Elgato won over creators — its new Neo line is for everyone else

If you watch a Twitch streamer, it’s almost guaranteed that they will be using at least one Elgato product. After dominating this part of the market for years, Elgato is now shifting its primary focus away from gaming with its new Neo line while also preparing a bevy of AI features to improve new and existing gear.

Neo is a collection of Elgato’s most popular products made simpler, more affordable, and more compact so they can be used easily with a laptop or iPad. “They look more accessible, they look more friendly,” says Julian Fest, general manager of Elgato, in an interview with The Verge. “The entire industrial design is focused on being more appealing to a less technical audience.”

The $99.99 Stream Deck Neo is the star of the show, essentially the command center for Elgato’s products. It has eight LCD keys that can be paired to automate tasks like turning on lights or joining video calls. I use Stream Deck buttons to mute myself on calls, pause my notifications in Slack, and see what music is playing on Spotify. Elgato has added two capacitive buttons to let you switch pages for an infinite amount of customizable keys. There’s also an info display between these buttons that acts like a digital clock that’s always available.

The Steam Deck Neo is small enough for laptop use.
Image: Elgato

Neo is Elgato’s way of bringing its expertise in streaming to the masses — an acknowledgment that the line between creator and professional is increasingly blurred as more and more people dial into meetings remotely. But it’s also an admission that setting up webcams, lights, and microphones isn’t an easy task for most people.

“We want the out-of-box experience to be quite seamless,” says Fest. Elgato’s Neo line is designed to be plug-and-play so you can quickly and easily improve your setup without having to install multiple apps and tweak settings. Elgato is trying to appeal to people who are looking for something in between a basic webcam / microphone combination and the more high-end audio and video setup it’s typically known for.

The Wave Neo microphone and Game Capture Neo.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

The lineup includes key hardware for video calls. The $99.99 Facecam Neo webcam supports 1080p video at 60fps, includes an integrated privacy shutter, and can easily slot onto the top of a monitor or your laptop. The $89.99 Wave Neo condenser microphone has a raised desktop stand and a tap-to-mute feature and will also integrate into Elgato’s more advanced Wave Link app.

If you need better lighting at your desk or on the go, the $89.99 Key Light Neo is a diffused light that’s designed to pair with a webcam. While Elgato’s other Key Lights have typically shipped with stands, the Key Light Neo can be mounted to the top of a laptop or a monitor so it doesn’t take up any desk space. It has up to 800 lumens of brightness, and there are controls at the front to adjust the brightness and color temperature.

The $119.99 Game Capture Neo is still very much rooted in the history of Elgato products aimed at streamers and gamers. You can use it to capture video from a PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch, and it also includes pass-through support of up to 4K / 60fps with HDR enabled. Game Capture Neo supports capture at up to 1080p 60fps, so it’s ideal for Twitch or YouTube streaming. It’s designed to work out of the box with Discord, OBS Studio, and other apps for streaming to Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok.

All of these Neo devices are available to order today, with the exception of the Facecam Neo webcam. Elgato says it’s making “further fine tuning” to the out of box experience, and expects to launch Facecam Neo in May or June.

The Neo products have packaging that you can easily recycle instead of plastic.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

“It’s the start of a longer-term mission where we’re really trying to make more people aware that even if you don’t consider yourself a content creator, in many ways you are,” says Fest. Elgato is targeting people participating in online sales, video podcasts, events, product demonstrations, community building, and other areas where audio and visual content has been growing in recent years. “Neo really is a bet that this trend is going to keep accelerating,” says Fest.

With just one exception, each product in the Neo lineup costs less than $100. That’s still a lot more than a $20 microphone or webcam you could buy on Amazon, but the Neo devices are designed to be premium only at a lower price point.

“We have a history of launching products where everybody is like, ‘That’s way overpriced, and I can get this cheaper elsewhere,’” says Fest. “You’re always going to find cheaper options, but I do think we’ve built products here that, for a lot of people, are going to hit that sweet spot.”

The Key Light Neo is very compact and you can wrap the USB cord around the rear.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

The entire Neo range comes in a white finish, which is designed to blend into rooms with white walls. The compact nature of the Neo lineup also makes it easy to use these devices in smaller spaces or even on the go.

All of these Neo products also work on iPad for the first time, a clear invitation to an emerging line of creators that make TikTok and Instagram videos with just their phones or tablets. “We’re able to really accessorize an iPad now and make it a content creation powerhouse,” says Fest. The iPad is often marketed as a creative device, but “the reality of the situation is that the majority of people just use their iPads to watch Netflix and YouTube,” says Fest.

Even the Stream Deck Neo will work on an iPad, thanks to a new SDK that will allow app developers to send a profile to the device that lets it control their app. That works around the many restrictions in iOS that don’t exist on Windows or macOS, but it means it will take some time for app developers to build up this support.

The Game Capture Neo can be used on an iPad to capture gameplay.
Image: Elgato

As Elgato looks at new workflows and increased momentum away from being seen as just for gamers, it’s also looking at using AI to make its products even smarter. Fest tells me that Elgato has a new Light Strip launching next month where the 160 LEDs are individually addressable. This is Elgato’s first AI push, with a feature designed to improve how you create a colorful scene. “We built a frontend where you can put in ‘I want a dark forest,’ and on the backend, it will go to ChatGPT … which will always give us a range of RGB values that serves you three options as a user to pick from,” says Fest.

Elgato’s new Prompter hardware is also getting some AI-powered improvements. The teleprompter will soon have voice-based auto-scrolling, making it easy to read off of a script and not have to fiddle with buttons to pause the scrolling. “A few years ago, this would have been a pain in the ass to build,” says Fest, but the availability of large language models has made this a lot easier for the 140-person team working on these products.

But for all the advantages of AI, the use cases could eradicate the need for Elgato’s webcams and microphones if the future swings radically toward AI agents that handle our meetings for us. “To some people, that might be appealing, but I don’t think that’s the future I want to fight for,” says Fest. “I think AI can help us in everything we do, and it can make things easier and maybe more fun. It can help unlock creativity, and that’s where we’ll invest and try to build.”

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