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