Entertainment Gaming

7 Free Must-Have Apps for PC Gamers

Megan Ellis 01-01-2019

These days, gaming is about more than simply fragging people and bragging about it afterwards. Rather, the hobby has changed into something with social, competitive, commercial, and recreational elements that mean gamers can use apps to enhance their experience.


From fun communication platforms to must-have utilities, apps for gamers are more necessary than ever. Here are some essential apps that PC gamers need in their lives. The bonus being that they’re all entirely free.

1. Discord

discord gamer chat app screenshot

Finding a user-friendly, reliable, and free voice chat program for online games used to be a difficult task. Most platforms required usernames, subscriptions, or knowledge of the technology.

But Discord changed everything when it was introduced. The free app is available through browsers, a standalone desktop app, and a mobile app.

The ability to invite people to a channel with an invite link, the user-friendly interface, and free channel hosting make Discord the go-to choice for many gamers. Discord is not only reliable, but you can also use a guest account if you don’t want to create your own.


The app continues to improve over time, introducing new features that make life easier for gamers. Discord has even launched an online game store to rival Steam’s dominance in the market. It also has various servers you can join to indulge your interest in gaming, music, movies, and so on. Here’ how to find the best Discord servers that match your interests.

Download: Discord (Free)

2. Steam

steam store page screenshot

Steam is the most popular digital gaming library program, but it goes so much further than online gaming and cloud libraries. The client is also a social hub that lets you connect with your friends, share achievements, and play together.


In-home streaming is another way the platform is incredibly useful for gamers. This feature allows you to stream your games from your main PC to another device on your home network, such as a laptop.

The recommendations queue, follow reviewer features, and new and improved Steam chat are other ways that the platform has evolved its software over the years.

Download: Steam (Free)

3. Parsec

Parsec is a free game-streaming app that lets you play local co-op games with friends online How to Play Local Co-Op Games Online Using Parsec Do you want to play a local co-op game with someone online? Then you need to know how to set up and use Parsec! Read More . The cloud gaming platform also allows users to easily host games on their computers. You can use this functionality for either in-home streaming or online multiplayer with friends and other Parsec users.


You can also use Parsec to play multiplayer games that not every person in the party has. These multiplayer sessions don’t require everyone to have the game installed on their computer. As long as the host PC has the game and the game has local multiplayer functionality, any friend using Parsec can join the session.

Download: Parsec (Free)

4. OBS Studio

obs studio recording screenshot

OBS Studio is the go-to game-recording app How to Record or Stream Your Computer Screen Using OBS Studio Want to record your screen or stream to Twitch? OBS Studio is an excellent free option. Here's everything you need to get started. Read More for many players who want to share their gameplay—and it’s easy to see why. Not only is the software available for free, it performs well and is relatively easy for beginners to figure out.


The program can record your screen, audio input, and audio output when you are playing a game. This makes it easy to record not only what’s happening in the game, but also any commentary you would like to add with a microphone or headset.

OBS Studio also has other uses, including recording your screen for other types of content such as tutorials.

Despite its simple appearance, it’s a powerful tool. You can use it for streaming, recording gameplay for YouTube, or even just capturing clips to share with friends.

Download: OBS Studio (Free)

5. Twitch

As soon as you hear the name “Twitch”, you think of live streaming. But it turns out that the Twitch desktop app has some handy features even for gamers who don’t watch streamers.

One of its most useful features is its game add-ons and overlay management through integration with CurseForge. Twitch acts as a central hub through which you can manage different mods for games such as Minecraft or World of Warcraft.

Twitch’s desktop app also has a variety of social features, such as community hosting, friends lists, and video chat. Like other apps on this list, it looks like the developers are continually finding new ways to improve the program and add new features.

Download: Twitch Desktop App (Free)

6. Razer Cortex

razer cortex game booster feature

While many gamers upgrade their hardware over the years to get the most out of their games, budgetary constraints mean that the majority of gamers don’t ever have the latest components. That’s why game-boosting software can be so useful. The right software can help push the hardware you have further when it comes to gaming.

Razer Cortex does this in a variety of ways. Its game booster feature helps free up system resources and RAM so that more memory can be dedicated to your game. Meanwhile, its system booster defragments your system to help optimize programs and processes.

These features launch automatically when you start a game. Your PC settings return to normal once you exit the game. It’s this automation that makes the program so easy and convenient to use.

Download: Razer Cortex (Free)

7. MSI Afterburner

msi afterburner program screenshot

For gamers who want more control over how to boost their computer’s performance, MSI Afterburner is an essential tool. The free software is the go-to graphics card overclocking tool for those who want to easily access their GPU settings. The only drawback being that only certain manufacturers allow users to overclock their graphics cards.

MSI Afterburner also includes scanning tools that can help boost your system. But the detailed overview and ability to adjust system settings is the program’s major draw. The software also includes hardware temperature monitoring, custom fan settings, and an overlay that allows you to keep track your system while in your game.

Download: MSI Afterburner (Free)

More Reasons to Love PC Gaming

These apps aren’t the only reason why so many gamers prefer using a PC as their main platform. In fact, there are a variety of factors that continue to motivate people to stick with their computer over switching to a console.

From the lack of worrying over backwards compatibility to the graphics potential, there’s no shortage of reasons why PC gaming is better than console gaming. Yes, we said it.

Interested in keyboards, mice, or controllers? Check out these awesome gaming accessories for all gamers The 10 Best Gaming Accessories for All Gamers There's a lot of gaming accessories out there to liven up your gaming sessions. Here are the best gaming accessories for you. Read More .

Image Credit: Vadymvdrobot/Depositphotos

Explore more about: Discord, Gaming Tips, Steam, Twitch.

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  1. Marc P.
    March 19, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    There was an article lately on esports.net about pro gamers and their tricks to optimize the gaming performance. And besides these really useful apps you listed here there was also a monitor tweaking program that increased the brightness and gamma settings in a way that players in CS:GO could see enemies better in dark corners.

    January 26, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Great list! Just going to put this out there as an FYI public service announcement: Razer products are overpriced garbage. My son and I are hard core gamers (being older, admittedly I don't game quite as much). We were Razer users and supporters for years. We're now on our 3rd (AND FINAL) set of keyboards and mice from them that we'll ever own. That's 3 sets within 5 years. Also a set of headphones.
    Razer wouldn't do anything for us regarding replacements. In fact, they didn't even answer inquiries.
    Get a a nice Corsair for yourself!