How to Record Gameplay

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Understanding the process of how to record gameplay on your PC is a highly useful skill for many gamers.

Not only can recordings be employed to demonstrate cool gaming highlights, but they can also serve as a means to share hints and tricks with other gamers or generate content for streaming outlets like Twitch.

In this article, we have compiled a list of 10 game screen recorders that will make the process a breeze. Check out our recommendations below.

how we test products

How we picked the game recorders

When selecting the best recording software for games, we considered a variety of factors:

  • Ease of use.
  • Compatibility with different gaming platforms.
  • Output video and audio quality.

We also read the reviews of experienced gamers to gather their insights on the tools they use for recording gameplay.

Ultimately, we selected a range of options that we believe will be helpful for gamers of all levels looking to record their gameplay on a PC.

Application Ease of use System requirements OS
OBS Studio
Hard
CPU: Intel i5 2500K, AMD Ryzen 1300X
RAM: 4 GB
HDD: 500 MB
Windows
Bandicam
Easy
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 1.3 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1500+
RAM: 512 MB or more
HDD DISK SPACE: 1 GB
Windows
D3DGear
Easy
CPU: Pentium 4 compatible
RAM: 2 GB
HDD: 10 GB
Windows
EaseUS RecExperts
Moderate
CPU: 64bit Intel processor
RAM: 2 GB
HDD: 2 GB
Windows
MacOS
Movavi Screen Recorder
Easy
CPU: Intel, AMD or compatible processor, 1.5 GHz
RAM: 512 MB
HDD: 2 GB
Windows
MacOS
Nvidia Shadowplay
Easy
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Q6867
RAM: 1 GB
HDD: 1 GB
Windows
Radeon ReLive
Moderate
CPU: Intel Core i3-5015U @ 2.10GHz or AMD 3015e
RAM: 3 GB
HDD: 500 MB
Windows
XSplit Broadcaster
Easy
CPU: 2nd Generation Core i5 CPU or equivalent
RAM: 8 GB
HDD: 250 MB
Windows
ManyCam
Easy
CPU: Intel Core i3 or faster processor
RAM: 2 GB
HDD: 500 MB
Windows
MacOS
Xbox Game Bar
Moderate
CPU: 8th generation Intel processor
Windows

   

Top 10 ways to record gameplay

1. OBS Studio

Record gameplay in OBS.

OBS Studio is a free, open-source application for recording video games on a PC. It offers numerous features, including high-quality video output, and full customization of settings.

With this program, you can record in full HD resolution without worrying about your computer's performance.

Screen recorder comes with an understandable interface that facilitates getting started. You can customize the layout of the video window and preview how your recording will look before you start streaming.

The software also provides an advanced audio mixer that lets you adjust the volume of different sources within the game. OBS further facilitates customizing the settings for each game video capture. You can adjust the frame rate, video bitrate, and other parameters to ensure that you get the best possible result.

Additionally, it supports plugins that let you add extra features such as overlays, custom transitions, and more.

Pros:

  • The game recorder is completely free.
  • The ability to create multiple scenes and smoothly switch from one to another.
  • Intuitive audio mixer.
  • Doesn't add any watermarks to your recordings or streams.
  • Lets you stream and record simultaneously.

Cons:

  • Quite demanding on your system resources so you may experience lag during recording or streaming.
  • Has an extensive learning curse.
  • Some advanced features are available only with special plugins.

2. Bandicam

Record gameplay in Bandicam.

Bandicam is a powerful tool that enables you to record your gaming experience on a PC. It captures high-quality videos with minimal impact on your device's performance, allowing you to enjoy a smooth playing experience.

You can capture your gaming sessions in HD quality with up to 120 FPS and no time limit. It is possible to take screenshots while you're recording and save them in different formats like BMP, PNG, and JPG.

The video recorder is a breeze to operate, and it's suitable for the most famous games like Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch. It's available for Windows 7 or higher and MacOS 10.5 or higher.

The video capture software comes with a built-in video editor that lets you trim and cut your recordings, add text and images, and create custom effects. You can also upload your videos straight to YouTube or Vimeo with just one click.

Pros:

  • Record PC gameplay in full HD quality with no lag or stuttering.
  • Works with multiple capture devices.
  • Records voice and system audio along with the screen.
  • Supports multiple codecs and formats.

Cons:

  • Does not work on Linux or Android.
  • For gameplay capture over 10 minutes, you must purchase the Pro version.
  • The free version of Bandicam includes a watermark on all videos.

3. D3DGear

Record gameplay in D3DGear.

D3DGear is a powerful PC game recording software that gives users the ability to document their in-game activities and commentaries. It is easy to set up and use but still gives you full control over the recording process.

The program can capture gameplay in high-resolution, with adjustable frame rate and bitrate. It also provides live streaming on Twitch, YouTube Live, or Facebook Live.

The application has an uncluttered interface with large buttons for capturing screenshots, starting/stopping recording, and adjusting settings. It also includes professional features such as microphone support, image overlay, slow-motion playback, and more.

Through this recorder, gamers can rapidly document their activities and spread them around the subscribers. It works with all major PC games and supports both DirectX and OpenGL graphics APIs.

Pros:

  • Captures very high-definition video, including 8K.
  • Screen recorder with low CPU usage.
  • Fast performance with low system impact.
  • Support of VR recording.

Cons:

  • Cannot adjust video bitrate within the software.
  • Advanced features require the Pro version to unlock them.
  • No keyboard shortcuts for quick access to controls.
  • Recordings must be shorter than 3 hours in length due to the 4GB file size limit.

4. EaseUS RecExperts

Record gameplay in EaseUS.

EaseUS RecExperts is a user-friendly, feature-rich computer program for recording games. It is intended to capture HD videos of your gaming sessions, including the action, sound, and commentary.

With this program, you can record video games in two modes: full-screen and windowed, and save it as an MP4 file. The program further allows you to capture screenshots of your playing process, which can be useful for sharing with friends or uploading to social media.

The interface is simple. Just launch the screen recorder and begin capturing by pressing the "Record" button. Additionally, you can adjust settings such as video resolution and frame rate to suit your needs.

EaseUS RecExperts also provides cutting-edge add-ons such as adding webcam video, voice over, and text overlay. This allows you to create engaging videos that look professional. You can even record multiple games simultaneously with multiple windows open at once.

Pros:

  • High-definition 1080p video output.
  • Uses less PC resources thanks to GPU acceleration.
  • Auto split and auto crop features.

Cons:

  • Available only for Windows users.
  • No streaming support.
  • Recording time and format are limited in the free version.
  • The use of certain advanced editing options requires some technical knowledge.

5. Movavi Screen Recorder

Record gameplay in Movavi Screen Recorder.

Movavi Screen Recorder is a useful tool for PC players who aim to capture their gaming activities. It's compatible with all versions of Windows and Mac, and the setup process is simple and straightforward.

The program is lightweight and requires minimal system resources, making it great for recording games on computers with low performance. It can record from any source - your desktop, web camera, or a game window. You can also capture audio from a microphone or speakers.

The game recorder has an intuitive interface and a range of editing features. You can use the cursor or a hotkey to start and stop recording, adjust the video frame size, and set up the capture area. You can also obtain screenshots as you are recording.

You can customize your videos with text captions, apply special effects, add transition animations to your videos, and more. Once you have finished editing your footage, you can save it in popular formats such as MP4, AVI, MOV, and GIF.

Pros:

  • You can select what part of the screen to record, or even write audio from multiple sources.
  • Multiple export options.
  • Record system audio and microphone audio in separate streams to simplify editing.

Cons:

  • The free version comes with a watermark.
  • No sheduling option - you have to manually start and stop recordings each time you play.
  • The game screen recorder doesn't have live streaming.

6. Nvidia Shadowplay

Record gameplay in Nvidia Shadowplay.

Nvidia Shadowplay serves as a game recording software created by the popular graphics card manufacturer. It allows users to record and share their sessions with their connections on social media.

The application is easy to install and use. All you need is a GPU from Nvidia, a compatible PC, and the free Nvidia GeForce Experience software. With GeForce Experience, you can quickly set up Shadowplay and start recording your best gaming moments.

The videos are stored on your hard drive, allowing you to save them for later viewing. You can post them directly to YouTube. The quality of the game video captures can be adjusted according to your liking.

The software also has several useful options such as Instant Replay, which automatically brings up the last 20 minutes of gameplay so you can quickly review it. The other one is the Broadcast Mode, which allows you to stream live over Twitch or other platforms.

Pros:

  • Can be downloaded at no cost.
  • Makes 360-degree screenshots.
  • The software is compatible with most graphics cards from Nvidia.

Cons:

  • Extremely demanding on your system's resources.
  • Supports Nvidia video cards only.
  • The game recorder often has sound recording errors.

7. Radeon ReLive

Record gameplay in Radeon ReLive.

Radeon ReLive is a free recording software from AMD that allows you to record your video games.

With the app, you can capture full HD videos of your games at up to 60 FPS. It supports recording from multiple sources, including your main screen, secondary monitors, and even webcams.

The game recording software also comes with some great extra features that make capturing your gaming sessions easier than ever. You can use the overlay to quickly access settings and tweak your videos in real time, or add audio commentary while playing.

You can also use the built-in editor to trim and adjust your videos before uploading them online.

Finally, ReLive also offers a variety of screenshot capabilities that let you capture still frames during gameplay. You can share screenshots directly from the tool as well as have them automatically uploaded to an online gallery for easy sharing.

Pros:

  • The screen recorder comes with every AMD graphics card.
  • Supports the most popular games on the market.
  • Fast loading time.

Cons:

  • The caliber of audio can be substandard due to compression artifacts.
  • Finding settings can be difficult due to their location.
  • Supports AMD video card only.

8. XSplit Broadcaster

Record gameplay in XSplit Broadcaster.

XSplit Broadcaster records in-game video and audio while allowing users to customize their videos.

The program features an intuitive UI that makes recording video and audio simple. The main window displays available hotkeys for recording games and other functions, such as editing and uploading your videos.

The software can be used with a lot of games, from popular titles like Fortnite, Overwatch, and League of Legends, to less well-known ones.

The app records at a resolution of up to 4K, making it suitable for high-end gaming systems. It also supports multi-monitor recording, enabling you to gather video from multiple displays simultaneously.

The embedded video editor simplifies the process of customizing your recordings. You can add text, images, and clips to your videos, or even create animated intros and outros. You can modify the audio levels of your recordings with the help of the mixing board.

Once you've finished editing your video, you can post it instantly to YouTube or other sites with just one click of a button. The game recorder also supports Twitch streaming, allowing you to broadcast your content.

Pros:

  • Offers a range of features like video editing, streaming, and screenshot capture.
  • 3D scene positioning is possible.

Cons:

  • The game recording software needs additional plugins.
  • To run optimally, it requires a powerful PC with good specifications.
  • For commercial usage, a Pro version is required.
  • There is no Mac or Linux version available at the moment.

9. ManyCam

Record gameplay in ManyCam.

ManyCam is an easy-to-use program for recording gameplay on PC. The software provides a vast array of features, including green screen technology, which allows you to replace your background with any image or video clip.

The user can choose from a library of effects and text templates. It is possible to create custom templates using your own images - tweak the opacity, size, and position of the overlay elements. It is possible to add up to four video sources to the stream or recording, including webcams and other video capture devices.

In addition to recording gameplay footage, the application can be used as a video chat program. The user can join multiple conversations at once having a maximum of 12 people in each chat room. The switch between the conversations is instant.

Pros:

  • The screen recorder has a virtual, green screen, and even whiteboard backgrounds.
  • Strong webcam motion detection.
  • You can add sound or visual effects, such as chroma key or picture-in-picture.

Cons:

  • Editing options are limited.
  • Highly processor intensive.
  • The game recorder can not capture in HD.
  • The interface is quite messy.

10. Xbox Game Bar

Record gameplay in  Xbox Game Bar.

Xbox Game Bar is a built-in program on Windows 10 that facilitates capturing and sharing your gaming moments. It offers powerful game video capture capabilities, an integrated video editor, and rapid access to prominent streaming services.

The program can be launched by pressing the Windows key + G. This will bring up the Game Bar menu, where you can capture screenshots or video, start broadcasting, and adjust audio and microphone settings.

The capture panel allows you to record your game experience in full-screen or windowed mode, with adjustable resolution and frame rate options. You can snap screenshots with the press of a button.

The editor panel lets you trim your recordings into shorter clips and add music, text overlays, transitions, and other effects. Once you're happy with the edits, save them on your PC or transfer them to other popular streaming platforms.

Pros:

  • Has a built-in screenshot feature.
  • Streams gameplay live to other platforms.
  • Compatible with a wide range of games.

Cons:

  • The quality of the recorded video may not be great.
  • The screen recorder causes lags and performance issues in some games.
  • Not all features are available in every game.
  • 2 hour recording time limit.
  • Can open only one window at a time.
  • Recording will stop automatically when you close or minimize this application.

Why record the gameplay

Do you want to share your gaming success? Are you a content creator looking for new topics to cover? Whatever the reason, recording games can be an exciting and rewarding experience.

  • If you're a streamer or content creator, knowing how to record on a PC gives you high-quality video content for your followers and subscribers. Or when you're a hobbyist or competitive player, recording and sharing highlights of your best moments can be exhilarating.
  • You might also have to register gameplay to troubleshoot technical issues. Players' feedback can help developers identify and address problems in their games. When reporting bugs or other issues, it helps to provide video evidence of the issue. This can enable programmers to get to the root cause quickly and with greater effectiveness.
  • Recording gameplay is also great for sharing tips and tricks with others. You can show how to get past tricky sections in games or how to master special moves or combos. It's a great way to interact with other players and even have fun competitions.
  • Finally, it lets you relive special moments again and again. Whether it's getting that elusive achievement or completing a particularly difficult level, capturing these moments can give you a sense of accomplishment that lasts forever!

Where to share your recordings

Once you've completed recording gameplay on a PC, it's time to broadcast it to the world! You have a few options for doing this:

  • YouTube is a video-sharing platform where users can upload and view videos on a variety of topics, from music and entertainment to education and news.
  • Twitch is a live streaming platform primarily used for video game streaming, but also contains music and talk shows.
  • Discord is a communication app designed for gamers, but has expanded to include communities related to various interests. It allows users to create servers, join channels, and communicate through text, voice, and video chat.
  • Social Media - if you don't want to use any of the services mentioned above, you can always load your recordings to social media like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Just make sure to double-check the account settings of the service you're using before posting anything.

No matter what platform you choose, recording and sharing your gameplay is an excellent way to showcase your skills and have fun with friends.

Tips

  1. Choose the right software for recording games.
  2. Adjust your settings before starting the recording session.
  3. Set up a hotkey for starting and stopping the recording process quickly and easily.
  4. Test your setup before beginning the recording, so you can be sure everything is working properly.
  5. Set a recording limit to avoid filling up your hard drive with too much footage at once.
  6. Record in short bursts if you're running low on storage space or need to keep your computer from lagging while playing games.
  7. Edit your footage to make sure it looks and sounds great before uploading it to the Internet.
  8. Back up your recordings periodically in case something goes wrong, so you don't lose any of your hard work!

What to seek in game recorder

When it comes to recording games, you'll need the right software for the job. Here are some features to look for when choosing the best recording software for games:

  • Compatibility. Make sure the software is compatible with your PC's operating system, as well as the games you want to record.
  • Input Support. Can it capture audio and video from external devices? Does it have support for keyboard, mice, and other gaming peripherals?
  • Recording Quality. Check that the software can record high-quality video and audio, so your recordings look and sound great.
  • Editing Tools. Does the software come with tools for editing videos? If so, make sure they're powerful enough to handle your needs.
  • Export Options. Is there an easy way to export your recordings? Make sure you can save them in all popular file formats.
  • User Interface. The program should be easy to use and navigate. A clear, intuitive user interface can make all the difference.

By considering all of these factors, you can find a program tailored to your requirements for capturing and editing game footage. With the right program in place, you'll be able to record your gaming experiences without any hassle.

FAQ

Which capture cards are best for recording gameplay on a PC?
It depends on the user's needs and budget. Popular options include the AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2, Elgato Game Capture HD60S, and Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus.
What settings should I use when recording games?
The ideal settings depend on what type of game is being recorded and the desired quality of the video. Generally speaking, you should choose settings that will give you the highest quality video while not crashing the game.
What do I need to record or stream gameplay?
To broadcast or capture gameplay you will need a computer with enough processing power and RAM to handle both the game and any additional recording/streaming tasks. You'll also need an internet connection if you plan on streaming your gameplay live online.
What is the best resolution to record in?
The resolution you should record in depends on the game, but 1080p (1920x1080) is commonly used and provides good-quality recordings.
Can I minimize lag when recording video games on a PC?
To reduce slowdowns while recording, make sure your computer meets the game's system requirements and adjust the settings accordingly. Additionally, closing unnecessary programs can help reduce the waiting time.
How much disk space is required for capturing?
The amount of hard drive space required depends on how long you are recording and the resolution of your recordings. Generally speaking, 1GB of storage space per minute of footage is a good guideline to follow.

Conclusion

Overall, recording gameplay on a PC can be both an enjoyable and educational experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can take and save your gaming moments to share with your friends and family.

Rean Uehara

Expert Tech Writer

Rean is a tech enthusiast, digital marketer, operations specialist, and eCommerce coach who focuses on distributed teams. He began working remotely on web-related projects in 2010 and has never looked back. His articles published on Hongkiat, so his authoritative opinion on technology can be fully trusted.
11 min read
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