Genki have made a name for themselves in a few interesting ways. Building from necessity, they have some very clever little designs in their repertoire. The latest to join is the Genki Shadowcast, a new device that allows you to plug your Nintendo Switch/PS5/Xbox Series X into a Laptop or PC. At a very cheap price point, it offers enough to make it worthwhile but it doesn’t come without flaws.
How Does it Work?
The Genki Shadowcast is just a tiny adaptor you plug into the HDMI slot with a USB attached. That’s really all it is. Setting it up is easy and reliable. You plug the adaptor into the HDMI slot in your switch dock and plug the other end into your laptop. The dock has to be charging too but that’s just a limitation of the hardware, not an issue with the Shadowcast. From here, go to the site and download the Genki Arcade app and run it on your PC. It should automatically pick up the source and start showing your Switch screen.
This process is an incredibly easy one and, in the handful of weeks I have been using it, it has never failed for me. I simply plug it in, run the app, and everything boots up, ready to go. The app itself is stable when played and has options to play it on Windows and Apple devices and you can even find a browser version of it to run on Chromebooks. This is a nice bonus and one I wasn't expecting to see.
The software itself is interesting but fairly limited as of right now. The app is very basic, having two central modes for how the Switch looks and some pretty standard settings. You can switch between performance and resolution mode, having performance run much better at the cost of visuals where resolution looks great but comes with some pretty hefty input lag.
Speaking of input lag, both modes have noticeable levels of lag. The performance mode works much better at a worse-looking screen, but it’s still noticeable when playing. Resolution mode looks great on the laptop screen and really fits its size but the lag is so noticeable some games become unplayable. This wasn’t a big deal in Cozy Grove, which I’ve been playing a lot of recently, but rhythm piano game Deemo wasn’t worth playing with that level of lag. The same goes for the pretty great Bioshock port on Switch. Paired with a nice controller like the PowerA Nintendo Switch Controller and it’s an all-around enjoyable experience in performance mode, but playing it in resolution mode is a pain of missed shots and slow-motion reactions.
This being said, what the Genki Shadowcast offers is truly great for the money. The app has a standard record function and can be paired nicely with the likes of OBS and other streaming software. This means that, for a very good price, you can stream on Twitch or YouTube. You can also pair a mic and record full videos instantly. The app is limited in function and a bit clunky, but its functionality is undeniable. If you are looking for an entry into streaming or recording your own gameplay with the Switch and don’t want to commit to capture cards almost four times its cost, this would make a great addition to your hardware.
In the box, it comes with the HDMI adapter and a USB to USB-C lead, which might be a pain for those without an adapter, but you can opt for the USB to USB-A lead on the size for a little extra, something worth investing in if you have a slightly more limited set up. This being said, your setup doesn’t have to be great to run the Shadowcast. Playing on my own beefy PC or my partner's light Chromebook, there was no noticeable difference in performance, making it great for those starting out.
Genki Shadowcast Review — Verdict
The Genki Shadowcast is a surprisingly great device. Its price point is very affordable and it offers so many little features that are fun to tinker with. This being said, your experience won’t be perfect. With a noticeable but not awful latency and a fairly limited app, its flaws are worth knowing before going in. If you can stomach that, this is an easy device to recommend.
The Genki Shadowcast was provided by Genki and is available from their site now.