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Streamlabs OBS controversy, explained – Polygon

Streamlabs OBS, a leading company for live-streaming software, is removing the phrase “OBS” from its name after facing criticism from multiple sources, including popular streamers and other companies. Starting today, the company will be known as “Streamlabs.”

On Tuesday, the company also faced allegations that it had copied its website descriptions and design from a competitor called Lightstream. Streamlabs responded to this claim from Lightstream in a public Tweet: “Text on the landing page was placeholder text that went into production by error. This is our fault. We removed the text as soon as we found out. Our intended version is now live. Lightstream team is great and we’ve reached out directly to them to apologize.”

On Wednesday, Streamlabs issued a statement saying that it would drop the “OBS” from its name and that it takes “full responsibility” for its actions. (The statement did not make reference to the accusation from Lightstream.) Polygon has reached out to both Streamlabs and Lightstream for comment but did not hear back before publication time.

Streamlabs’ decision to drop “OBS” from its name comes on the heels of a public tweet from the original creators of the open-source software OBS. OBS’ tweet claims that Streamlabs reached out ahead of its launch to ask about including “OBS” in its software title. OBS asked Streamlabs not to do this, but Streamlabs did it anyway. “We’ve tried to sort this out in private and they have been uncooperative at every turn,” the tweet from OBS said.

For those unfamiliar, Streamlabs OBS is a free open-source software that makes streaming more user-friendly. Its software is built off of a different open-source software called OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), which came before it. A way to think about it is that Streamlabs OBS is a newer, shinier version of OBS that is easier to use. But the name wasn’t the only issue facing the company.

On Tuesday the company launched Streamlab Studio, a cloud-based software for streaming that allows content creators to share live gameplay without a capture card, PC, or third-party software. It also allows streamers to customize the look of their stream using their phones. It’s meant to give console players the chance to stream without needing all the fancy tech. It was announced as part of partnership with the streaming platform Twitch.

The main issue is that a similar software already exists. It’s called Lightstream, and just like Streamlab Studio, it offered creators a way to stream from their consoles and customize their streams through a mobile browser. If that wasn’t enough, the actual website for Streamlab Studio also looks very similar to Lightstream’s website for the software — which Lightstream pointed out on their official Twitter account.

This resulted in many people piling on Streamlabs and accusing the company of copying from Lightstream, both in terms of its software concept and in the actual website. That coupled with the fact that this new service would come as a premium service, with subscriptions starting at $4.99 per month or $49.99 annually, garnered criticisms as well.

Popular streamers Hasan “Hasanabi” Piker and Imane “Pokimane” Anys called the company out, with Piker threatening to “never use” Streamlabs again if the company didn’t resolve the matter. Anys similarly said that she would ask for them take her face off the platform if Streamlabs did not resolve these issues.


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Polygon

Polygon is an American video game website that publishes blogs, reviews, guides, videos, and news. At its October 2012 launch as Vox Media's third property, Polygon sought to distinguish itself from competitors by focusing on the stories of the people behind the games instead of the games themselves.

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