Streamlabs vs. OBS for Streaming Games: The Gamer's Guide

Streamlabs and OBS are the best broadcasting software out there, but which is best for you and your streaming needs? Click here to find out.

Streamlabs vs. OBS for Streaming Games: The Gamer's Guide

The world of streaming is thriving right now. Incredible new creators pop up every day, the giants of the industry remain strong, and the fans are active and engaged. The gaming world has been brought closer together through years of this amazing technology.

Whether you’re a new streamer or you’ve been on the streaming grind for quite some time, you’ll need broadcasting software to do what you do. It’s important that you choose the one that fits your needs.

Today, we’re breaking down the differences between two of the most commonly used broadcasting softwares on the market. Keep reading, and you’ll find out which one fits your needs and what their different features are.

What Is OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software)?

Let’s start off with OBS Studio. This software was among the first on the market in the history of the streaming world. It’s a fantastic program with a lot of functionality on which both newbies and veteran streamers rely.

Let’s do a breakdown of the pros and cons:

Pros of OBS

1. Open Source Software

OBS Studio is a completely open-source software. This means that all of this software’s code is public domain and available for everybody to see. Therefore, any developer can create their own customizable plug-ins, effects, and more. There are tons of features that come from this, and OBS has been this way since its launch in 2012.

2. It’s Free

From WiFi at a coffee shop to samples at a grocery store, we all love free stuff. OBS is completely free to use, thanks to its decision to be an open-source platform. So, if you’re just starting and don’t have extra cash to throw at another software, OBS is a fantastic option.

3. Low Weight on CPU

If you’ve got an insanely tricked-out PC or a dual PC setup for streaming, this feature might not matter to you as much. However, it’s still good to know that OBS does not put a ton of load on your CPU. If your CPU gets overloaded, your stream will drop in quality dramatically and may even crash. Therefore, if you’re on a weaker computer or a solo PC setup, you may want to consider OBS for its low CPU usage.

4. Extremely Customizable

OBS is a pretty complicated software, but that’s what gives it its extreme functionality. With tons of open-source plugins to choose from, you can shape OBS into the software you want. You can even customize the interface that you use on OBS. This sandbox is yours to play with.

Cons of OBS

1. Not Very Intuitive

OBS is an incredibly complex software. Because it is open source and so customizable, it can be a bit difficult for newbies to get the hang of. It doesn’t have a friendly UI, and it will take some time to learn how the program works. If you’re experienced with streaming software, you’ll be fine, but if you’re new to it and are looking to get set up as quickly as possible, you might be better off with a different option.

2. Limited Base Functionality

While OBS’s possibilities are massive, many are locked behind different plugins that other creators have made. The base version of OBS can help you stream multiple scenes to your streaming platform, but if you want to add backgrounds or edit your videos after the stream is over, you’ll need to find a plugin or other software that can help you do that.

3. No Built-in Monetization Features

One big thing to know is that the base version of OBS doesn’t have a feature that lets you keep track of monetization. This means you can’t watch when your chat gives bits and cheers. Some plugins do that, but again, this just adds to the learning curve of this complex software.

4. Limited Support

Because OBS is a free, open-source software, the company lacks the resources to have a full-time support department. There is a Discord server with volunteer members that can help you troubleshoot if you’re in a crisis, but there is no way to contact an OBS team member if you’re having trouble.

What Is Streamlabs?

Streamlabs is another giant in the broadcasting software industry. They came around a bit after OBS did, and they used much of the OBS code to build their platform. However, they made a lot of changes, some for better and some for worse. Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros of Streamlabs

1. Intuitive Interface

If you were to compare OBS and Streamlabs side by side, you’d first notice that the Streamlabs interface is a bit more usable and intuitive than the OBS interface. The two are very similar, but Streamlabs has a bit more functionality. If you start clicking around, you’ll be able to understand the platform a bit more than you would with OBS.

2. Tons of Features

Streamlabs gives you immediate, built-in access to many features only available on OBS through plugins. This will be an immediate game-changer for many streamers. Streamlabs has a built-in payment feature to monitor and view donations easily and a built-in chat function so you can easily interact with followers. It also allows you to customize backgrounds for your stream.

Another really useful feature for beginners is Streamlabs’ test feature. This lets you test your stream before you go live so that you can ensure everything is working smoothly. It might save you more than once.

3. Video and Audio Quality

Streamlabs has about the same video quality as OBS. However, when it comes to audio, Streamlabs offers you a little bit more customization. You can change your audio a lot more to make sure it sounds good to your stream, which is very important.

4. Support Staff

One thing that sets Streamlabs apart is the customer support staff. You can always get help from somebody within the Streamlabs company, and if you have a paid subscription, you can unlock priority support to ensure your issues get resolved quickly. This is another great feature for new streamers.

Cons of Streamlabs

1. The Cost

A free version of Streamlabs comes with everything you need to stream successfully, including unlimited time streaming, widgets, themes and alerts, a tip page, moderation bots, free overlays, video editing tools, and more. But if you want the full power of Streamlabs, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid subscription.

For $19 a month or $149 a year, you can unlock customizations to tip pages, app add-ons, YouTube thumbnail maker, Twitch panel maker, priority support, and even streaming on multiple platforms at once. While the free version is great, some of the best features are locked behind the paywall.

2. High CPU Load

Streamlabs puts far more load on your CPU than OBS does. Because of the added functionality and the higher audio quality, it takes a little bit more power. So, if your streaming setup isn’t up to snuff, you might notice a drop in quality due to CPU overload. You might want to think of other ways to lower your CPU load if you want to use Streamlabs.

3. Less Functionality Customization

Although Streamlabs will likely have everything you need, it might limit you if you’re a streamer who wants to implement tons of unique features to your stream. OBS has many features you can access through all of the open-source plugins if you know what you’re doing.

Which One Should You Choose?

Streamlabs and OBS are pretty similar streaming software when it comes down to it. They both offer high-quality 4k video streaming, unlimited streaming hours, streaming to any major streaming platform, multiple audio sources, multiple scenes, and more.

Streamlabs is a great all-in-one solution for a streamer who wants an easy user interface and a ton of cool templates to choose from. If you’re looking to get started quickly with a small learning curve and a great result, and you’re willing to pay a little bit, Streamlabs is a great option.

However, if you want highly customizable software that lets you curate your own experience for your viewers, you’re the type of person who enjoys a little learning curve, and you enjoy free stuff, OBS is a great option.

There’s no wrong answer. Just choose the one that will best fit your needs to help you find success as a streamer.

Make Powder a Part of Your Stream Routine

For modern streamers, your actual streams are only half the battle. The rest of the grind comes with making short-form video content from those streams for social media. YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are all gold mines of untapped fans waiting to be wowed by you. However, editing videos for these platforms can be a ton of work, even if you’ve got video editing experience.

That’s where Powder comes in. Powder is an AI software that supports the videos you capture from your broadcasting software and games. Its unique AI learning allows it to automatically detect and clip any big moments in the game, from kills to victories to moments that make you rage.  

If you’re using OBS or Streamlabs, download your VOD as an mp4 file, encoded for h264, and pop it right into Powder to get started.

Powder will then give you all the individual clips it collected so you can easily find each one. Now, in seconds, you’ve got a video ready to post to your socials to help grow your audience across multiple platforms.

Check out Powder’s pricing today and see how we can take a major load off your shoulders and help you succeed as a streamer.

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