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
An Integrated Recording Studio for Gamers
AMD ReLive is game recording software optimized for consumers with an AMD card. It has several cool features, covers all the basics and is fairly quick as well. It’s also completely free, but only useful for AMD users.
Whether you want to separate audio tracks, set an overlay or simply stream your latest match online, AMD ReLive can do a bit of everything. Its main function is to record gameplay using the power of your GPU, but things like the Scene Editor help set this program apart from the rest. Well, that and the multi-channel audio.
The editor isn’t as robust as what you’ll find in a paid program or OBS, but all the standard features are available. That includes plenty of presets for video and audio although the latter lets you kick things up to 320Kbps. YouTube and Twitch streaming is baked in along with support for GIFs and an in-game replay feature.
In a nutshell, AMD Radeon ReLive is AMD’s answer to ShadowPlay, and both programs are very similar in the way they work and their overall capabilities. Again, you aren’t going to get a slew of bells & whistles with this one, but it’s well worth a look if you have a machine with an AMD GPU.
- Free and easy to use
- Scene editor
- Multi-channel audio
- Only for AMD GPUs
- Limited rates
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
Great Free Game Recording Software
Plays.tv is unique from the rest of our choices due to a unique perk. While recording and editing your clips is simple, the service doubles as a social media portal of sorts. That means you can record your gameplay and gain followers at the same time or share your videos through all the usual services.
This lightweight program is one of the easier ways to record gameplay footage straight from your PC. While the editing tools are a little sparse compared to similar applications, it has some killer features that make it stand out from the pack. One would be instant replay mode, which gives you the last 90 seconds of footage in-game or in clip form. Kills and deaths are automatically added in the most popular games as well.
Another feature we dig is the bookmarks which allow you to find moments quickly. As for the social side of Plays, it’s akin to Instagram and will enable you to build up your own network or friends and followers. It’s an interesting approach as you can check out footage from all the popular games or post your own for others to view. You can also spectate matches with your friends complete with emojis and real-time chat.
Play.tv won’t be for everyone, especially if your goal is not sharing, but saving and editing clips of your gameplay. The editing features are light, but get the job done and it is super simple to use. It’s also hard to beat the rock bottom price of free. The program is available for Windows machines but not Mac-friendly at this time.
- Bookmark system
- Ease of use
- Instant replay
- It’s free!
- Limited editing tools
- Glitchy with recent updates
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!