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Nvidia ShadowPlay is a hardware accelerated screen recording utility for Windows PCs using GeForce GPUs, made by Nvidia Corp as part of its Geforce Experience software. It can be configured to record continuously with a rolling buffer of customizable length, allowing the user to save the video retrospectively.
Under traditional methods of video capture, the act of capturing a frame prevents it from being sent to the monitor and forces a refresh, haling the framerate. With ShadowPlay's first release Nvidia announced two new frame capturing methods: Frame Buffer Capture (NVFBC) and Inband Frame Readback (NVIFR). NVFBC provides the best performance, but can only be used in full screen mode. It is the API used by ShadowPlay. NVIFR can be used in either fullscreen or window mode, but has a higher performance impact. Once ShadowPlay captures a frame, it encodes it using the dedicated hardware encoding embedded in the Nvidia GPU. ShadowPlay is supported by all GTX 650 and higher series desktop graphics cards.
ShadowPlay was supposed to be released alongside Nvidia Shield in late June 2013, but was delayed. It was also later planned for release by the end of summer 2013, but the release was silently postponed. On the 20th of September, an Nvidia forum representative posted a thread to the GeForce forums, citing that the delay was due to problems they had with video formats, and stated that they planned to start "sharing this new feature with you soon." It was released in a public beta on October 28, 2013 in the 331.65 driver, available to all graphic cards higher than the desktop 650 series.