full five minutes of gameplay footage, and then pick and choose the clips you want from it and make a more complex video, complete with a “wrapper” (intro and outro sequences that bookend your video) and even the option to use voiceovers and picture-in-picture clips recorded by the Kinect camera.

In a conversation with another gaming website, CVG, Sony representatives confirmed that the PS4 will also have a DVR function, and that it will continually record the last 15 minutes of gameplay footage. So Sony one-ups Microsoft again, but as we’ve yet to see either one in action, it’s impossible to say who will have the superior implementation.

Regardless of whose DVR is better, the option to record the last few minutes of gameplay is a pretty cool feature to have. We’re just happy that gamers, and not individual companies, appear to be winning the console war.

Deon du Plessis

Deon du Plessis

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.

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