The amazing PlayClaw video capture tool gives customers incredible power! PlayClaw has been designed to make full use of multi-core processors and hardware accelerated H.264 codecs, which ensures the outstanding quality of the output with a minimal impact on system performance.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (330 reviews) - 70% of the 330 user reviews for this software are positive.
Release Date: Sep 10, 2013

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Recent updates View all (35)

November 22

A new PlayClaw build with the Window capture overlay!

We've just released a new feature - Window capture overlay in PlayClaw 5 build #3670.

You can now set a window which will be captured by PlayClaw and then rendered over a game screen or/and in a video or a stream. The chroma key effect is also applicable to this overlay.

Other major changes:

  • Fixed DeadSpace 2 compatibility
  • Fixed confusing error messages for some desktop recording conditions
  • If PlayClaw terminates abnormally, then it will try to release locked DLLs to avoid problems during the next start or software update
  • Fixed rare crash after AMD H.264 encoder is stopped
  • Fixed wrong hardware AMD H.264 detection for some video devices

p.s. please note, Chroma key DLC is required to use this feature with Window capture overlay (both with Webcam overlay)

2 comments Read more

October 28

DirectX 12 support is in stable version

We're happy to release a new PlayClaw version (#3650) with DirectX 12 support and some additional changes:

  • Fixed NVidiaShare crash with running PlayClaw
  • Added software auto-update feature (only for standalone version)
  • Improved compatibility with DirectX 11/10 games

0 comments Read more

About This Software

The amazing PlayClaw video capture tool gives customers incredible power!

PlayClaw has been designed to make full use of multi-core processors and hardware accelerated H.264 codecs, which ensures the outstanding quality of the output with a minimal impact on system performance. PlayClaw will record full HD videos of your gameplay with high frame rates with your audio commentary with minimal possible performance hit!

The other nifty feature is PlayClaw’s ability to render helpful overlays over game screen. PlayClaw will show you who's speaking in games using Teamspeak 3, leading to better teamwork. Check your GPU/CPU load and temperatures right in game with PlayClaw's overlays. Overlays are fully compatible with the latest versions of Windows and graphics engines.

At A Glance:
  • Capture game video with optional recording game audio
  • H.264 encoding with hardware acceleration (Intel QuickSync, NVidia Encoder, AMD VCE encoder)
  • Streaming to YouTube, Twitch and other RTMP services
  • Special capture desktop mode in Windows 7, 8/8.1 and 10
  • Adjustable video recording frame rate and size
  • Up to 16 audio sources
  • Unique pre-recording feature
  • Output in multiple formats (AVI, MP4)
  • Capture screenshots
  • Various overlays: voice overlays for Teamspeak 3, FPS, CPU/GPU statistics, timers, etc.
  • Webcam overlay support
  • Support for 3rd party overlays via plugins system.
  • Multithreaded compression code
  • Realtime audio preprocessing engine
  • Profile-based settings
  • Compatible with PunkBuster & Valve Anti Cheat

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: 2-cores CPU with SSE support
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel/AMD/NVidia graphics card
    • DirectX: Version 8.0
    • Additional Notes: Administrator rights to run software are mandatory.
    • OS: Windows 10
    • Processor: Intel SandyBridge CPU or AMD APU A10-58xx or better
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVidia Geforce 6хх or AMD Radeon HD 77xx or better
    • DirectX: Version 8.0
    • Additional Notes: Administrator rights to run software are mandatory.
Customer reviews
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Mostly Positive (330 reviews)
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173 reviews match the filters above ( Mixed)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
57.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 10
This is one of the most easy-to-use recording software that have really good features. i just hope it will be something bigger one day
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A developer has responded on Dec 3 @ 11:57am
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
8.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 10
Workin' nice and smooth nowadays, but a fair warning to all; This software is capable of turning from good to bad, seemingly depending on the day.

Perhaps it is just my case though. Either way, the actual application is excellent, hence the thumbs up.
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A developer has responded on Dec 3 @ 11:59am
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
50.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 10
I switched to PlayClaw from Fraps.

There are a lot more options and overall the program is much more customizable. I don't remember having any bugs interrupt my recording process. The files are small and the quality is good (and again - you can customize it!).

Overall I'm happy with PlayClaw and I'm staying with them for the years to come.
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A developer has responded on Dec 3 @ 12:00pm
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
481.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 14
This is one of the best performing Video capture tools I can find. It has very little impact on performance that I can see and strikes a great balance between feature set and complexity. I've even been using it to capture 3440x1440@60 ultrawide footage with no problems at all.

It's also one of the few software that allows you to capture multiple audio streams properly. When I cap my gameplay it's very useful to be able to record game sound, my mic, and comms software seperately. DxTory can do this but it's far more complicated to use and I haven't managed to ever get a smooth capture with it.

Disclaimer: I'm only using it to capture with nVidia hardware x264 encoder but the quality is really good with relatively small files. Your milage may vary with other encoders.
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A developer has responded on Dec 3 @ 11:55am
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
121 of 160 people (76%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
131.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 17, 2013
The first few days I used Playclaw everything worked fine, I was able to record for more than an hour in 1080p without much lag or frame drops... Then things started to get messy when I tried it on various games and started playing with the settings. The software gives error messages right from the start and it doesn't work with every game, while Fraps does.

Sure, Fraps has a higher impact on performance but overall you can record anything (including the desktop) without having to worry about the result. Playclaw is far from perfect as of now, so for the price (and the fact that the Steam license will not be updated anymore after X years, as read in the official forums) I don't think this software is worth it. I'd recommend Fraps for now if you have a configuration that can handle the CPU/GPU stress. Playclaw has its pros (webcam display, separating audio files for editing,... and much more!) but it's way too unstable/unpredictable.
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110 of 144 people (76%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2013
The marketplace for screen capture tools is starting to get quite crowded, but PlayClaw stands out as it strikes a great balance between ease of use and quality. The main competitors are Bandicam, Fraps, and Dxtory. PlayClaw beats Fraps as it is much less resources intensive, and produces higher quality ouput than Bandicam in most cases. Using PlayClaw usually results in nothing more than a 1 to 5 frame rate decrease and very few dropped frames during recording. Dxtory, coupled with the Lagarith codec produces slightly better results, and is even less resource intensive, but takes a bit more effort to set it up; in contrast the PlayClaw UI is very easy to navigate.

The main features are: Record in-game footage. Record the desktop. Buffer a period of footage (from 5 to 600seconds). Take screenshots. Configure input from multiple audio sources including mic. You can also stream to Twitch, YouTube and Customer Server (not tested yet)

Recording desktop / in-game and activating recording to capture the buffered footage never show any interuption or performance hit. I have tried streaming to a 10,000prm HDD, and also 5400. As with all capture tools the faster the hard drive the better, but footage was still OK on the slower drive. Being able to define the number of CPU threads the software utilises really helps performance. Other essential options are the ability to define frame rate for capture and set the resolution (although I would recommend recording native and then scaling during editing).

One thing I really like is the ability have PlayClaw write audio tracks in seperate files. This makes it a lot more convenient if editing audio as each each source (in-game or mic) gets it's own file. So no bother with extracting audio from the video file, or having all audio streams mixed.

Taking screenshots produces a nice overlay effect - it really lets you know a shot has been taken without being intrusive. Other overlays can be configured to show frame rate, recording duration, buffer, a clock and many other features. One of the most useful overlapys shows how large your recording is.

The main area where PlayClaw could improve is around the MJPEG codec. It appears they use their own custom codec and many have found it can be a pain finding editing software to support it. (Protip - If you have problems opening the files in your editor, try installing the free version of Bandicam - this will install / update the codecs - it certainly worked for Sony Movie Studio 12 and 13). It spoils what is otherwise a very easy to use application. It would be nice if they supported advanced options that allowed the user to install their own codecs. Edit: The developer has kindly clarified the MJPEG issue. But out of all the capture software I have tested over the years, PlayClaw is the only one that caused problems like this. So I am not changing my comment, as many people have found my 'pro tip' useful.

Overall PlayClaw is a great piece of software. I am using it exclusively to capture footage. It does a great job.

Edit: May 2015 - Slight changes to incorporate questions received below
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92 of 121 people (76%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2013
I have mixed feelings on this one. tl;dr I ended up buying Fraps to get my game captures.

About me: I make a lot of fragshow/machinima movies and have about 10 years experience. This program didn't work out so well for that purpose. I also did some research on YouTube for reviews prior to my purchase, but unfortunately my mileage varied quite a bit.

I found I had to alt tab a few times to get the overlays to appear - like it wouldn't select the open game for a while. Then, even when turning all overlays off in the settings, they still appeared in my recordings.. and yes, i had turned the overlay off from the active game prior to recording!

Another problem I had was that I had to close and reopen the program a lot, and relaunch my games so PlayClaw would show up, which caused steam to go "hold the phone! we're closing or opening something" all the time [black Steam box in middle of screen.] I'd also get "failed to launch app" as PlayClaw or its "hook" which displays/hooks into games would get frozen in the background. I'd have to restart my games, steam and eventually my PC to try to get things going.

Can't blame the dev for that though, as it appears to be how Steam handles licensing. However, I can blame the dev for this: I emailed explaining my issue, and asked for a license for the non-steam version (which is feature-same, does not have new features) and was refused saying to try the new beta.

I don't want to try new betas. I want to have working software delivered through Steam if thats how I purchase it. But if one of my core issues is that I'm having problems LAUNCHING the app, I should be given a key for the non steam version as I had requested.

I can see this argument.. if you buy a game on steam, and it has issues, would you get given a normal CD key for the game AS WELL? well, no. But this is a piece of software designed to run alongside games, and maybe Steam isn't built for that.

The program also always prompts for admin rights (Win 8.1 x64) which, if you're reopening it multiple times, becomes quite the annoyance. Also each time I quit the program it would display a variable error.

Then comes the quality. I found recording the same footage in Fraps vs in PlayClaw resulted in about a 60% smaller file in PlayClaw. Maybe this is good for some people, but it wasn't good for me as I wanted to retain as much quality as possible using this type of recording method.. meaning the reds got junked up a bit due to compression.

I guess I'll close in saying that PlayClaw seems to have some cool features which I'll try to use eventually since I paid for it but it has some problems - which all software does. What wasn't cool for me was the developer refusing to let me use a non-steam version of the program I had bought a license for.

If we buy on Steam, we shouldn't have to manually install things. In my opinion If we opt to do that, we should be granted the privilege.
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63 of 91 people (69%) found this review helpful
5.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2013
as a noob youtube playthrough person i enjoy using this software. Its so CPU and RAM light even though its packed with so much.
10/10 I dare anyone not to like this. Files are saved as AVI but compressed in MJPEG (Moving Jpeg) so for my Half-Life 2 sries. 30 mins at 1080p is 10-15gb. Compress it to 720p in Sony Vegas and bang >1gb
For Assassins Creed 4 its more like 20GB but its Jpeg formatted so obviously the mpre colours used the bigger the file. Still... Its an EPIC peice of software. GET IT IF YOU PLAN ON RECORDING YOUTUBE VIDS!
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31 of 39 people (79%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 18, 2015
At first I was very happy witht his software; it captures video quite well with few dropped frames. After I tried to do anything more than capture gameplay this software gave me nothing but problems. I had issues with importing anything captured into video editing software, maintaining 60fps while capturing at 1080p, discolouration in the captured gameplay, as well as some audio/visual desynching that I have not experienced with other software. This program also (to my knowlege) lacks the ability to capture ingame and desktop within the same stream, the recording has to be stopped and the user must specify which mode they want to use.

Overall this program only perfoms well when doing siple video capture that other free software can do just as well. If you are looking for something like that i recommend OBS; otherwise try Xsplit.
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30 of 42 people (71%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
41.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 1, 2015
Has not worked since i purchased it. I waited for the developer to update it which they did about a month later which broke more things. I went to Vavle for a refund since it is broken showing my post on the forum when i purchased it as well as a link to the forums showing it's broken for everyone but they denied me twice. Thanks for taking my $40 steam and giving me nothing. I believe the dev is trying to fix things but it's been broken for so long and i've lost the use and money!

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Recently Posted
28.7 hrs
Posted: November 25
This software's way of recording and saving files usually compresses them! I paid forty dollars so I can have videos that are

A) Poor Quality
B) No sound
C) Compressed to the point, where a 15 minute video is now five seconds

And if all that wasn't bad enough, the whole application has some serious stabilazation issues.

A) Consistent crashing if settings are messed with
B) Horrible Interface while recording

Most of the time you can't tell if the video's recording, you can only guess
Hotkeys due absolutely nothing


In conclusion, don't buy this wreched abomination of a recording software, go download Nvidea Experience for free online.
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A developer has responded on Dec 3 @ 11:54am
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Fallen Reverso
6.1 hrs
Posted: October 28
Wanna drop fps with nvidia nvenc? buy this software!

worst like mirilis or what ever payed software on steam...
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A developer has responded on Dec 3 @ 12:01pm
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66.7 hrs
Posted: October 10
I've not had a problem with this ever. I've been using NVENC H.264 at 50000kbps to record various games and have seen minimal impact (usually around 5fps).
I've had issues using OBS, XSplit and other software, but, FOR ME, this program has worked splendidly.
It'd be great to see more features, like the ones OBS and XSplit have, but if you're not looking for something super fancy then this works perfectly.
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A developer has responded on Dec 3 @ 12:04pm
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1.4 hrs
Posted: September 23
Maybe it's just me I'm not sure, i've just been using this for quick recordings no more than 10-20 seconds but my problem is every time I want to stop the recording it just doesnt want to do it, then it freezes up and crashes on me. Have no idea why it just does, I haven't messed with any of the settings only the hotkeys so it makes it easier for me to record quickly when I want to. Other than that I can't say that I don't reccomend it but at the same time I can reccomend it. Only reason why I'm giving it a thumbs down at the moment is cause it's constantly freezing up on me, maybe it's the update, or like I said maybe it's just me, I know I haven't spent much time using it but, like I said earlier it always seems to freeze up on me after I do a short recording. And mind you that's with almost ever game I play so. I know 2 years back I didn't have this problem I have no idea whats up at this point.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.6 hrs
Posted: August 28
Used to be good at launch, now it just crashes way too much and thus unreliable.
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219.8 hrs
Posted: August 26
An update broke Playclaw 5 but then Ed fixed it. Thanks Ed.

Great capture quality and additional features. Plus it's on Steam!
Helpful? Yes No Funny