Anyone can broadcast their Mass Effect: Andromeda relationship mishaps on Twitch these days, but if you're looking to move into the pro-streamer lifestyle, Elgato just announced something for your Amazon wishlist. The Stream Deck launches in May but is available for pre-order now for $150. It's basically a mini studio for your streaming station and works with services like Elgato Game Capture, YouTube, OBS, Twitch, Twitter and TipeeeStream.
It has 15 LCD keys that can be used for switching scenes, managing social media, launching GIFs and adjusting audio, which sounds like potentially the most useful thing ever for broadcasters. To find out just how beneficial it might be, we spoke to influential streamers from our "21 Trailblazing Twitch Streamers to Watch" list to get their take on the tech.
"Streaming on a two-computer (dedicated gaming and streaming computers) system means using a separate mouse/keyboard for managing scene changes and other things that have to happen on the streaming computer," says Benson Lewis Fits, AKA Bennyfits – the popular blue puppet that streams games on Twitch. "Stream Deck looks like a solution to that problem for most situations since it will allow us to manage scene changes and interaction on the streaming computer with single-button key-presses."He adds that he's already placed his pre-order.
Emily Bello, one half of husband and wife streaming team Oshi7, is also excited about the device and explains why the keyboard has sent Twitchers into a tizzy. "The reason you'll see a lot of streamers so excited about the stream deck is that it's honestly one of the first pieces of hardware made with live streaming at the heart of what it does," she says. "I have been live streaming professionally for the last four years, but only now does it seem that people are recognizing live streaming as the unique form of content creation that it is. I hope this represents a growing trend of innovative products with Twitch and it's broadcasters in mind."
She also explained why the 15 LCD keys were such a big deal, and it's not just because they light up and look cool. "Those programmable buttons allow you to have a ton more key binds set for different situations and lets you easily see which key you're hitting which is great for quick scene switches," she says, and adds that it will help simplify her streaming set up.
"I run a more complicated stream with lots of different scenes to suit our layout of two webcams and two game captures, so for me it's a game changer. We use OBS to stream which means controlling the stream while it's live relies almost entirely on hotkeys. We currently use an USB number pad to change scenes, which has limited functionality and makes it very easy to mix your keys up and end up on the wrong scene, or even worse muted."