12 Important Video Game Software for PC Gamers

It's really not that complicated.

While we can all agree that games are the most important piece of gaming software, it might be a good idea to check out the many programs that make the gaming experience smoother, easier and more fun. If that’s something you’re willing to look into, these are some applications that might be especially useful for you.

12. Steam

Steam As Fast As Possible

Steam is one of the most popular digital distribution platforms for games, and if you haven’t already discovered it you should really check out what all the fuss is about. It’s mainly used for browsing games you’re interested in, buying them and then getting to keep them all neatly catalogued. You can link with your friends, see which games they own and their achievements, as well as in-game voice and chat. The interface is simple and easy to navigate, and all your installed games are updated automatically. It even offers cloud saving, in case you’re low on disk space. Basically, it’s most of your gaming needs covered in the form of a single, free program.

11. Battleping

Battleping Tutorial ★ How To Use With SMITE ★ Reduce Game Lag\

Another essential piece of gaming software, specifically if you’re unsatisfied with your latency, is Battleping. It’s especially helpful with games like World of Warcraft, AION, Blade and Soul, Lineage II, Guild Wars 2 and League of Legends, where a decrease in ping can make a lot of difference. How does it do that? Well, it gives you more stable or faster routing options by connecting you to their server, and then to the game you’re playing. The difference is not huge, but it’s noticeable. You can try Battleping for free by downloading the trial version or paying for the premium, which is $4.36 - that’s not a lot if it’s actually making your gameplay experience better.

10. Teamspeak

Tutorial | How to use Teamspeak 3

Unless you only plan on playing single player games, you’ll need an effective method to communicate with your friends and teammates. What really sets Teamspeak apart is great sound quality, low system/bandwidth usage and decent security standards. In a nutshell, you need to create a server, either your own or one you’ve rented, and then share your server’s address with the people you want to communicate with - like a chatroom. It’s got a lot of useful features for both beginners and more advanced players to suit your gaming style.

9. Open Broadcaster Software

How To Record Video Games with Open Broadcaster Software (OBS)

Want to share your gameplay experience with the world, or just save certain parts for future recollection? You’re going to need video recording or live streaming software, and OBS conveniently offers both. It’s probably got all the options you need, including all kinds of video and audio mixing, adding video filters like color correction, image masking and color keying. It’s easy to configure your recordings, broadcasts or switch between profiles, and with all the different configuration possibilities you can totally go pro.

8. Shadowplay

Nvidia Shadowplay Review and Comparison
Shadowplay is NVIDIA’s own video recording/streaming software, so while you can expect a high quality product, it does only work with NVIDIA graphics cards. However, what’s amazing about it is that it has virtually no impact on your game’s performance because it runs on hardware acceleration - you won’t even notice it working in the background. Another interesting feature is the Instant Replay mode. Without having to set anything up in advance, you can simply hit a hotkey to save the last 30 seconds of your gameplay, which you can also share on Facebook and YouTube. The program also has a Highlights feature, automatically recording key moments of your gameplay, which you can then share on social media if you want. Best of all, it makes broadcasting easy, even offering camera and custom graphic overlay support.

7. LogMeIn Hamachi

Logmein Hamachi Dowload, Installation, and Basic Use Guide
Hamachi is a handy VPN which simulates a local area network, so you can hook up with your friends in the cloud while being connected as a home network, which means you’ll be able to play LAN modes in your games. All you need to do after installation and account creation is create a network or join an existing network. You can also choose what kind of network you want and configure it, depending on how you want the users to be connected to each other. Give your friends the network ID and password, and you’re all set!

6. Flux

Just Get Flux: How to Better Protect Your Precious Gamer Eyes & Get to Sleep Easier at Night
What often happens when you’re gaming or generally using your PC for long periods at night is that it can strain your eyes and disturb your sleeping pattern.The reason for this is basically that your brain is wired to be active when exposed to daylight or blue light (also emitted by computer screens), so you might end up having trouble falling asleep afterwards. Flux solves this problem by adapting the color of your screen to your room lighting and time of day. All you need to do is tell it what kind of room your computer is in and where you live. While this does change how the colors on your monitor look, it’s more pleasant to look at and will protect your vision for the long term.

5. GameSave Manager

Backup and Move Game Saves GameSave Manager Tutorial
Concerned about your game save files? GameSave Manager could be your best friend. In case you need to format your system, transfer the save files to a friend or just keep for future use, GameSave Manager can make all that much easier and save you lots of time. It currently supports 4,908 games in total, which you can find on their web site, but they are constantly updating their database. Once you decide to make a backup, it will automatically list all the game save entries it could find in your system, but you can also specify where it should look. From there, just select your desired files and back them up.

4. Bandicam

How To: Use Bandicam

Bandicam makes it possible to record up to 4K HD Videos and capture up to 144 FPS Videos, no matter what you’ve got on your screen, which can be saved as AVI, MP4 or image files. It can also record only a certain area of your screen, and uses high compression with very little quality loss. What’s especially useful is the external device recording feature, supporting webcams, Xbox and Playstation, smartphones, IPTV and more. You can even add drawings to your video in real-time, add a logo or mouse effect, and has a voice recording feature too. It’s relatively lightweight and easy to use, so if you’re interested you can try the free version to see how well it fits you.

3. MSI Afterburner

How to use MSI Afterburner On Screen Display and basic overclocking for dummies
If you really want to push your graphics card to its limits, Afterburner is probably the best choice. It can give you precise and easy access to your graphics card settings and put you into complete control over the clock frequency, voltage and fan speed, while making the whole thing much less complicated than it sounds. You can also get real time info about your hardware performance, including usage, temperature, clock speed and voltage. To top that off, there’s also the in-game FPS count feature and full 64-bit support. Best of all, it’s completely free!

2. Razer Cortex: Game Booster

FPS Game Boosting Tutorial Razer Cortex Game Booster 2016
Another essential but free gaming tool, Game Booster helps optimize your PC by managing and shutting down background processes while you’re in-game. It will automatically activate any time you run a game, free up valuable resources and restore all programs and processes to their former state as soon as you exit the game. It comes with an in-game FPS counter and offers fine tuning in case you’re really paying attention to detail. Keep in mind though, this will not in any way interfere with your hardware, which makes it both easy to use and risk free.

1. Gameplay Time Tracker

Gameplay Time Tracker
It could also be a good idea to keep track of which games you play and how much/often you play them. Gameplay Tracker gives you detailed insight into various info, such as which games you played recently and how long you played them. In addition, it offers statistics for all the games you’ve played in great detail, telling you a total runs count and total gameplay duration for each game. There’s online game detection with support for all the major internet browsers and even controller usage statistics. The only drawback is that because Gameplay Time Tracker automatically activates every time you enter fullscreen mode, it can mistake regular applications for games, and you will then have to manually add an exception for that program. That’s just a few more clicks, and the software’s interface is easy to use.

If you’re not sure which of these to go with, think about what would make video games more satisfying for you - streaming, better system optimisation, connecting with friends or something else altogether. Chances are you’ll prefer this kind of gaming to just the bare bones.

You may also be interested in:

6 Best Game Recording Software in 2015

10 Ways Steam Has Changed the Gaming Industry

7 Signs You're a Hardcore PC Gamer

Gamer Since: 1994
Currently Playing: The Last of Us
Top 3 Favorite Games:Mass Effect, Star Wars: Battlefront, Fallout: New Vegas

More Top Stories