Spectators of the upcoming Intel Extreme Masters tournaments at Gamescom will now see the action from their favourite player’s point of view within minutes of the match ending, thanks to Plays.tv.
The video-capture and sharing platform has partnered with ESL to have their technology installed on every computer players compete on at IEM, and next month’s ESL One Cologne, in order to offer full player recaps easily, without hours of manual video editing.
The platform, developed by parent company Raptr the social network for gamers, is something founder and CEO Dennis “Thresh” Fong has wanted since he became the first professional gamer on Doom in the ‘90s.
“One of the things I always wanted, and kind of regret looking back on my career as a gamer, is that there’s not a lot of videos of me in competition,” Fong told eSports Pro. “I think, for a lot of us who play games, it’s very social and competitive, but oftentimes there’s no evidence you did something.”
The Plays.tv client automatically records gameplay, without requiring set up before each match, and tags the video with the appropriate terms ready for upload, or quick editing within the program itself.
Though player screen capture is possible in a number of ways for several competitive games, the solutions are all work-intensive procedures - needing to go back after the match has finished to record the replays - or require software on the player computer that can have a heavy impact on the PC’s framerate - a big problem when players have milliseconds to react.
“If it has any noticeable impact on FPS it’s pretty much a non-starter,” Fong said. “If the players feel anything different about it. But with that we’re completely confident, because there’s basically less than 3% impact on framerate. Most of these machines are running at 250-300fps, but even at 100fps we’re talking about 97fps with Plays.tv running, which is insignificant.”
“We’ve always wanted to have POV videos available for all our competitions, but previously it just wasn’t feasible,” said Nik Adams, Senior VP at ESL. “Plays.tv has made it fast and easy to capture and upload video directly from the tournament PCs and we’re excited to provide esports fans with a new viewing experience.”
On top of being a ‘smart recording software’ which detects when matches begin to split video sessions, the software can also tap into certain games’ APIs to tag exceptional moments ready for highlight reels.
Though only active in League of Legends at the moment, the platform can detect, and place markers on a timeline for review after the match, big moments such as Pentakills and large teamfights.
“The automated highlights are just in League of Legends at the moment, but we have more coming obviously,” Fong said. “The other way to record highlights is just to hit a hotkey which places markers manually, or records the last 30 seconds of gameplay - akin to the PS4’s share button.”
This last comparison is very apt, as though PC has had a myriad of tools to allow this sort of moment capture and share between players, the process is far less intuitive than that of the newest generation of consoles.
“I actually say this isn’t just the PC catching up with consoles, it’s leaping ahead,” Fong said. “Because a lot like Instagram, this isn’t just a tool to allow you to capture those moments, it’s a place and a community dedicated to this stuff. There’s no sense of community at YouTube, really, but at Plays.tv there’s a community of people there who like the same stuff and will high five you for doing something really cool. Instead of being trolled on YouTube.”
The platform currently has pro gamers and organisations - such as Cloud9 and Team Liquid - signed up to it, where the eSports stars who stream in between their training sessions to supplement their income can also post the highlights of their streams, complete with their mic audio and reaction cam.