Over the weekend I played with a very cool tool from video host GameVee. It's called Grab, and it will pull saved videos from the console hit Halo 3 and deliver them to the cloud where they can be replayed without the need of local hardware or Halo software.
Typically to watch these videos you must first find and download them through the in-game video browser, then run them in the game's replay engine. More importantly, gamers are only given a certain amount of space to host their videos, and can only share six at a time without upgrading to an annual paid storage plan provided by the game's developers.
Using GameVee as a host, gamers can easily bypass these restrictions if they want to post their best (or worst) moments for all to see. GameVee lets its users upload as much content as they want as long as it's under the 500MB threshold. In the case of these Halo replay videos, the files are tiny since they're being delivered as commands that run in the game's rendering engine. GameVee creator and Chief Creative Officer Jason Bradicich wouldn't tell me the specifics of how the Grab system works, but presumably he and his team have found a way to automate the download and playback of these files into equipment with a capture card that's pumping the video to GameVee's servers.
Bradicich says Halo 3 is hopefully the first of many games that will be tied into the Grab service. In the meantime, he tells me getting Bungie, the creators of the Halo series onboard is the most important part. The title has been out for just under a year and is still logging more than 2 million matches a day. Many moments from those matches are being recorded and pushed up on Bungie's hosting service for sharing. Up until Grab, there wasn't an easy way to get them up on a video host without using your digital camera to grab some shaky cam footage, or throwing down on some capture equipment for your computer.
Some developers have decided to go the other route for their games, allowing gamers to push their replays straight to the cloud. For instance, Electronic Art's Spore Creature Creator (coverage) let users push their monsters straight to YouTube as long as they had a log in. Similarly Skate (also an EA creation) lets its users send saved replays to its servers, but like Halo had a cap on how many files they could keep up at a time.
As console gaming progresses, expect to see more services like GameVee's Grab pop-up. Sony has already included YouTube uploading into the Playstation 3's API, but giving gamers more ways to share their content with a more focused audience could be highly profitable.
I've embedded one of the videos I had converted below. One thing to note is that the video should only run about 17 seconds but goes for a full 31, so there are definitely still some kinks to work out.