Reviews: XSplit Gamecaster

XSplit GamecasterStreaming game play is a growing fascination with hundreds of thousands of people. Services such as Twitch allow gamers to show off their play in virtually any game through the use of broadcasting software. XSplit Gamecaster is one such method that makes broadcasting to Twitch and other services easy for the beginner. After changing a few settings, this software is nearly plug-and-play allowing you to stream your gameplay within moments of downloading the software.




Why Do You Need It?

In order to stream games to services such as Twitch, you need broadcasting software. There are several to choose from ranging from free to more expensive, but we’re covering XSplit Gamecaster in this post.

When you run Gamecaster, it operates in the background waiting for you to play a game. Unfortunately, not all games are supported as many older titles such as Diablo II wouldn’t run for me when I tried in December of 2014. I haven’t tried since and there have been several updates. Anyway, Gamecaster will initialize as soon as it detects a supported title. In my case, I stream a wide range of games from EverQuest to Diablo III. As far as I can tell, this software works with nearly all games with just the one exception.

Extra Features

Social Media
XSplit Gamecaster comes with a full set of promotional tools such as sharing your gameplay on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. This will let those that follow you know when you’re playing. It supports the use of hashtags and works just like any message you would send on those services.

Annotations
During gameplay, you can use the pen tool to highlight certain areas of the game – just like you would see in sports broadcasts. This lets you point out specific areas of the screen to your viewers. It might be a handy tool if you’re creating a walk-through and need to highlight specific areas of interest for the audience such as secret doors and such.

Capture Card Support
If you have a video capture card installed in your computer, XSplit Gamecaster may be able to detect it. Once it does, you can quickly stream your console games through your computer without making a lot of different alterations or manual settings.

Resolution Support
The resolution of Gamecaster ranges from 240p to full HD 1080p. However, you can only go as high as 360p while using the free account. Paid subscribers like myself have access to the full range of resolutions.

XSplit Streaming OptionsRecording
XSplit Gamecaster doesn’t just stream video to Twitch; It can also save gameplay directly to your hard drive. This will let you edit those videos prior to uploading them to sites such as YouTube. The application itself is equipped with an Express Edit feature for quick fixes. Personally, I use Windows Movie Maker to edit the videos as I am not a big-and-fancy producer yet.

Overall, How Well Did Gamecaster Work?

XSplit Gamecaster has an incredible amount of automated features that can help you create perfect streams to Twitch and other services. I was a bit skeptical at first since it was $14.95 for a three month license. However, I earned a free month by contributing my time and efforts to Extra Life. After using it for a month, I quickly turned into a fan.

What One Feature Stands Out the Most
One of the things I admire most about the developers of the software is the fact that it is regularly supported. In the past three months, they have added a great deal of functionality. In the latest update, I am now able to add sounds when someone follows or subscribes to my Twitch channel. All you need to do is add the sound file in the stream dashboard and its ready to go. Now – if they add a notification for donations, it would be perfect.

What is the Major Downfall of the Software?
On thing that disappoints me about the application is the lack of further customization. Software such as OBS and even XSPlit Broadcaster allow for graphic additions, sounds, scrolling information bars, and more. However, that’s not to say that these features won’t be included in future updates. Since I have been using the software, it’s been getting more and more feature rich.

Pros

There are many reasons why this software is ideal when streaming video for game play. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned streamer, you may find some valuable highlights when using Gamecaster.

  • Easy to use
  • Links with Facebook, Google+ and Twitter for sharing during play
  • Send video to one of seven live streaming sites
  • Automated follower and subscriber notifications and sounds
  • Free to Use option
  • No coding knowledge required
  • User friendly interface and help annotations
  • IRC chat help is friendly and knowledgeable
  • Direct recording options
  • Benchmark testing capabilities
  • Constant updates add more functionality and features regularly

Cons

Not everything is perfect, but the cons that I’ve found while using XSplit Gamecaster are actually not all that bad when you consider what you get in return when using the software.

  • Costs around $5 per month to use with full license
  • No current method of donation alert
  • Doesn’t recognize some older games
  • Lacks next-level customization

Price Comparison to Similar Software

XSplit OptionsAs I mentioned earlier, it’s $14.95 for a three month license. Apps such as OBS are free, but require far more assembly when developing the perfect stream – I know this because I have OBS installed. After playing around with both apps, XSplit Gamecaster was far easier to manage and I was up an running in minutes. For me, that is definitely worth the $5 per month. I spend more than that on frivolous things anyway.

Would I Recommend it to Friends and Family?

I just renewed my license and have been an avid user since October of 2015. If I didn’t think it was worth the effort, I wouldn’t keeping using the software. If you’re interested in streaming games on Twitch, the free-to-use option can help you get a feel for what XSplit Gamecaster has to offer. I would suggest using it for a month before you decide to commit to the license.

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Michael Brockbank

I have been playing games for more than 30 years. I wouldn’t consider myself a hard-core gamer, but I have brought the pain in my day. Now that I am rounding the horn at 40, I still enjoy everything from booting up the old Commodore 64 to exploring new titles in Steam. You’re never too old to enjoy a good plot and mind-numbing graphics.

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