A fair warning to those who are strongly opinionated in favor of Streamlabs OBS – I Intend to convince you to leave it behind in favor of OBS Studio, and I am most certainly biased in my opinion. Though I will say this, many streamers find success with both programs, as the technology used to transmit your content is secondary to the quality of the content itself. Still, I’ll list out all the advantages and disadvantages of each program so that you can decide for yourself in the battle of OBS Studio vs StreamLabs OBS.
Table of Contents
A Brief History of OBS Studio – Where Did It All Start?
|OBS Classic||OBS Multiplatform||OBS Studio|
It all started in 2012 with OBS Classic. This program is a far cry from the modern-day production-grade powerhouse software we know today as OBS Studio, but thanks to its simplicity, and robust feature-set for its time, it quickly became very popular. As they say, you have to learn to walk before you can run. Then, on May 21st, 2014, OBS Multiplatform was released, which would later be renamed to OBS Studio for version 0.13.1, setting in motion a series of upheavals that more or less cemented its position as the top streaming software today.
History is ever-evolving, with new additions and tweaks being made to the software on a daily basis. As these modifications build-up, a new version of OBS is released, with the most current version being 26.0.2 as of this article’s post date. The team working on the project has grown over time, and I personally can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
In the battle of OBS Studio vs Streamlabs OBS, I’m leaning more towards OBS Studio.
My Personal Preference Is OBS Studio
As hard as it is to be discovered these days, modern-day streamers have it pretty easy, technologically speaking. It has never been easier to go live on the internet, thanks to the conception and evolution of OBS. It also helps that there are substantially higher levels of documentation regarding these programs today than there has ever been in the past.
If I had to attribute one thing to OBS’s success, I’d say that it’s due to its ability to keep evolving. The program was designed under an “Open source” philosophy, allowing support for 3rd party plugins that have helped extend its functionality beyond the scope of the main development project. These plugins allow for interesting and powerful effects, such as:
- An Audio spectrograph
- Overlays for inputs
- Support for fundamentally different kinds of scene transitions
- and much more.
What Makes OBS Studio so Good?
|Workflow||OBS Studio has a powerful interface that can be completely rearranged. It’s very easy to just drag and drop each of the small windows and create a unique project workspace in a matter of seconds. It is also ready to record out of the box.|
|Low Performance Impact||Low impact on system resources to ensure high performance gameplay while live streaming|
|Support for Multiple OS’s||
|Pre-configured support for||
|Completely Free||There is no cost associated with any of the core features on OBS Studio. Only certain third-party plugins will cost you anything, and the core of OBS Studio is so feature-complete that only very few of you will ever need those plugins.|
There are new features being added to OBS Studio all the time, like the OBS Virtual Cam and the ability to undo and redo when tweaking positions of your sources.
Additionally, OBS Studio will be getting a modern facelift very soon, which has been hinted at by the OBS Studio lead developer. Depending on how it is done, it may dramatically reduce the complexity of the program, at least as far as feature intuition is concerned. UX is a tough job, so give them some time.
Reasons to Not Choose OBS Studio
The biggest reason against choosing OBS Studio is that it has evolved into something that isn’t super intuitive for a complete beginner to figure out. It’s UI design feels a little bit dated, there is an astonishing number of features, and a novice is very likely to be overwhelmed when first opening up the software. I mean, there is a reason EposVox made The OBS Master Class that turned out to be over Five Hours long. There is a lot to unpack.
That said, you don’t have to learn everything about the program to get started. There are many things about the program I myself am still learning three years later. Still, it is a very valid reason nonetheless.
But if that UI redesign that was mentioned turns out well, then this reason is negated.
SLOBS – The “Beginner-Friendly” Streaming Software
OBS Studio’s growing complexity is easily SLOBS biggest factor to consider using it. It is substantially easier to use, and conveniently places things that a streamer would find handy a few clicks away. Having Overlays and other tools built into the software itself creates a level of trust for the users who don’t have to surf the web to try and find resources they can safely use.
A Brief History of StreamLabs OBS
In January of 2018, StreamLabs released the very first iteration of their OBS Studio Fork. The design returned some level of simplicity to the program by introducing a far more intuitive design than what OBS Studio was working with. It was very quickly coined “SLOBS”, and yes, they didn’t like that it was referred to that, but the name stuck, and they eventually embraced it.
They should have seen that coming a mile away though.¯\_(ツ)_/¯
When making the program, the developers made a decision to implement a third party store into the software itself. This allowed streamers access to dozens of pre-designed and professional-looking overlay templates, among other things that took a lot of the hard work out of the process. Accessibility is very important, and this decision made the software an instant hit with many streamers who just wanted to go live and present some level of professionalism without dumping dozens or even hundreds of hours tweaking overlays.
Their success eventually caught the eye of Logitech in 2019, and StreamLabs was bought for an eye-watering value of $89 Million dollars. Fret not, the program is still in active development and Logitech’s acquisition has only encouraged further innovations; Everybody wins!
Or so I thought.
It seems to have stagnated in development in the past year, and that isn’t good. In addition, it is growing more unstable as time goes on.
Why You Might Want to Consider StreamLabs OBS
|Ease of Use||StreamLabs OBS is known far and wide for its intuitive interface and the fact that the StreamLabs suite directly integrated into the source manager All of the features of StreamLabs are made available to you directly within the application;.|
|Pre-made Layouts||There are a number of pre-defined layouts for you to quickly customize the layouts of the application.|
|Control it with your Phone||Did you know you can control StreamLabs OBS with your phone? You can! This can be useful to change scenes, among other things.|
|[Prime-Only] Multistreaming capabilities built into the program||Restreaming is easily one of the most effective ways to improve your discoverability, assuming you aren’t a Twitch Affiliate. SLOBS has this built right into the program, Accessible from The “Settings cog” located on the bottom right of the app, and in the Stream tab.|
|[Prime-Only] Built-in Third-Party App Store||Adding on to the previous point; SLOBS integrates a feature-rich Third-Party App store. These applications expand the functionality of SLOBS, allowing easy access to things that are otherwise difficult to implement in OBS Studio.|
|[Prime-Only] Professional-Grade Overlay “Themes”||If you’re a StreamLabs Prime user, there are assets within the store will get your stream going, at a level of professionalism once reserved for those of us with deep pockets or artistic expertise. All, without the hassle of actually implementing them source by source.|
Some Reasons to Avoid Using StreamLabs OBS
First up is a little pet peeve of mine; Support for certain VST Plugins is flakey at best. For example, Melda Productions Free FX bundle; Specifically the MEqualizer, doesn’t quite work with SLOBS, even though they work fine in OBS Studio You can’t choose any presets, and nothing is updating until you close the window and open it again. I suppose it is in a better state than it was; It used to just outright crash SLOBS the second I tried adding it.
There are several VST plugins that I have tried that exhibit this bizzare behavior, and some outright crash the program.
Another reason to avoid StreamLabs OBS is that it isn’t quite as open as OBS Studio. Sure, they are both open-source programs, but the fact that there are features of the program locked behind a pay-wall subscription known as StreamLabs Prime, that is a point off from them. I fully understand that work done deserves to be rewarded, but it isn’t cool, in my opinion, to profit off of the backs of another team’s labor of love, even if they say it’s okay.
StreamLabs OBS Is Windows Only at This Time
The final reason to avoid StreamLabs OBS is if you are a Mac or Linux user. Unfortunately, at this time, SLOBS is Windows only. This is pretty unfortunate considering OBS Studio has supported Linux & Mac OS since mid-2014. I’m sure the team had their reasons to omit SLOBS Linux/mac builds, but it is still saddening to see.
But…is There a Watermark on SLOBS or OBS Studio?
You’ll be relieved to hear that there isn’t a watermark on either software. This is definitely a big plus to anyone just getting started because age-old software like Fraps and other relics of the past did include a watermark.
OBS Studio vs StreamLabs OBS – The Conclusion
Ultimately, my opinion on the ethics involved in this is moot; The StreamLabs team has done an excellent job retrofitting OBS studio into something that stands on its own as one of the two best-streaming programs. I just don’t like the trend I’m seeing with its performance, feature adoption, and lack of support for my favorite VST plugins. I would steer you in the direction of OBS Studio, but the choice is ultimately yours to make.
If you’re more into the bleeding-edge of streaming technology, getting all the newest features earlier, and are willing to take the time to learn it, I recommend you check out OBS Studio.
If you’re looking for a simpler experience, one that you can just hop on easily and go live, then StreamLabs OBS is for you.