Recording gameplay was something easier said than done a decade ago. While next-gen consoles allow you to digitize your adventures with ease, finding the best game recording software for PC or mobile games can be a tall order.
Our crack team of experts took on this task and came up with a short list featuring some of the top game recording programs currently available. That includes a few classics along with professional alternatives that can record, edit and stream.
Best Game Recording Software
The Best PC Game Recording Software
OBS Studio is professional software built to handle a wide variety of formats and systems. That makes it ideal for gamers that need an all-in-one solution for recording gameplay, and a reason it’s considered one of the best pieces of streaming software on the planet.
OBS can live stream your gameplay and will provide you with a wealth of options when it comes to transitions and tools. That means you can fine-tune your recordings like the pros and won’t be limited by frame rates. It can downscale on the fly as well and gives you a measure of control you won’t find from other programs on our list of the best game recording software.
As you’d expect, OBS supports all the major players like YouTube, Facebook Live and Twitch. Firing it up for the first time can be a bit overwhelming if you aren’t experienced with these types of editors, but there are plenty of tutorials online if you hit a snag. That’s really the only downside to Open Broadcast Studio as its rock solid from top to bottom.
This open source software has a robust online community and is available for Windows, Linux, and Macs. If you need something quick and easy and don’t live stream, there are better options although it’s hard to argue with the amazing amount of tools and the fact that it’s free!
- Professional level tools
- 4K recording
- Free and open source
- Surround sound support
- Can be difficult for beginners
The Best All-Around Recording Software
ACTION! is an excellent choice if you want a speedy piece of software to record footage of your gameplay. It supports everything from NVIDIA to DirectX and OpenGL, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Want to keep tabs on your recordings from your mobile or add a little slo-mo to your gameplay? Those are just a few of the features ACTION! brings to the table. This recording software can capture the action while you annihilate opponents online or even snag a video playing in real-time on the web. Screenshots are just a hotkey away along with Greenscreen mode for those videos that need a little something extra.
Another fun feature is the audio system which can record real-time M4A files. We’re also fans of live audio commentary for those times when you want to walk your viewers through a tricky spot or brag a little bit. Tech junkies will appreciate the fact this program supports high-resolution recording as well so 4K or even 8K is not a problem as long as your system can handle it.
If you’re in need of a program that can do it all, you may have found it with ACTION! It’s the most capable program we’ve come across although the one you won’t be able to use if you own a Mac or run Linux. It may be overkill as well if you just need a simple piece of recording and video editing software for YouTube. You can download the program for free with 30 days of access or pick up a lifetime license for around $30 which includes free updates.
- Slick UI
- Supports a wide variety of formats
- Hardware acceleration
- 4K support
- Smartphone controls
- Can struggle on older machines
A Budget-Friendly Option for Gamers
Bandicam may not have the name recognition of a company like AMD or Filmora, but their screen recording software is a fan favorite. That’s due to the price point, and the fact you can capture almost anything whether it’s a PC-based title or a round of Clash Royale on your mobile.
Games come in many formats, but that doesn’t matter to Bandicam. It can capture games running at 3,840 x 2,160 as easily as it can tackle flash games in your web browser. Mobile recording is a lock as well along with games that use DirectX or Vulkan tech. We’re pleased to say lag isn’t something you’ll need to worry about and it can handle rates up to 144 frames per second.
Want to add some commentary to your gameplay videos? That’s entirely possible with the program’s sound mixing feature. Hardware accelerated h.264 encoding is also supported, and you can record over 24 hours of continuous video and control the frame rate while you record. We feel the UI should be easy to grasp for beginners although some users thought it was a little busier than other programs of this nature.
Bandicam is available in five different packages with a single PC license priced at $39 or 20 computers for around $470 bucks. There is a trial version of the program available as well, but with a 10-minute limit and watermark. This software is available for Windows, but not compatible with Macs.
- 4K recording
- FPS overlay and controls
- Over 24 hours of recording
- Up to 144 fps
- Not compatible with Macs
GPU-enabled Recording for NVIDIA Users
This piece of game capture software will not be for everyone although not for the reasons you’d suspect. ShadowPlay is free and performs as advertised, and it’s backed by one of the biggest players in the game. Unfortunately, it’s only available if you have one of Nvidia’s graphics cards in your rig.
ShadowPlay is an interesting solution for gameplay streaming as it’s built into your GPU. Instead of using your system resources, it will use your GPU to handle the heavy lifting while you game. The Instant Replay system is killer as well. This allows you to slap a hotkey to get a clip featuring your last 30 seconds in action so you can show off your skills online.
As part of the GeForce Experience, ShadowPlay will highlight your top moments for quick and easy sharing. Broadcasting games to YouTube or Twitch is painless, and we love the fact you can make GIFS or take 4K screenshots as well. On that note, the program can record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second… provided you have the right hardware under the hood.
Other highlights of this software include Shadow Mode which snags your 20 minutes of gameplay and an unlimited mode that allows you to record until you run out of space. You’ll need to have an NVIDIA GTX650 or higher to take advantage of ShadowPlay, but it won’t cost you a cent if you sport one of those cards.
- It’s free
- Ease of use
- 4K recording at 60fps
- Instant replay feature
- Only works with certain graphics cards
- Limited features
Radeon Software: Media Capture & Sharing
The Best Game Recording Software for AMD GPUs
Speaking of best game recording software for those strange folks with AMD CPUs and GPUs (just kidding), here we have Media Capture and Sharing from Radeon. So, here’s the deal: using Radeon Software makes it real easy to capture videos while you’re playing your favorite game for example, or images and even GIFs, provided there are still folks passionate about GIFs in the current year.
All jokes aside, if you’re a real gamer and if you want to take advantage of the latest video-streaming capabilities, you can also check out Radeon™ Software Adrenalin Edition. On top of recording your gameplay using your Radeon GPU, you can also share your cool stuff on social media instantly, or capture, view and share videos, images or GIFs from one location.
It’s worth mentioning that Radeon Software can stream through Steam®, & the Steam®VR ecosystem, as well as via Radeon™ ReLive Wireless VR app for an unforgettable gaming experience by enabling high-end PC quality VR experience on your smartphone. Moreover, you can play, capture, stream and share everywhere on any type of mobile device with AMD Link.
Bottom line, Radeon Software: Media Capture & Sharing is a kickass piece of software designed for AMD GPU owners, and it allows you to tweak your gameplay experience, as well as record your gaming sessions in a professional way. If you’re in the AMD fan club, it doesn’t get any better than this, so yeah, you should definitely give it a chance.
- Usable and easy to navigate
- Smartphone app available
- Top performance
- AMD only deal
The Classic Game Recording Tool
If you’ve been gaming long enough, you have probably heard of Fraps. The popular gameplay recording software has been around for decades and is still going strong today despite a lack of updates. Needless to say, the UI isn’t quite as fancy, but it can pull off some amazing results if you have enough horsepower.
If you’re looking for something with green screen software built-in, you’re out of luck with Fraps. You won’t find any flagship features as it’s essentially a video capture program with benchmarking and a screen capture tool. That’s not necessarily a bad thing depending on your needs, and its recording capabilities are impressive.
Fraps can put out some massive files due to its benchmarking nature which opens the door to a wide range of resolutions. You won’t be able to edit or touch things up with this one like you would with something like OBS, but it’s reliable and ideal in some cases if you are running an older version of Windows.
Fraps is free to download and use but has some limitations including a watermark and limited recording time. For $37, you’ll get unlimited access to the program for life although it’s not necessarily friendly with machines running Windows 10 for obvious reasons.
- Handles a wide variety of resolutions
- Custom frame rates
- Excellent screen capture tool
- Benchmarking statistics
- Difficulties with current operating systems
- Lack of editing tools
- No updates
Gecata by Movavi
Gecata by Movavi can be best described as minimalistic game software which is also very affordable, and that makes it great for casual and pro gamers alike. Even if the best things in life are free, if you’re choosing the free version (a free trial of sorts) of Gecata, you’ll still have to pay a price. Well, sort of: the company will be constantly pushing you to go buy the “full-option” paid version, and that may be a little bit annoying.
However, if you can function well under pressure, the free trial thing may hit the sweet spot for you. So, what is it after all’s said and done? Gecata is the ultimate game recorder, or so they claim: lightweight on resources, easy to use via one-click game capture (F10 key respectively), and yet perfectly capable of delivering professional quality gameplay footage. It’s worth mentioning that the paid version is not very expensive, standing at around $26, and that’s not much if you’re a YouTuber, i.e. a person who makes money from online gaming and things like that.
- One click capture
- Pan and zoom feature available
- Free trial available
- Doesn’t allow direct upload from within the interface
As you can see, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to pick up the best game recording software. There are several free programs available and even paid alternatives aren’t expensive. If you think we left a top option off our list or know of software you think we should consider, drop us a line or let us know in the comments section below!
Bandicam works great for me. I record game play with Bandicam. It’s easy to use and has high quality.
But it has a watermark.
What i hate
I’ve tried OBS for 2 streams and kept running into the same problems…. “encoder is overloaded”
My cpu is almost idle and my gpu is at 50% and just busy with running the game… (the game I tested with normally takes up 48% of my gpu)
I was streaming in 1080p at 60fps and my upload speed was even managing the rate of uploading…. (I’ve tried it with relive and it works fine(ish) except that relive occasionally just ends the recording…)
Now j tried to figure out what j was doing wrong with the faq and even went to the obs forum foe topics related, but I couldn’t find anything that was similar to what I was experiencing…
Maybe someone here knows… do I need a different type of encoding or a different setting?
If anyone has a tip or even a ‘link to where I .ca find the answer myself (even though I clearly suck at searching xD) than I’d be really grateful
Sigh… 3 lines in and already an autocorrect mistake… when mentioning the usage of gpu while recording… I meant to say…. my GPU normally takes 48%… not my cpu as that is almost idle running below 10%
Have you tried these solutions?
I tried changing the encoding priority, but haven’t checked the rest of the settings in the link. I’ll give it a try 🙂
Thanks a lot !
I think you’ve missed free Game Bar from Windows 10. And I also want to share an easy screen recorder name RecMaster that has a game mode for video game capture. I get its free giveaway version so there’s no watermark at all..
Action! has very bad recordings. Gameplay speeds up and slows down. Some game are choppy when Action! is running in the background. The software looks nice but that’s it. I had it for 3 years and they never fix those problems. NVIDIA Shadowplay gives best recording: smooth game and without stutter. Tested recently in 3950x and 2080ti
Fraps works great with you are only using one monitor. If you have 2 or 3 monitors, it only records a black screen.