Elgato Game Capture 2.0 adds new streaming features

Thursday, 21 August 2014 12:00 PM Written by 

Elgato is beefing up their game streaming offerings with two new products this month. The Game Capture HD60 external capture card is the follow-up to the Game Capture HD, and the company’s video editing software called Game Capture has been given a big 2.0 upgrade. It’s all very confusing since the hardware shares the same name with the software. The Game Capture HD60 ($179.99) is capable of streaming in 1080p at 60 frames per second, and has a smaller, lighter design.

I’ll be working with the HD60 extensively over the next few weeks to eventually bring you a full review. At the start of that process, I began testing out the Game Capture 2.0 software. What was once bare-boned streaming software that had more features for editors than streamers is now a full-fledged command center for broadcasters.

The program’s layout has been redesigned for the better. Broadcasting controls are held in one tab while editing tools are kept separate. A column on the left is split into rows that house streaming controls like stream titles, mic settings for commentary and quality adjusters.

 

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The new Stream Command features are housed below the video feed. Elgato Game Capture finally has the ability to create a picture-in-picture broadcasts and custom overlays. Game Capture has a row of eight fully customizable preset scenes that can be laid over a stream. One or multiple webcams can be added to these scenes, as well as still jpeg images.

 

 

 

 

 

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I edited one scene to be used as pictured borders when streaming older games in 4:3 ratios. It’s easy to add, remove or resize images and webcam windows. Unfortunately, there’s no way to adjust the transparency of overlays if you want them slightly faded into the game stream. Hopefully, this will be added in a future update.

 

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Many of the preloaded scenes include the Elgato logo and “Elgato Game Capture” word banners, but it’s easy to remove these and put in text of your own. If you’d like to provide free advertising for Elgato in your stream, you can always keep them.

Stream status controls can be found below the scene selection. These are your buttons to start and stop the stream, toggle commentary and a display that shows details about the broadcast.

Game Capture 2.0 is compatible with both the Game Capture HD and Game Capture HD60 devices. The editing side of the software doesn’t require a lot of power, but the streaming side can push a PC rig to the limit. The Game Capture HD60 requires a second gen Intel Core i5 CPU, while Stream Command requires a second gen i7. Basically, if you want to stream at 1080p and 60 frames per second, you’re going to need an ultrafast PC and plenty of upload bandwidth. I’d stay away from this caliber of stream anyway, unless you are a Twitch partner. Many viewers won’t be able to watch the stream due to the amount of data being streamed. Just viewing these types of streams require fast download speeds.

I tested a 1080p 60 FPS broadcast with my i5 2500 processor just to be able to say I did. It crashed the Game Capture after using 100% of the CPU power (probably due to the fact that I'm running on an i5 processor). The 720p 60FPS was a much better option for both my PC and the viewers.

I then ran test streams to compare the quality of stream between OBS and Game Capture 2.0. Streaming was performed through Twitch, but the software also supports YouTube and Ustream. “Super Mario 3D World” for Wii U was tested using both software under the same quality settings of 720p 60 FPS. Both the audience and my stream viewing laptop noticed losses of frames while using OBS. Every few seconds a frame would be lost. Game Capture handled the stream flawlessly with no frame drops or buffering.

What is perhaps the icing on the cake, Game Capture 2.0 is a free download for PC and Mac users. It’s only compatible with Elgato devices, but existing owners of a Game Capture HD can try out the software free of charge. It will take some more sessions to learn all of its intricacies, but 2.0 is my new streaming software of choice.-


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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