How to Record Gaming Videos for YouTube on PC, Mac, and Linux


In the third quarter of 2021, people watched 1.31 billion hours of YouTube gaming content.

This makes gaming videos some of the most-watched videos on YouTube.

If you’re a fan of this type of content you’ve probably thought about creating your own YouTube gaming videos at some point.

If that’s the case you have come to the right place.

In this post I’ll take you through:

  • How to record gameplay for YouTube on a Windows PC.
  • How to record game videos for YouTube on an Apple Mac computer.
  • How to record gameplay For YouTube on a Linux PC.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of recording gameplay on PC, Apple Mac, and Linux. 

One thing you should know before we get started is you don’t have to be a genius to create gaming videos to share with others on YouTube or any other social media platform you choose.

So, after reading this post you should be able to capture gameplay for YouTube on your PC, Mac or Linux even if you’re a video beginner.

What do you need to record gaming videos for YouTube on PC, Mac or Linux?

To begin creating basic gaming videos all you need is a computer, your favorite game, and screen capture software.

Your computer doesn’t need to be a high-end gaming device but it should have at least 4GB RAM and plenty of hard drive storage space to ensure it’s not sluggish when playing or editing games.

Your Windows, Mac, or Linux PC most likely has screen capture software.

If it doesn’t there are many free screen recording apps online you can download and use to immediately start recording gaming videos for YouTube. 

OBS Studio is one of the best free screen capture software available.

Most professional YouTube game video creators use OBS Studio because it records high-definition videos, has no restrictions on the length or number of videos they can create, and has many amazing features to customize videos.

Later in this post, I’ll be sharing with you how to use OBS Studio to create the highest quality gameplay videos on your PC, Mac, or Linux for your YouTube channel.

If you’re serious about recording YouTube gaming videos you’ll also need the following:

  • A webcam like the WILDHD 1080P Plug & Play camera to record your reactions while gaming. You could use the inbuilt camera on your computer but it may not give you high-resolution videos. The WILDHD webcam, which you can buy on Amazon records 1080p at 30fps videos.

Screen capture software like OBS Studio has a picture-in-picture feature that allows you to include your image in your gameplay video.

  • An external microphone such as the Blue Yeti. Again you can use your computer’s internal mic, however, if you want your YouTube videos to have professional sounding commentary invest in a good external microphone.
  • Lighting to give your videos the perfect amount of light, and ensure you can record at any time of the day.
  • Editing software. The screen capture software you use could have an editing tool, OBS doesn’t, or you could use a free editing tool to edit recorded game videos for YouTube.

Free editing software, however, may not have premium features that you can use to give your videos that wow factor. That’s why you should pay for a premium editor like Adobe Premiere.

If you’re wondering, you don’t need a capture card to record computer video games.

A capture card is only needed when moving audio and video from an external device to a PC, Mac, or Linux for recording or streaming.

For example, to stream higher-resolution PS4 gameplay videos you have to use a capture card.

This device will transfer audio and video from the PS4 to your computer where it will be recorded at the highest quality and streamed to YouTube.

In this case, since your computer is the source of your gameplay recording there’s no audio or video passthrough so a capture card is unnecessary.

Now you know some of the main things you’ll need to record gaming videos for YouTube on your computer.

Next, I’ll share a step-by-step guide on how to record games on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

How to record game videos for YouTube on your Windows PC

The easiest way to record your PC games is through Xbox Game Bar, a Windows in-built screen recorder.

Here’s how to set up Game Bar to record your PC games.

  1. Click on Start at the bottom left corner of your Windows taskbar, then select Settings.
  1. On the menu that appears scroll down and select Gaming, then Xbox Game Bar.
  1. Turn on Xbox Game Bar to enable the screen recorder to capture game clips. 
  1. On the Xbox Game Bar menu, you can also create keyboard shortcuts to open Xbox Game Bar from your desktop, start and pause a recording, take a screenshot, turn the microphone on and off, etc. If you use an Xbox Wireless Controller with your PC you can also enable the option to open Game Bar by pressing the Xbox button on the gamepad.

When you’re done with the Xbox Game Bar settings close the menu.

  1. From your Windows desktop start the game you wish to record a YouTube video for. 
  1. Once the game is running press the Windows key + G on your keyboard at the same time. This is the default keyboard shortcut to launch Game Bar.

Several Game Bar controls will appear on your screen, among them is a Start Recording button located third from the top left corner of your screen. 

  1. Click on the Start Recording button or the keyboard shortcut Win + Alt + R to begin capturing your gameplay.
  1. Click anywhere on your screen and the Game Bar controls will disappear. They’ll be replaced by a small control bar at the top right corner of your screen, which you can use to control your recording.

The small control bar will not be recorded in the game video if you’re worried about that.

  1. Click on the Stop Recording button on the small control bar to end a recording. 
  1. When you stop a game recording a notification will appear on your screen informing you that a game video was recorded. Click on this notification, then press Play if you want to view the video in the Game Bar.

Recorded videos are saved by default as MP4 files in C:\Users\[username]\Videos\Captures. You can access your game clips from this location later and upload them to editing software or YouTube unedited.

Each video is saved with the game’s name and time and date you captured it.

If you want to change where your gaming videos are saved, head over to Settings, then select Gaming and Captures next.

From the Captures menu, you can also turn on Background recording which will allow you to record unbelievable plays after they happen, set the duration of your video clips and the frame rate of your videos

Game Bar gives you the option to record play videos at 30 or 60 frames per second.

If you’re on Xbox Game Bar you can quickly change your keyboard shortcuts and recording settings by clicking on the Settings tab at the top of your Game Bar controls. The tab has an icon that resembles a cogwheel.

If you would prefer watching a video to learn how to record PC gameplay with Xbox Game Bar here is a YouTube video.

How to record game videos for YouTube on your Mac 

Your Mac also includes an in-built recording tool that you can use to capture those awesome game moves.

How you use the in-built recording feature depends on the Mac operating system you’re using.

If you’re using macOS Mojave and higher here is the quickest way to record your game videos.

  1. Start the computer game you want to record.
  1. Press Shift + Command + 5 on your keyboard and the controls of the Mac screen recorder will appear on your screen.
  1. The controls will give you the option to Record Selected Portion or Record Entire Screen. I assume that you want to record your entire Mac screen so choose that option.

If you click on the Options tabs, you can choose where to save a game recording, use the Mac’s microphone or an external mic, include a countdown timer before a recording starts, etc.

  1. Press the Record button that is next to Options to start capturing your game.
  1. To stop recording click on the Small Stop button that appears on the Mac menu bar at the top right corner of your screen. Alternatively, press Shift + Command + 5 again, then click on the Stop button in the screen recorder menu that pop-ups.

Your recorded game video will display at the bottom right corner of your screen. Double click on it and the video will open in Quick Look where you can view and edit the video before uploading it on YouTube.

If you wish to view the game clip later, you can open it from your Mac desktop where game videos are automatically saved.

If you haven’t upgraded to macOS Mojave, or you have an old Mac that doesn’t support the operating system, you can still capture games using QuickTime Player, which is available on every Mac.

How to record game videos on a Mac using QuickTime Player

  1. From your game screen find and open QuickTime Player. To do this press Command + Space on your keyboard to launch Spotlight Search, then start typing QuickTime. 
  1. Select File, then New Screen Recording from the QuickTime Play menu bar at the top left corner of your screen. A Screen Recording Window will open.

If this is the first time you’re using QuickTime Player you’ll be asked to allow the app to capture your Mac screen in System Preferences settings. Go to the settings and tick the box that grants this permission.

  1. To start recording click on the Red Record button. A message will appear asking if you want to record the whole or part of your screen.

Click anywhere on your Mac game screen to begin capturing your entire screen.

Before you start your recording you can adjust several recording options by clicking on the White Down Arrow next to the Record button.

For example, from the Options menu, you can choose whether to use Mac’s internal microphone or an external microphone to record your game commentary.

You can also choose to include your mouse clicks in your recording. This option is off by default.

QuickTime records videos at 30 fps which looks choppy especially when recording high-paced action games.

I found a little trick you can use to increase your recordings frames per second to as much as 60 fps.

  1. To increase your frame rate:
  • Click on the Apple icon at the top left corner of your Mac’s screen.
  • From the drop-down menu choose System Preferences.
  • Click on Displays, then the Display tab.
  • Check the Scaled option box, then select Larger Text.
  • Select OK when asked to confirm if you would like to scale your screen’s resolution.

Doing the above should increase the frame rates when capturing your game videos.

  1. To stop a recording click the Stop button at the top left side of the menu bar. The recording will automatically be opened by the QuickTime player.
  1. To save your game video click on File and select Save. Give your game clip a name and choose the folder you want to save it then click on the Blue Save button at the bottom right of the window.

Fancy a video to take you through how to screen record gameplay on your Mac? 

Click on the YouTube video below for detailed instructions on how to use a Mac’s inbuilt record and other screen recording software.

When using the Windows and Mac inbuilt screen recording tools you’ll notice they don’t pack a lot of features.

For example, both don’t have a picture-in-picture feature that would allow you to insert a video of yourself in your game footage.

The recorders also don’t have the highest picture quality, are limited in how they capture audio, and can’t be used to live stream gameplay on YouTube, which you might want to do later.

That’s why I recommend using third-party screen records which give you more features.

There are lots of paid and free screen records on the markets.

Some of the best include OBS Studio, Screenflow 6, Camtasia, and Capto.

In the remaining parts of this post, I’ll show you how to use OBS as a game screen recording program.

If you use a Linux PC, I have not forgotten about you.

OBS works with Windows, macOS, and Linux.

So, I highly recommend you use this free program that has many features to capture gaming videos on your Linux PC.

How to record your Linux, Windows or Mac game screen with OBS Studio

As I have stated before, many YouTube gamers use OBS because it allows them to capture fast-paced games at up to 120 fps, record the game screen and webcam simultaneously, customize video and audio and so much more.

You too can use this screen recording and streaming tool to enrich your game videos.

Here is how to set up OBS Studio to record gameplay for YouTube on Linux, Windows, or Mac.

  1. Download OBS Studio for Linux, macOS, or Windows from obsproject.com. For this guide, I’ll use the Linux version, but the steps described are the same on Windows and macOS.

Remember OBS Studio is free to use, so you won’t be charged to use any of its features.

  1. Once the OBS Studio download is complete install the program on your computer then open it. An OBS Studio auto-configuration wizard will appear on your screen.

The wizard determines the best settings for your game video recordings or streaming based on your Linux PC hardware. Follow the wizard’s on-screen prompts to get your recording settings in place. You can always change the settings later if you wish.

  1. After the auto-configuration process, you’ll land on the OBS Studio interface which can look intimidating at first but is really easy to use.

At the bottom of the interface are the main controls you need to start a recording. The ones you should be most concerned with are Sources, Mixer, and Controls.

  1. Click on the Plus button below the Sources tab and a menu will appear with several options to add your video and audio sources. 

From the menu select:

  • Audio Input Capture if you plan to use an external microphone for gameplay commentary.
  • Audio Output Capture to include game audio in your recording.
  • Video Capture Device to include webcam video in your game footage.
  • To record your game screen you can select Display Capture, which allows you to record everything on your monitor, or Game Capture to record a specific game. I recommend you choose Game Capture because this option is optimized for gaming.

When you choose an option, a window will open where you can give your source a name. Do this then click OK and OBS Studio will give you the available options depending on the source you select.

For example, if you’re using a webcam like the WILDHD 1080P Plug & Play camera you would click on the Video Capture Device option to include the webcam’s video in your game footage. 

In the window that appears give the webcam a name, like Game Video Webcam, and click OK. Next, select the webcam from the Device dropdown menu and press OK.

Your webcam will have been added to OBS Studio. 

You have to repeat the above steps to add your audio device and screen capture.

  1. When you finish adding your sources you can use the Audio Mixer tab to balance the volume between them. Each source has a slider below it which you can use to increase or reduce its volume. You can also click on the speaker icon to mute a source.

You must get a good sound balance between the different sources because you don’t want to end up with a video where the game audio overpowers your commentary.

  1. Start the game you want to record and in the Controls tab click on the Start Recording button to start capturing your game screen.

Before you begin a recording you can go to Settings from the Controls tabs to adjust your Video, Audio, and Output settings further. You can also change your OBS Studio Hotkeys

Below your OBS screen, you can see the CPU usage and current frame rates as you record.

  1. To end a recording click on the Stop Recording button in the Controls tab.
  1. To watch a game video clip, click on File at the top left corner of the OBS screen and then select Show Recordings.

The above steps will get you started using OBS Studio to record your game videos for YouTube on Windows, Mac, and PC.

Below is another YouTube video that will show you how you can fully utilize OBS Studio’s wide range of features to create the best gaming videos possible.

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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