Game streaming on platforms like Twitch is growing in popularity, and Elgato is going beyond just capturing your game and helping streamers look more professional with a new studio controller. The Elgato Stream Deck promises to put an end to keyboard shortcuts and juggle different windows to handle die-cut media, social media, graphic overlays, and more, with a set of customizable LCD buttons.
About the size of two decks of cards, the Stream Deck is effectively a slice of a TV studio control board, but focused on internet broadcasters. Connecting via USB 2.0, it has fifteen buttons, each of which is actually a small LCD screen. They can all be customized to perform different functions.
Those with a long memory might have a bit of déjà vu right now. If you’ve been following the peripheral space for a long time, you might remember the Art Lebedev Optimus Aux, a numeric keypad with fifteen OLED buttons rather than regular keys. However, it went for pre-order at $ 600, and it’s unclear exactly how many keyboards have been released in the wild.
In contrast, the fifteen customizable buttons in Elgato Stream Deck will only set you back $ 149.95. In fact, it can handle up to 210 different actions in a single setup because you can also organize the shortcuts in folders. Everything is handled by Elgato’s new Stream Deck app.
At launch, this will apparently support a variety of popular streaming services, including Twitch, Twitter, OBS, Tipeeestream, and Elgato’s own Game Capture. The available actions – the range of which will depend on the APIs specific to each service – can be dragged to a key and then customized. Users will also be able to change the icon that is displayed if they wish or leave it as default.
So you could have a button that automatically sends a link on Twitter to your upcoming feed, or that switches your webcam’s camera view to the current game. GIFs and animations can be triggered, lower thirds captions displayed on screen, or intros and ending sequences signaled. Stream Deck is also apparently smart enough to automatically detect scenes, media, and sources.
According to Elgato, the range of supported applications will expand over time. Indeed, there is potential for more than just streaming functionality. If you’ve looked longingly at the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook Pro, there’s nothing really stopping Elgato from making a standalone version that can offer similar custom keys for Windows or Mac apps.
The 118 x 84 x 21mm box tips the scales at 190 grams, and it’s all bus-powered rather than requiring batteries. Elgato includes a 1m USB cable and adjustable stand, and the keys themselves have adjustable backlighting. Stream Deck is compatible with Windows and macOS and will be available in May.