OBS Studio vs Nvidia ShadowPlay

David Wilson
2023-04-20 19:42:34 • Filed to: Screen Recorder Software Reviews

OBS and ShadowPlay are two of the most popular gameplay recorders in the market. Their features make them some of the best recorders, a preferred favorite for gamers who want to record or stream their gameplay. They are both free and highly powerful, allowing users to record the screen or gameplay without tasking the computer's resources too much.

But because these tools are so similar, you may have come across a lot of OBS vs. ShadowPlay forums as fans to highlight the best one of the two. This article is meant set the record straight and finally help you figure out which one is the best one for you.

What is OBS?

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is one of the most popular programs for screen recording and streaming in the market. As an open-source program, it is completely free to use and comes with a wide range of professional features designed to capture video in very high quality or stream gameplay directly to various websites including YouTube, Twitch and TikTok.

obs recorder

The following are some of these key features;

Unlimited Recording Time

Unlike other recorders that will limit the recording time, OBS allows you to record unlimited audio and video in your computer. The only thing that might limit your recording may be the space available on your computer. With OBS, you can realistically record or stream 2 hours of video without missing a beat.

Switch Between Scenes and Transitions Easily

One of the things most users agree on is that OBS can be difficult to use, especially for the beginner. But while all other features can be confusing, switching from one scene to another and transitions can be done in a single click.

Editing Features

OBS also comes with one of the most comprehensive editing features of any screen recorder. With the built-in editor, you can very easily access and use various editing tools including color correction, chroma-key, cropping, image masking, image sharpening and so much more.

Built-in Audio Mixer

Good quality audio is a high part of any recording program whether you are live streaming or using it to record the screen. OBS comes with an audio mixer that you can use to ensure that the audio you are recording is just as high quality as the video. The mixer allows you to control the audio in real time and use features such as noise reduction to ensure the audio is just perfect.

Easy to Set-Up

Like most open-source software OBS offers a wide range of configuration possibilities, allowing users to setup the recorder in a way that is beneficial to the project they are currently working on. Despite the numerous settings and configurations, numerous updates have made OBS easier to use. But there are also numerous guides and plugins that can help you get the most out of OBS for an unforgettable recording experience.

What is ShadowPlay?

Nvidia's ShadowPlay is another very useful and fully-featured free solution for gameplay recording and live streaming. ShadowPlay allows users to record up to 30- minutes of video in 1440p resolution and 60FPS. But it worth noting that the quality of the video may depend on the streaming service that you are using.

ShadowPlay has a Broadcast Live feature that will allow users to stream gameplay live directly to sites like Twitch, Facebook Live and YouTube. It is also hardware accelerated, meaning that it will turn on automatically when your game is running. But it will only work on Nvidia-powered graphics cards.


The following are some of its key features;

Easy and Direct Sharing

One of the main benefits of using ShadowPlay is how easy it is to stream and share videos directly. You can very easily broadcast gameplay to YouTube, Facebook and Twitch directly.


ShadowPlay also comes with an additional screenshot bundle known as Ansel. It allows users to take very high-resolution screenshots that you can save or share directly. The screenshots can be configured in numerous ways and edited to look highly professional.

GIF Creator

This program also comes with a built-in GIF editor that enables users to create GIFS using the gameplay recordings or the screenshots. You can then share the GIFs directly to Facebook or Google.

Instant Replay

The instant replay feature is a feature that is unique to ShadowPlay. It allows you to easily highlight some of your killer moves using the “Alt + F10” keyboard shortcut. The highlights feature is worth mentioning here as well. It allows users to automatically record their best gaming moments and save them to the computer's hard drive. But this feature is not yet available for all games.




Supports DLive, Facebook Live, Twitch, YouTube, GameTips.TV and many more

Twitch, YouTube and Facebook


It can take a lot of CPU power

Doesn’t affect the game performance too much. Only about 5-10%

Supported OS

Windows, Linux, Mac



DirectX 10.1 compatible GPU

GeForce GTX 650 or higher



Compression options are fairly limited

File Size

All video formats

All videos are uploaded in MP4 formats

It is our hope that our review of these two free gameplay recorders has helped you make up your mind on the best solution for you. You may find Nvidia’s ShadowPlay easier to use than OBS, although OBS may offer you more options when it comes to output formats and editing features.

The All-in-One Screen Recorder & Video Editor

Record desktop screen and webcam simultaneously
Edit recorded clips quickly with a wide range of professional tools
Built-in plentiful templates and effects
Export to MP4, MOV, MKV, GIF and multiple formats
Free Download
Secure Download
Free Download
Secure Download