YouTube’s video game community thrives on gameplay footage, and with a slew of various capture devices on the market specifically designed for recording gameplay, being a gamer on YouTube has never been easier.
But, a recent video by Machinima’s Inside Gaming Daily claims that the PS4 may throw a wrench in this process. Rumor has it that the PS4 will have the same HDCP copyright protection that was enforced on the PS3 to prevent the pirating of Blu-Ray material. If gameplay footage on the PS4 contains a similar encryption, then this poses a problem for users who wish to record gameplay on the PS4 with external devices. PS3 users had found a work-around that consisted of using component cables along with the HDMI cables on their capture device that allowed them to essentially bypass this issue. However, since the PS4 is all HDMI, the current PS3 work-around essentially won’t…well, WORK. So, if users want to record gameplay with an external third-party device, such as a capture card or PVR, they must find a new means of getting around the HDCP restrictions. This would likely involve some kind of HDCP stripper, which may or may not be an illegal option.
Even though Kovic and Bruce claim that this info is from a reliable source, the whole PS4 HDMI encryption issue is still a rumor. Sony has not made an official statement regarding these issues, other than this Twitter post from Sony’s President Shuhei Yoshida:
There are still ways to cap a few minutes of gameplay with the share button, the limitations of which are still a bit unclear. But, even if the share button does not post directly to YouTube, obtaining gameplay footage by other methods (such as uploading to Twitch first) does not seem completely impossible. This issue mainly concerns more serious content makers who want to edit their gameplay for quality purposes before uploading to YouTube, and a potential HDMI encryption would pose a substantial inconvenience for these individuals.
This is the best I’ve gleaned from various articles on this issue over the last few days. I’m no expert on the matter, so take this info with as much salt as you like.
When the time comes for me to get a next-gen console, I will most likely be getting the Xbox One before the PS4 for various reasons. So despite the fact that I’m a YouTuber, I don’t feel particularly effected by this issue, simply because the Xbox One still allows external capture devices for recording. However, the game industry should not underestimate the power of the online gaming community. This type of issue can rival that of the XB1’s DRM fiasco, and even harkens back to when Nintendo began enforcing copyright on YouTube videos earlier this year. Video game companies are not immune to the negative effects of bad press. Gameplay on YouTube is effectively a form of ‘free’ publicity, so it would behoove video game companies to embrace the power of YouTube, rather than throw wrenches in its gears. Our ease and ability to share gameplay footage is what keeps game discussion alive and healthy. so hopefully Sony values game discussion as much as its community does. Apparently, Sony is working hard to fix this issue before launch, but we’ll have to wait and see.
UPDATE 9/19/13: During the Tokyo Game Show’s keynote today, Sony announced that the PS4 WILL support HDMI video capture of games. This was later confirmed by an announcement on Twitter by Brad Douglas.