Sharing recordings of your gameplay is a relatively recent phenomenon, but believe it or not, watching someone play a video game is as old as the hobby itself.
When Q-berto Y Ms. Pac-Man As they roamed the land, it was not uncommon to see a group of kids huddled around an arcade machine watching the best in the neighborhood play all the way on a single quarter. In the ’90s, the game in my neighborhood was street fighter iiand the aughts had the young gamers huddled around the living room televisions with the Big car thefts.
Fast forward to today, where it is common to share or stream videos of your gameplay online, and just about any major game you can think of has a star viewer and player base. Unlike the games of old, where Donkey Kong either Sonic the Hedgehog It followed a predetermined path and the variance between runs of the game was relatively minor, today’s video games offer countless different endings, outcomes, and middle games that can be just as entertaining to watch as they are to play. There are even sports games like the FIFA series and rocket league offering something closer to the highlights of traditional sports.
Whether it’s to show off to the world or just with a few friends, PC game recording is a hot trend that many gamers want to be a part of. If you want to have fun, how do you start and what recording software should you use? There is no shortage of free video recording tools vying for your attention, many with unique hooks or features.
This guide will tell you which is the best burning software for your needs. (If you’re looking to start streaming specifically, be sure to also check out PCWorld’s guide to streaming games with Twitch. Also see our roundup of the best USB microphones for streaming.)
Best Overall Game Capture Software
Open Broadcast Software (OBS) Studio tops the list of the best game capture software. This suite is ridiculously flexible, allowing you to capture not only your gameplay, but also add a photo from your webcam, a watermark, and even more complex elements. The performance hit of OBS is also surprisingly small considering all it can do.
OBS resides in the domain of professional and advanced users, but the beauty is that with just a few minutes of training it’s pretty easy to get started. Anyone looking to take their game recording and production to the next level should check out OBS.
The best game capture software for beginners
There is no doubt that the easiest capture tool to use is Plays from Plays.tv. Just install it, log in and start doing your work without prompting. More experienced users can tweak the capture settings, but it’s not a requirement for a quality experience right from the start.
Play Links with Windows 10 Game Bar here. While Game Bar isn’t technically a sharing tool, it is integrated with the Windows 10 Xbox app, where you can upload clips with a single click to Microsoft’s Xbox Live. The Xbox app also has simple editing tools to cut your recording down to a shorter clip.
Plays is as easy to use as the game bar is to edit. After you’ve recorded your gameplay, Plays pops up with equally simple editing tools to cut your clip or upload the whole thing to Plays.tv.
The downside of both is that they don’t link to platforms like YouTube and Twitch. However, in both cases, it’s easy to get access to your videos locally to upload them elsewhere.
How we test game capture software
We reviewed each capture tool by running a game benchmarking tool without the capture software enabled to get a baseline, and then running it again with the capture software actively recording. The difference, measured in frames per second (fps), gives us an idea of the performance hit you can expect from these tools.
We also consider how easy or difficult it is to install and configure the software, what it’s like to activate on the fly, and how easy the software interface is to use and understand.
We didn’t use a top-of-the-line platform for our tests, but rather a laptop with an external GPU setup. The point wasn’t to see what a tremendously powerful system can do, because tremendously powerful systems won’t have much trouble running anything. Using this setting shows how inexpensive systems fare while gaming and recording at the same time.
However, take our benchmarking numbers with a light grain of salt. The performance hit created by video capture software can vary greatly between different PC configurations. Your CPU, graphics card, other hardware and software running in the background can greatly affect the results. These benchmarks are intended to give a general idea of how to record the performance of the software.
Also, the unique features of one game capture program may lead you to choose it over another, regardless of potential performance concerns.
Our test rig was a Lenovo X220 laptop with 8GB of RAM, a 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7 2620-M processor with HyperThreading, and an overclocked Asus GeForce GTX 750Ti edition with 2GB of internal memory. dedicated.