What are the Best Game Recording and Streaming Software for Windows? The pandemic may have wreaked havoc on most brick-and-mortar businesses, but it’s been a boon for online content creators. Whether on Twitch or Youtube, people are consuming more video content than ever.
At the forefront of this new wave are video game streamers. Playing and reviewing video games provides a steady stream of content, unlike other formats that require more planning and effort.
And while not every gamer can become the next Markiplier or PewDiPie, the market has grown enough to accommodate many streamers of moderately popular games. If you want to start your game streaming channel, here is the best game recording software on Windows
In any software category, open-source applications often take the cake. This is because open apps are updated more frequently, adding new features and fixing bugs to make the software more robust. The same goes for live streaming and screen recording tools.
Open Broadcaster Software (also known as OBS Studio) is probably the most feature-rich screen recording software. OBS lets you fully customize your stream settings, allowing granular control over the tiniest details.
However, there is a trade-off to this power, as setting it up requires a bit more patience and skill than simpler screen capture software.
But if you want to learn the interface (and there are plenty of tutorials online to help you), OBS is great game recording software to use professionally. It’s also completely free, with ongoing development and community support. And it is also compatible with all platforms including macOS and Linux.
If you like the idea behind OBS but find it too difficult to understand, Streamlabs OBS may be the tool for you. It is based on the Open Broadcasting Software codebase and provides a completely revamped interface to make the application easier to use.
The simplified interface retains most of the powerful features of OBS, so you won’t lose any of its advanced features. The only things missing are a few encoding options and cross-platform support – it doesn’t work on Mac or Linux, only on Windows.
But for any newbie looking for a free game recording app on Windows, Streamlabs OBS is a great option.
Recording and encoding videos can be a CPU-intensive process. Most modern PCs have powerful GPUs, but they can be lacking in the CPU department. This is where you need game capture software that uses the graphics card to do the encoding.
Nvidia, the leading GPU manufacturer, offers such an application. It has undergone many name changes, from Nvidia Shadowplay to Nvidia Share, which itself is part of the Nvidia GeForce Experience.
Paired with all Nvidia GeForce graphics card drivers, the tool is a very efficient way to record gameplay footage on your PC that performs better than most using the GPU. It’s not the best app for streaming and lacks many advanced features found in other tools, but just for recording videos, it’s a free app that works like a charm.
The great thing about Xbox Game Bar is that it comes by default with Windows 10 and 11 operating systems. This means you can get started with game streaming without having to spend hours setting up the software first. Xbox Game Bar is already optimized for Windows and runs smoothly even on computers with lower specs.
Launch Xbox Game Bar by pressing the button Windows key + G shortcut. This immediately opens an overlay on your screen, showing CPU usage or RAM performance. You can start recording with the buttons at the top, toggle the microphone, or just take screenshots. The app might be a bit lacking in features compared to other programs on this list, but the ease of use more than makes up for that.
AMD graphics cards are not as popular as Nvidia, but some are trusted. And if you’re looking for screen recording software that runs on a Radeon GPU, then AMD’s Radeon ReLive is the way to go.
Like Nvidia Share, ReLive isn’t exactly the most feature-rich game recording software, but it’s one of the few that can use the GPU for encoding. Additionally, it gives you the option of enhanced recording, allowing you to download 4K gaming videos while playing 1080p games.
It’s also free, so there’s no reason not to use it if you have an AMD Radeon graphics card. Especially if you just want to record gameplay instead of the live stream.
If you’re looking to go pro with your game streaming and aren’t averse to paying for a well-honed premium tool, Xsplit Gamecaster is the software for you. There is a free version that lets you get familiar with the app and its intuitive user interface, although it watermarks all 720p and higher-quality videos.
It is compatible with all out-of-the-box capture cards, including consoles and PC games, and can be loaded onto all popular streaming platforms. Even better, it has features that make it easier to manage your webcam screen, saving game streamers a lot of time and effort.
The only problem is the price. The free version is quite limited, with most convenience features like in-game Twitch chat, green screen, or high-res streaming locked behind a paywall in the full version.
But if you’re willing to invest in it, Xsplit Gamecaster is a well-designed game streaming and recording app that even includes a video editor for editing videos on the go.
When it comes to high-end video capture and streaming tools, few are as highly regarded as Bandicam. It uses hardware-accelerated video codecs to deliver smooth frame rates (60 fps and above).
You can get high FPS even at 4K Ultra HD resolution with good settings, allowing you to stream high-quality images. The built-in compression feature ensures that videos can be easily shared on streaming platforms without compromising quality.
Bandicam is also much cheaper than Xsplit Gamecaster, making it a premium pocket option for streamers. You can test the waters with the free trial, committing to a paid license only when you’re used to your workflow.
Most newbie video game streamers aren’t looking for a super complex tool with a ton of features that they would probably never use. A simple screenshot app that can record gameplay is sufficient in many cases.
Fraps is just the tool for the job. It’s built with simplicity in mind, with a window devoid of a mind-boggling array of settings. All you have to customize is the FPS and in-game audio settings. You can choose to record audio from an external microphone, which makes it easy to add your voiceover to the recorded video.
While the software itself is quite lightweight, the recorded videos are anything but. Fraps do not use any advanced codecs or hardware algorithms to compress videos, so it is limited to standard AVI files.
Speaking of simple screen recording tools, there is DXtory. The user interface is a simple window, however, it includes all essential functions. Like Fraps, DXtory is very light on system resources, although the output videos are quite large.
This is only recommended for advanced users who know what they are doing, as all the other apps on this list will offer a greater variety of features for the same cost.
Movavi’s Gecata is an excellent hybrid screen capture software for Windows computers. Supports simultaneous streaming and recording, allowing you to create Youtube videos for your Twitch streams without a complicated setup.
It has many of the features you could want from a game recording app, from automatically syncing your webcam and microphone inputs with a recording in progress, to recording just part of your entire screen. . A collection of handy post-processing tools makes it easy to add annotations to videos.
Gecata is therefore a solid choice for serious video game streamers who aren’t put off by its price. There’s a free trial, so dip your toes in before you jump in.
Best Game Recording and Streaming Software for Windows
Streaming platforms like Twitch or Ustream are on the rise. Many content creators make their living by posting various video content online. And the largest segment in this field is video game streaming.
Whether you plan to live stream your gameplay or upload edited videos to Youtube, a good screen capture tool is a must. You can start using a free app and upgrade to a premium app once your channel is up and running.
For pure recording purposes, the built-in tools are usually your best option. Windows offers Xbox Game Bar, while AMD and Nvidia offer a dedicated video recording tool for their respective graphics cards. And if you don’t like any of them, there’s always the easy-to-use Fraps.
Streaming live content needs a better app. You can use OBS or any of its iterations. or invest in a paid app like Xsplit Gamecaster or Bandicam. The open-source route is harder to master but offers a lot more functionality (besides being free), while the paid tools are easier to use and quicker to get started.
Whichever tool you choose, there’s no better time than now to get started with video game streaming. So just pick one of the options from this list and get started.