Video games aren’t just a lucrative industry for the companies making the games; now you can earn a good living playing them, too. Making a Twitch stream look as professional as possible is an easy way to attract viewers and sponsorships, which has typically meant investing in gear like Elgato’s Stream Deck. Razer has decided it wants a piece of that market too, and has teamed with Loupedeck for another streaming deck option with more knobs and buttons.
Go behind the scenes of any live TV broadcast, and you’ll find a room packed with monitors, mixers, and giant switch boards that look straight out of Nasa’s mission control facilities. They require a talented team of engineers to make a broadcast look seamless and professional, but streaming controllers can simplify the process for live streamers, who are usually sitting in front of a camera at a computer all by themselves while also playing a game.
These multi-button devices are typically completely customizable and reprogrammable, and they provide quick access to functions like transitioning between cameras and other video sources, applying various effects like graphic overlays, changing the lighting, and even mixing audio from games, music, and microphones. They’re essentially miniature broadcast studios, and while the Elgato Stream Deck sells for $200, the new Razer Stream Controller is a bit pricier at $270, but adds a lot of additional functionality.
Elgato’s Stream Deck features a grid of 15 buttons with tiny LCD displays, allowing their labels and imagery to be customized for easy differentiation, while the Razer Stream Controller features a larger touchscreen display broken up into 12 separate buttons and two larger control panels on either side through a plastic overlay on top. The buttons and panels can all be customized for different functions, but the touchscreen functionality adds additional controls through swipe gestures, while haptic response makes each one feel like a real button, for easier use without having to look away from a camera.
In addition to the touchscreen buttons, the Razer Stream Controller includes six dial controllers for making fine adjustments to mixes, volume, or even the intensity of lighting, as well as eight physical buttons that can be assigned other functions, including toggling between various workspaces depending on what the controller is currently being used for. Its functionality can also be expanded beyond streaming with plug-ins for apps like Adobe’s various editing tools and Spotify, turning the deck into a custom controller with shortcuts specialized for those applications.
If the Stream Controller looks oddly familiar to you, it’s because Razer partnered with Loupedeck to rebrand that company’s existing Loupedeck Live streaming controller, with the Razer version still relying on Loupedeck’s own customizability software. However, a Razer Key Light Chroma Plugin will be available for it, allowing the LED lighting on the Stream Controller to be customized in true Razer style. You can buy the Loupedeck Live right now, but for the Razer Stream Controller, you’ll have to wait until later this Fall to get it under your fingers.