Recording games on a computer is seen as a necessity rather than a luxury these days, and there is a good reason for it. In recent years, live streaming and content creation with an emphasis on gaming have become mainstream. Almost everyone wants to record their gameplay and publish it on platforms like YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
A decade ago, you had to rely on external hardware to capture PC gameplay in decent quality. Fast forward to the present and you have so many different software options that make the process so easy that most of them are free.
Game recording software: what is it about?
In the simplest sense, game recording software is nothing more than a tool that allows you to record your gameplay. You press a key to start recording the screen when playing a game. When you stop it, the recording will be saved as a video file and saved on the computer. Now you might be wondering: what is special about it and how does it differ from screen recorders?
In terms of how they work, both screen recording and game recording software are very similar. After all, both of them are recording the screen. However, game recorders have some distinct advantages as they focus on game-oriented functions. Unlike most typical screen recorders, for example, they can record your display at a higher resolution while maintaining a constant frame rate of 60 frames per second. Both of these are critical to the ingestion of video game content.
Now that you know the basics, let's take a look at some of the best game recording software you can try on your Windows PC right now.
1. OBS Studio
Let's start with the software that most of your favorite YouTubers and Twitch streamers use to record game content on their PCs. OBS, which stands for Open Broadcaster Software, is primarily a streaming suite, but it's a powerful as well as powerful recording tool. It is open source software, which means that it is free and will always be free.
OBS is a top choice among gamers because of the advanced tools and customization options it has to offer. You can use custom overlays, add scene transitions, and insert your webcam footage while you actively record the gameplay. By default, OBS uses the CPU to render the recording. However, you can change them in the settings of your graphics card.
Whether you want to record at 4K or want a smooth 60fps clip, OBS has everything you need. And if you ever want to stream your gameplay on YouTube or Twitch, you already have everything you need to go live in minutes without having to rely on any other software.
Download: OBS Studio (free)
2. NVIDIA GeForce Experience
If an NVIDIA graphics card is powering your PC, GeForce Experience is game recording software you need. It uses the GPU to encode the recording and offers various options for resolution and frame rate.
NVIDIA GeForce Experience is bundled with NVIDIA graphics drivers. You can access the in-game overlay by pressing Alt + Z. Keys on your keyboard. You can use all the recording and sending options of this overlay.
In addition to manual recording, GeForce Experience has a killer function that makes it ahead of the competition Immediate answer. When this option is enabled, the software will start recording your screen indefinitely without saving it. Instead, the recording is temporarily saved in a buffer for a specified length of time until you save it manually.
This is a great feature for users who are trying to capture the best moments while gaming. Once you see something cool on your screen, hit the hotkey and save that part as a clip.
Download: NVIDIA GeForce Experience (free)
3. Xbox Game Bar
If your PC is running Windows 10, you don't need any other game recording software thanks to the built-in DVR functionality. You can record games with the Xbox Game Bar overlay by pressing Windows + G. Keys on your keyboard.
It's similar to how GeForce Experience works. If you liked the instant playback feature, Microsoft offers you a background recording feature to match.
As convenient as the Xbox Game Bar is for recording gameplay, there are a few things to keep in mind. By default, the Xbox Game Bar records your screen at 30 FPS. So you'll need to change it to 60 FPS in the settings for the best experience possible. Plus, you're limited to 1080p recording, which may not be ideal for gamers playing at the 1440p and 4K resolutions that the PC industry is pushing for.
Download: Xbox Game Bar (free)
4. AMD Radeon software
While NVIDIA users have access to GeForce Experience, AMD users can use an equivalent tool called Radeon Software. You pretty much have access to almost all of the recording features NVIDIA software offers, including instant replay. So you won't miss out on anything important because you chose one brand over the other.
Even so, AMD's Radeon software has a trick up its sleeve that some users would really appreciate. Basically, it's an upscaling feature that allows you to increase the resolution of the captured clip if you want to save it. This helps in improving the visual quality of your gameplay recordings.
Download: AMD Radeon Software (Free)
Just like OBS, Gamecaster is a streaming-focused application with a simpler user interface for beginners. When you first set up the software, you have the option to prioritize either streaming or recording. Everything is preconfigured and the video quality settings are automatic with your GPU set as the default encoder.
For those who prefer manual control, the software lets you record at a maximum resolution of 4K and switch to the CPU for coding. Keep in mind that using the CPU to encode will affect your PC's performance and you may experience dropouts while gaming. All in all, it's great free recording software, especially if you're testing the water with live streaming. More advanced users would still be better off with OBS, however.
Download: Gamecaster (free)
The recording isn't just for gamers
All of the recording software we've covered here is certainly aimed at gamers, but that doesn't mean others can't use it. Regular screen recorders, especially the free ones, are usually limited to frame rates of 1080p and 30FPS. Some of them even have a recording time limit, which is absurd. People who use them for tutorials, presentations, and other work-related things would benefit a lot from switching to game recording software.
You may not even need an advanced tool like OBS for your use case. So give them a try first, do your proper research, and then go for the game recording software that you want to use over the long term.
The best free screen recording software for all platforms
Regardless of the platform you're using – Windows, macOS, or Linux – here are the best screen recording apps to use. Free!
About the author
(2 articles published)
Hamlin is a full-time freelance writer who has worked in the field for over four years. Since 2017 his work has appeared on OSXDaily, Beebom, FoneHow, MashTips and others. In his spare time, he either trains in the gym or makes big moves in the crypto room. Unfortunately, he doesn't have time to play games with his RTX 3090.
By Hamlin Rozario
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