Elgato will make streaming easy. In any case, this is the impression given to me by the new Elgato Stream Deck, unveiled this morning. It’s a control center, a block of fifteen programmable LCD keys that integrate with OBS, Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, etc., making the whole process as easy as the push of a button.
That’s the promise, anyway. Extract from the press release:
“Stream Deck offers a full set of controls as well as automatic scene, media and source detection. You can browse the list of available actions, drag an entry to one of the 15 keys, and customize it. You can use preinstalled icons or add your own graphics to further enhance Stream Deck’s usability.
As seen in the trailer below, you can easily configure buttons to start your stream, tweet about your stream, switch between scenes and more, including silly stuff like custom sound effects and more. animation triggers. Elgato says there will be over 200 programmable actions at launch.
The technology itself is nothing new. Hell, the design of the Stream Deck seems to come straight from Razer’s Switchblade interface: black rectangle, rows of LCD keys. We’ve even seen fully programmable LCD keyboards in the past.
But the Stream Deck could succeed where others failed. Why? Well, a few reasons. First of all, it is dedicated to a singular purpose, and one that is in desperate need of streamlining. Setting up a Twitch broadcast remains a weirdly archaic process at times, especially compared to one-button streaming found on consoles. The Stream Deck appears to largely automate many tasks, and the device setup uses a simple drag-and-drop interface.
Which brings us to the price. Elgato’s capture cards are so ubiquitous, not necessarily because they are the better on offer, but because they deliver a professional-grade experience at an entry-level price tag. The Stream Deck puts a professional-grade control center in everyone’s home that is more functional and flexible than more expensive equipment in many cases, and it does so for just $ 150. Not too bad at all.
We hope to have more concrete impressions of the Stream Deck once it launches in May. Razer’s Switchblade UI has never lived up to its promises, so all you need to do is do your due diligence to make sure Elgato’s Stream Deck does. But for now, are we just talking about vaporous promises and buzz marketing? This little gadget seems like a lifeline.
Hayden writes about games for PCWorld and is also Zork’s resident hobbyist.