The video capture market has seen a boom in recent years. With the rise in social media, the advances in video sharing and accessibility of consumer-friendly capture hardware, Let's Play clips, video walkthroughs and gameplay commentaries have become a distinct part of the gaming community, leading to video capture companies like Roxio, Elgato, Hauppauge and Blackmagic launching an increasing amount of hardware aimed specifically towards gamers.
Until now, of course, hobbyist footage and home-produced gameplay videos could only be recorded via the use of such additional hardware. But by Christmas, that won't be the case.
With the arrival of next-gen consoles, video sharing will soon become an integral part of console functionality thanks to the direct integration of video capture technology into both PlayStation 4 and - reportedly - Microsoft's next-generation Xbox.
But by circumventing the need to purchase additional hardware to capture and upload gameplay footage, does the integration of share functionality in next-gen consoles pose a significant risk to the companies behind the existing capture solutions?
"We believe that the next-gen consoles will rather help than harm us," Elgato's PR director Lars Felber tells VideoGamer.com. "From what we've seen so far, there [is] no reason to assume the next Xbox and the next PlayStation wouldn't work with [the firm's current hardware solution] Elgato Game Capture HD. Therefore, we're just as excited as anyone else about the new consoles and the games they will facilitate."
Elgato has quickly become one of the major players in the video capture industry owing to the release of the Elgato Game Capture HD last year, one of the few commercial capture boxes to feature retroactive 'Flashback Recording' - a feature expected to be included in PS4.
But the firm's positivity towards Microsoft and Sony's technology is perhaps unexpected - and Felber's response possibly missing the point. After all, both platform holders (if rumours about Microsoft's next console are to be believed, at least) are effectively elbowing out companies like Elgato, eradicating the need for specialist video capture hardware by developing their own solutions to video sharing.
Nevertheless, Felber believes that bespoke video capture hardware will still have the upper hand over the technology included in next-gen consoles. He claims that Sony and Microsoft's technologies will be significantly more restricted than traditional capture hardware, and that the increased exposure to video sharing could actually help promote Elgato's business to customers looking for more advanced video editing solutions.
"Since everybody can now share by pressing the share button, more people will be drawn to advanced solutions like ours," Felber continues. "[Sony & Microsoft's] new consoles will both limit gamers to a specific ecosystem, while Elgato Game Capture HD will always keep you in full control of your gameplay footage."
Sony has yet to publicly discuss PlayStation 4's 'Share' functionality in any particular depth, including how much control users will have over their recorded videos or the restrictions on editing them, but it has announced partnerships with Facebook and uStream for sharing highlights and streaming gameplay.
"The fact that these players are thinking about this space really is a testament to how popular game play sharing and video has become," says Roxio product manager Michel Yavercovski. "However, it's early days and they've really provided little detail about what they're actually going to offer or how limited the capabilities may be.
"Capturing video with your console is an interesting concept, but we know that the real creativity and magic comes when users get to edit and produce something truly unique."
Both Roxio and Elgato, then, appear to be relying on the hope that Sony and Microsoft's steps into video sharing may be relatively primitive, leaving advanced video editing and sharing solutions to video recording experts like themselves.
"Showing off your gameplay is one aspect, but there's much more than that," Yavercovski continues. "Many of the hottest trends right now (like Machinima) are about creative movie making... We're confident that Roxio's expertise in video editing and creative digital media will keep us at the top for users who want to create something that's subscriber and share worthy."
Elgato and Roxio both plan to launch new products across their gaming lines in the future, they tell us, with Elgato specifically targeting a release in the second half of 2013 for its next big product, along with new software features for the current Elgato Game Capture HD.
But despite appearing optimistic about the future, whether the companies' future products will prove to be as relevant as their existing counterparts remains to be seen.
"We think the gaming experience is all about sharing," adds Felber. "As the company that is spearheading this trend, we love that Microsoft and Sony agree with us."