If you’ve been in the gaming scene over the last decade, you’ve seen the meteoric rise of gaming videos. Youtube and streaming services like Twitch have turned your average Joe Schmoe gamers into celebrities, some of them making six figure salaries. Reaping the benefits of that popularity is companies like Elgato, who this summer released their HD60 Game Capture card.
We’ve got the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 each providing on-board streaming capabilities, complete with options for voiceovers and webcam streaming, so why is the Elgato still relevant?
Frankly, I’m not sure it is.
Before we get into that discussion though, let’s talk about the HD60 itself, because it really is a beautiful piece of hardware. They’ve ditched the angular design from their first Elgato card and instead have adopted a more rounded, pill-shaped design this time around. It looks more advanced just at a glance.
The port setup has changed too, with the HDMI in and the mini-USB port, used to power the device, now appearing on the same side, with the HDMI out opposite those. It was a minor inconvenience with the last model, but an inconvenience nonetheless and Elgato should be commended for making the change, as minor as it was. The issue now is that there is only HDMI ports. Gone are your S-video/composite and component options, meaning if you’re still streaming last-gen consoles without the use of HDMI, you can’t use this.
The biggest change is the introduction of 1080p video streaming and recording at 60fps. The results are noticeable for those with a keen eye or if you’re seeing the image on a screen larger than 42”, but rarely will you see a PC monitor that large. And most viewers that I know will watch Youtube videos and Twitch streams on their PCs, despite the PS4 and Xbox One’s implementation of the option on consoles.
It needs to be noted that I had to turn the 60fps option off when using Xbox One, otherwise the quality was absolute garbage. With it turned off though, it was far better.
Another update is to the Elgato software, which has also seen a major upgrade. Like the hardware itself, it’s gone from good looking to great looking. With that update comes new functions, most notable being Stream Command. Instead of having to use a third party program to livestream with your webcam, now everything is handled right within the software. You can also add your own live commentary to videos you’re recording, something that also required additional software in the last iteration.
For those who have the last generation of Elgato, you can use the new updated software as well, but it does come with some drawbacks. Using Stream Command for instance, will require that you have a PC that can handle some hefty specs. You need at least a 2nd generation Intel Core i7 processor and 4GB of RAM. It seems that you’ll need a decent PC overall with the new software, anyway. It’s certainly better and has more options, but it also requires more processing power to run, a hinderance for those who haven’t updated in a few years.
Now that you know what the new Elgato HD60 has to offer, we return to the question that we had at the beginning: Is the Elgato HD60 relevant? The answer is mixed.
If you’re looking to be livestreaming your gameplay from consoles, the $179.99 price of the Elgato HD60 isn’t worth your purchase. Everything that can be offered to you from the Elgato is available within the Xbox and Playstation consoles. If your plan is to record videos for Youtube, doing voiceovers and edits, then maybe the HD60 is what you need. The problem is that while arguments can be made for the hardware, there are arguments that can be made against it as well.
The Elgato HD60 is easy to use, it’s sleek, and if you’ve got the PC power for it, will provide you with a whole load of options that improve on Elgato’s previous hardware. If you’re looking to simply livestream, or you’re not someone who’s going to dedicate some major time to your Youtube channel, you can pass.