OBS vs. XSplit Broadcaster: Which Is the Better Game-Streaming App

Featured image of game screening app

Many gamers enjoy doing a Live Stream on Twitch or YouTube to capture the walkthrough moments of their favorite games. Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and XSplit Broadcaster are commonly used software that share those intimate play experiences with the world. In this article we will try to determine the better game-streaming app based on a host of selection criteria.

1. Performance

Right off the bat we tested both installed apps with “Call of Zombies 2: World Domination.” OBS felt easy to record despite the heavy CPU demands of a graphic-intensive game. However, the interface did not feel very smooth, and there were a few annoying instances of frozen screens. That being said, everything stabilized within ten seconds after a restart. The system was set at 30 fps for 1280×720.

OBS was designed keeping in mind the extra functionalities that needed to be supported for a community-driven open-source project. As a result, the overall interface can feel slightly spartan. However, you can find all the tutorials on the OBS website itself. Even if you don’t read them, following the steps correctly won’t consume too much time, although it does not feel intuitive. For example, if you want to identify the game correctly, you must first “capture a specific window.”

OBS Game Screen Capture

With XSplit Broadcaster, choosing the game is more automatic. Even within the free version there were no delays or frozen screens. XSplit feels more intuitive due to less steps involved at every stage. The best part is a “drag-and-drop” function that allows you to resize windows and customize webcam videos. It is very useful for adding commentaries.

XSplit-Broadcaster-Game-Screen-Capture

In the past, one of the biggest limitations of XSplit was its inability to support 60 fps, unlike OBS. However, XSplit has slightly more options today (see screen below). You can select any frame rate you want up to 60 fps and customize it even further. This means  even when the game is moving faster than the blink of an eye, you can trust XSplit to solidly recreate your experiences.

XSplit-Broadcaster-60-FPS

Verdict: XSplit wins the performance battle hands-down over OBS thanks to greater stability, increased precision and more intuitive features.

2. Customizations

OBS has far more support for third-party plugins at its website than XSplit’s proprietary interface. This is a really useful attribute. For example, during a fight game you can use a plugin called “Display Fightstick motions” to trace the path of various strikes and blows delivered to the opponent.

OBS Plugins for Customization

Verdict: it’s no contest. Being an open source app, OBS has far greater support for extra plug-ins to give you a more customized experience.

3. Audio/Video Quality

XSplit has numerous options for local recording, including x264 and x265 video codecs, as compared to OBS. This makes it a better candidate for YouTube uploads. There is a well-thought-out feature that allows audio and video optimization for YouTube. While OBS may not have the best features to optimize audio and video, it does offer more file format options, including VLC.

XSplit Broadcaster Local Recording Settings

Verdict: XSplit wins this round because of the high-quality video/audio support.

4. Features and Price Comparison

XSplit has more extra features compared to OBS, such as direct uploading of streams to Skype, YouTube or Twitch. This makes it extremely useful for massive multi-player role-player (MMORPG) games. XSplit also allows you to edit videos on the go, though it is only available as a paid feature.

The best thing about OBS is that it is a community-driven project and remains absolutely free. XSplit allows you to make private recordings without any hassles, but the best features are only available in the Premium options which is costly on a monthly basis.

XSplit Broadcaster Advanced Features

Verdict: with OBS you have nothing to lose as long as you’re willing to learn to use it properly. However, one cannot negate the advanced features of XSplit which has a more professional finish.

Although Free always wins in a price-performance contest, this round should be considered a tie.

Conclusion

Our final verdict is that XSplit has a professional edge over OBS, as it has greatly improved in terms of features and performance. Add that to the fact that the learning curve is low, and you can use it almost immediately. If money is not an object, we have a clear overall winner – XSplit.

OBS and freeware lovers need not despair. At the end of the day, no one can tell the difference once you publish the final gamecasting video.

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12 comments

  1. Rubbish! OBS is clearly able to do both h264 and h265 as it uses ffmpeg. Something else that makes OBS stand clearly out over XSplit is the fact that OBS is multi-platform support Windows, Linux and Mac. XSplit is Windows only. The best thing about OBS, it is 100% free.

    1. Thanks. I cannot see where it shows h.265 codec support for OBS. When I go to “File->Settings” -> “Output”, the only option for encoder is Software x264.

      HEVC support would have been a really nice addition but it is not supported in OBS right now. Maybe because it crashes the display? Would really like to learn though.

      Does OBS check all criteria for quality? https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171?hl=en Most likely it does. However, XSplit optimizes for YouTube from the point of recording itself. With OBS, the option is to stream from “Settings” for YouTube, Twitch etc. That is called setting up a new output which is different from in-built optimization for a specific Live video.

      Besides, XSplit supports even 120 fps. They have an option called Audio Mix Preview which allows you to set up the stream exactly as your viewer would hear! Sorry to disagree but XSplit audio-video output are on a whole another level.

      On another note, I agree with you that should have mentioned the extra support for Mac and Linux in OBS. That is a very fair and valid point. XSplit is Windows only.

      Free always wins (did mention that) but there are users who are looking for commercial applications, to make some money on their streams. XSplit is cheaper than Wirecast.

  2. xsplit is horrible on FPS

    1. Hi I believe you might be on to something. Could you describe the issue in detail? In our tests, we found that XSplit has multiple options for FPS including 120 fps for paid version. In the past, XSplit did have limitations with FPS but in our tests, it is no longer the case.

  3. Xsplit is the best. As we all know GOOD is always costly. You have options between $5/month or a lifetime.

    1. Aaand this is the kind of thinking that allows companies like Apple, Alienware, etc. to stay in business and continue selling their overpriced products. Hint: if people were reasonable (and critical thinkers), they wouldn’t be.

      1. Do you hate people doing what they love to earn an income and employ thousands of people? In capitalism, the consumer pays a price based on demand. Should we all just quit our jobs and live in under highway overpasses so everything can be free? :/

  4. Thanks for your respective opinions. XSplit has an edge over OBS because of new feature additions – I am particularly impressed with h.265 support. I didn’t check if OBS supports that thing at the moment. Do add your bit.

    That doesn’t make OBS inferior at all. On the contrary it works absolutely fine and is suited for the job.

    But a comparison should never be about paid vs free.

  5. I used to be an avid XSplit user before OBS. Although, xsplit was very unstable. There was no better quality streaming platform and competitive drive until OBS arrived. Before I switched, I had crashed nearly every stream on XSplit in 2013-2015. I occasionally swap between the two now to see who the blatant victor is and I can explain my opinion as valid. OBS has a far superior experience over XSplit. Ironically, OBS IS ever so slightly more unstable in some situations. Thankfully, stability patches are much more frequent than XSplit users have to deal with. The customer support XSplit is typically “I have a problem” ” thanks, we’ll pass word to the developers when they’re in office.” Whilst joining OBS discord often leads to the developers working with you on solving the issue first hand and promising and update within their plans. It’s definitely a superior system they have, and I can’t help but feel XSplit has 1 developer working on XSplit. I had reported 3 bugs I had revolving around the unintuitive text sources, files not showing resources properly, and no support for the newest nvenc encoder unless you want more bugs from the ptr. You can’t run it with certain programs or games. Also, there’s absolutely no way to hide game overlays (steam overlay/origin) from XSplit. It just feels dated from the moment I log in trying to come back from obs

    OBS has all the features I need to look professional and has an identical interface to XSplit to help all the newer users, a great support team as long as you understand discord, updates very frequently to stay up to date to necessary quality and performance improvement. There’s guides all over the internet for OBS and is now the best standard for streaming in general.

    The biggest issue the date of the article was that OBS was slower because each source and scene used memory for each source which slugged down the game or sources. This is the only real reason I was often compelled to use XSplit from time to time, bit after the new nvenc encoder and learning to use collections mode on OBS there’s really nothing XSplit has aside from per source audio splitting. Which is honestly better done through an audio mixer anyways – like voice meter banana our goxlr.

    I just want to point out there’s currently plenty of real reasons to go with OBS than there currently is with XSplit.

    1. Thanks for your fantastic views. Much appreciate them. Although I have a hard time believing that XSplit has maybe “1 developer working on it” because it is bug free for the most part. But indeed OBS has far greater support for third party plug-ins and an open source community to fall back on. But as you also said that “OBS felt slower” and there are unstable issues occasionally. However, in the end, you would not find any difficulties in streaming.

      “You can’t run it with certain programs or games.”
      Which games did you have negative experience for XSplit?

      “and no support for the newest nvenc encoder unless you want more bugs from the ptr.”
      That could be a valid perception but have you used XSplit lately? It’s because they made DRASTIC improvements in last one year or so. So if you had a negative experience in the past, it might not be the same today. Also Xsplit does support latest nvenc encoders for NVIDIA, Intel, AMD.

  6. What about Streamlabs everyone. Is that not good also?

  7. The “limits” OBS has are bs. I know for a fact I’ve used h264, x264, h265, HEVC, and 144FPS. OBS has none of those frame rate limits or encoding limits you discussed. And it lets you do everything free. OBS is way more robust, but I guess you actually have to know how to use it to get the best of it.

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