The 7 Best Game Recording Software to Use in 2018

Pick the best tools to become the next big thing on Twitch

Live streaming and the emergence of gaming on YouTube have helped gamers become content creators and develop huge fan bases. Services such as Twitch and Mixer have opened a new world to gamers, allowing them to play games live to massive audiences while interacting with fans. If you aspire to put on a show yourself, it starts with the right recording software that’ll streamline and make the process easy for you.

Game recording software has exploded in popularity, allowing for gamers to basically run their own little production companies. Players can stream, capture highlights or bring audiences through comprehensive walkthroughs of beloved games. Over the past few years, game recording programs like OBS and sites like Plays.tv have made it easy for anyone who wants to become a streamer or build up a following on YouTube. Below you’ll find the best game recording software available whether you're just getting started, want something free or want to go legit with 4K resolution and professional tools.

Best Overall: OBS (Open Broadcast Software)

OBS (Open Broadcast Software) is free and compatible for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It's open source which means that the online community can fix any bugs and continually optimize it. The software’s powerful production features and tools make it the best choice overall and well worth the taking the time to learn and master.

You may want a two monitor screen setup so you can adjust the recording while gaming. The powerful software studio lets you create switchable transitions, mix audio levels, set hotkeys and even preview scenes and sources before you push them live with no limits on video length. Integration with YouTube and Twitch makes it easy to live stream.

Best for Simplicity: Fraps

If you're looking for nothing but a simple game recording software, then Fraps may be up your alley. This easy-to-use software is light in weight (2.3 MB) and simple in both function and design without any of the complicated bells and whistles attached.

Fraps has been around since 1999 and gets its name from “frames per second” (FPS) due to its frame rate display that benchmarks and measures how quickly your game is running. You can record audio and video of your favorite games with a resolution up to 7680 x 4800 and custom frame rates at 1 to 120 FPS. The free version has limited features and a watermark, while the full version is available for under $40.

Best for Nvidia Graphics Cards: Nvidia ShadowPlay

If you’re running a gaming computer with a Nvidia graphics card like the Geforce GTX 600 or above, you’re in luck: It comes with its own game recording software. Nvidia’s ShadowPlay runs efficiently using the Nvidia Geforce GPU instead of your own CPU to ensure everything operates smoothly without interruption while you game and record.

Nvidia ShadowPlay comes with two different modes for gamers: shadow mode and manual. Shadow mode allows players to capture an instant replay of the last 20 minutes of gameplay while manual mode simply has unlimited recording storage. You’ll be able to adjust the resolutions up to 1440 HD, frame rates to 60 FPS and broadcast live to platforms like Facebook Live, Twitch, or YouTube.

Best for 4K Resolution and High Frame Rate: Action!

For the best high definition output and highest frames per second, the Action! game recorder has you covered. The easy-to-use premium game recording software can capture up to 120 FPS with 4K HD resolutions.

Action! does a stellar job with its top quality captures, without being too much of strain on your computer. It uses fewer megabytes per frame when recording and low computer resources. Action! even allows you to capture gameplay and control video recording on your Android smartphone or tablet. Like other game recording software on the list, you’ll be able to live stream directly to sites like Twitch, YouTube, and more.

Best for Windows 10: Windows 10 Game Bar

Windows 10's answer to game recording software is Game Bar, a software included in the operating system. Windows 10 users can summon the software’s interface overlay in any game or application by simply pressing the Windows key + G.

For more casual gamers, the Windows 10 Game Bar keeps it simple. Its seven-button interface overlay includes all of the options you'll need to start recording and make adjustments during your session. Game Bar is not without its issues: The application uses your system’s resources and it only supports full-screen mode on a certain number of games so you’ll need to adjust to either a windowed or full-screen windowed mode.

Best for Features: Radeon/AMD ReLive

Like Nvidia’s ShadowPlay, Radeon/AMD ReLive is an integrated game recording software that works in tangent with AMD graphics cards. Though it can take some time setting up and has a learning curve, its customizable functionality shines for gamers who want full control over hotkeys, recording and more.

Recommended for more advanced game recorders, Radeon/AMD ReLive is like being behind a recording studio console. You’ll be able to do everything from separating audio tracks, use an integrated chat system, show performance metrics and much more. Producers and detailed gamers who love to tinker around may find ReLive to be the right fit to meet their production needs.

Best for Easiness: Plays.tv

Plays.tv differs from other game recording software as it is both a website and an application that offers the easiest route to capture your gameplay. The lightweight software records as soon as you start gaming without all the setup.

Plays.tv is a great place to start for any beginner user just dipping their toes in recording their own gameplay. When you finish recording, you’ll be able to review and edit your entire gameplay session, dropping bookmarks on a timeline for easy access to specific moments. It even automatically adds key events for popular games like Overwatch and League of Legends. The website’s social media format makes it easy to track likes and comments for each of your clips, all while streamlining sharing to sites like Reddit, Facebook and more.

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