When it comes to live streaming, gamers are faced with difficult decisions every day. Should you stream on PC or console? Should you play co-op or solo mode? Should you spend your ability points on health or mana?
But one of the hardest decisions to make is which Twitch streaming software to use. Do you prefer the affordability and ease-of-use of free streaming software, or the premium features of professional streaming software?
In this blog, we’ll break down the best streaming software for Twitch to help you pick which program is best for you.
Streamlabs Desktop is an all-in-one live streaming app that’s designed to help new streamers get up and running quickly. With a streamlined interface and a variety of useful features, Streamlabs is perfect for those who want a professional-looking stream with minimal setup. Stay up to date with automated alerts, keep your viewers hooked with engaging widgets and customize the look and feel of your stream with over 250 free themes.
Streamlabs Desktop is a favorite among pro gamers for its low CPU usage. Streamlabs automatically scans your internet connection speed and computer hardware and recommends the best settings for your setup, making it easy to set up and start streaming fast.
Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Open Broadcast Software, better known as OBS Studio, is a free streaming software available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Capable of high-performance real-time video and audio capturing, OBS Studio makes it easy to create scenes made up of multiple sources including window captures, images, text, webcams, capture cards and more.
Equipped with an intuitive audio mixer, OBS Studio gives you full control over your on-stream sound with versatile effects like noise reduction, EQ, compression and more. And since OBS Studio is open source, it’s highly customizable to suit any streamer’s needs.
Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Ubuntu
Cloud multistreaming is a newer option for streaming to multiple platforms. It essentially works with a software or hardware encoder, but instead of transmitting your stream directly to your multiple platforms, it transfers your stream to the cloud first. Once it’s in the cloud, it streams to your choice of platforms. The best example is Melon, a web-based streaming app that lets you go live multiple platforms in just five clicks!
Since a cloud-based platform like Melon is just streaming to one platform (their cloud platform), you don’t need as much bandwidth as you would need if you were only using a software encoder. You also don’t necessarily need to buy an expensive hardware encoder.
Using a web-based platform like Melon to stream to multiple locations in tandem with a software encoder like Streamlabs is a great way to solve any bandwidth problems you might have with your internet.
Compatibility: Any computer with a web browser
XSplit Gamecaster is one of the easiest ways to start livestreaming on your PC or console. The free version lets you livestream to Twitch and other streaming platforms in 720p, while purchasing a premium license offers unlimited streaming resolution. Gamecaster features automatic game detection and capture for PC games so you can start streaming at the push of a button. With a robust in-game overlay, advanced Twitch integration and support for popular capture cards and webcams, Gamecaster has everything you need to level up your live stream.
For truly professional productions, check out the Blue Streamer Bundle, which combines the Yeti USB microphone with six months of free premium access to XSplit Gamecaster and OvrStream broadcast production software.
Price: Free and Premium versions available with options for lifetime ($199), three-year ($4.17/mo), annual ($5/mo) and three-month ($8.32/mo) Premium licenses
Run by a team of gaming, esports and video industry veterans, Lightstream Studio offers powerful creative tools for professional live streaming. Lightstream Studio utilizes a super-simple web-based interface, so there’s no software download required.
Lightstream Studio uses cloud-based processors for compositing and encoding, which improves PC performance for a better livestreaming experience and lets you stream to Twitch, YouTube or Facebook right from your web browser.
The Gamer plan lets you stream directly from your Xbox or Playstation with overlays and alerts, while the Creator plan features expanded tools for growing streamers. Both plans offer monthly and annual options, with variable price tiers based on your desired output resolution.
Price: Gamer Plan and Creator Plan with variable pricing options
Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Playstation, Xbox One
Owned by telecommunications experts Telestream, Wirecast is one of the most sophisticated live video streaming production platforms on the market. Available in two different paid versions, Wirecast Studio and Wirecast Pro offer professional production features such as multi-source capture, integrated editing tools and variable destination outputs.
Ideal for streamers using external cameras and microphones, Wirecast lets you simultaneously stream and record live video with multiple channels of audio and screen capturing. With an intuitive and flexible UI, Wirecast makes it easy to give your broadcast the aesthetic you’ve always imagined.
Price: Wirecast Studio ($599), Wirecast Studio ($799)
Compatibility: Windows, Mac
vMix is a professional software video mixer and switcher that enables live mixing, switching, recording and streaming of SD, full HD and 4K video sources. Unlike traditional HD video mixers, which require expensive proprietary hardware, vMix lets you use your own computer.
Available in six different versions ranging from free to $1,200, vMix comes loaded with professional features. Capable of simultaneously streaming, recording and outputting multiple video and audio signals, vMix turns your streaming rig into a full-on broadcast studio. With built-in transition effects, animated graphics and even virtual backdrops, vMix is a one-stop shop for professional video productions.
Price: Basic (Free), Basic HD ($60), SD ($150), HD ($350), 4K ($700), PRO ($1200)
Twitch recently released their own streaming platform called Twitch Studio. Although it’s still currently in beta, Twitch Studios gives new users everything they need to start streaming quickly.
With helpful features like guided setup, customizable templates and integrated alerts, Twitch Studio takes the guesswork out of setting up and managing your stream. Best of all, Twitch Studio is completely free!
Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Whether you’re looking for a quick, easy and affordable livestreaming solution or a fully equipped broadcast production suite, these livestreaming software platforms have you covered.
For more information on how to stream on Twitch, including our favorite streaming equipment, the best Twitch extensions and how to make money on Twitch, check out our step by-step guide to streaming on Twitch.