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Raptr launches Plays.TV, an addicting, video-centric Instagram for gamers

Brad Chacos | April 1, 2015
I've got a confession to make: Even though I'm PCWorld's gaming and graphics editor as well as a compulsive hoarder of in-game screenshots and video clips, very few of those gaming moments--practically none, if I'm being honest--make their way to my social media feeds. It just feels weird spamming all my non-gamer friends and family with a flood of Dying Light heroics on Facebook.

Play.TV's secret sauce reveals itself once you've saved clips. Shadowplay and OBS force you to use a third-party video-editing program if you want to tinker with footage you've captured, but the Plays.TV app comes with a basic video editor baked in that lets you select a specific portion of the clip to share. (You can also opt to share your clips to Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, though as we've already established, you probably won't.) Once you've uploaded your clip, the client wipes it from your hard drive to prevent filling it up with videos (you can disable that setting if you'd like).

Raptr's Plays.TV client can actually suck in videos taken with alternate video capture programs, to facilitate easier editing and sharing to the network even if you prefer to not use Raptr's software, but the official client automatically detects which game a video is associated with and slaps the appropriate hashtag and classification on it. The Plays.TV client works with every PC game, Fong says.

All in all, the beta Plays.TV client is a handy, streamlined video-sharing solution, and one that removes a major barrier of entry for sharing game clips.

The proof is in the product

Of course, none of that matters if people don't use the core Plays.TV service itself. I spent the weekend mucking around with Plays.TV and even though its community was limited due to its secret beta status, I found myself strangely drawn to the service.

I'm not much of a Twitch streamer, aside from checking out new games when they launch. But after following a handful of "featured gamers," I found scrolling through Plays.TV's feed somewhat addicting. The barrage of short, interesting clips gives the site an almost "OK, just one more" feel that — as any Civilization player who says "OK, just one more turn" can attest — can quickly turn into hours wasted if you're not careful.

Whereas watching a Twitch stream feels like a long-term commitment, Plays.TV feels like a snack, highlighting only the most interesting parts of games: 15 seconds of exploding zombies here, 30 seconds of epic Battlefield 4 feats there, a barrage of brief League of Legends highlights. The use of hashtags for the individual games helps if you want to get away from your feed and limit your focus to a single title — I spent way too much time watching #DyingLight.

It's too early to tell if Plays.TV's community will take off the way Raptr no doubt hopes it will, and the community will be the life or death of this service, but I already know one thing: Plays.TV is a site I'll be going back and checking often after this article's published. Who knows? I may even share some clips of my own.


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