Point Cache is a simple vertex animation format, that’s used frequently in 3DS Max, and I think it’s used in Maya too. It’s a way of baking animation to a file, in the form of vertex locations, that can then be later streamed off disk, that can help not only for things like speeding up complex rig deformation playback, but also for i/o of animation data.
While the FBX export is far superior when you want to export a rig with armature (since you can actually manipulate it after the fact) the deformations won’t necessarily give the same results (i.e. Blender’s Quaternion deformation), and only mesh/armature deformation is supported. Using a point cache isn’t editable, but it can exactly support any kind of animation, on any kind of object, so long as the topology or vertex count/order doesn’t change between frames.
The Point Cache format just contains vertex positions, so to bring your animated mesh into another application, such as 3DS Max, you will also need to export the mesh itself in another format such as OBJ.
For use in Max, import the OBJ into Max with the standard File->Import, then add a Point Cache modifier, click ‘Load’, and open the point cache file.
Two screenshots, one in Blender of an animated bevelled curve object, being deformed by two hooks, and the same in Max with the Point Cache modifier:
Movie of an animated mesh object in Blender, also being deformed by a lattice and hooks, and the same in Max:
And the script!