The Black Friday deals were a bit so-so this year, but one thing I did get at a way cheaper price than RRP is the Elgato Stream Deck XL. I have had my eyes on this for a while now, but the almost $500 AUD price tag was a deterrent. I managed to get it for $336, a substantial discount from the $460 price it usually is.
Despite the name “Stream Deck” the Elgato Stream Deck is not just for streamers. I do believe that was their initial focus and probably a large part of their customer base are streamers, but this thing can work with your entire system.
The biggest benefit of the Elgato Stream Deck is that it can be used to hotkey your workflows. I use it with Adobe Premiere Pro to make my workflow a little less mouse heavy. I use it in Dota 2 for certain things I would have used my keyboard for. And specifically (it is in the title after all), Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.
Now, this is where the Stream Deck truly shines. Being a simulator that allows you to fly some complicated jet liners, the sheer number of keyboard shortcuts and procedures you have to remember to even take off, its exorbitant.
I wanted the Elgato Stream Deck and the XL variant to make flying a little easier. Being able to use it to raise and lower the landing gear, disengage the parking brake and other operational aspects of flying a commercial jetliner in a simulator.
If you have the non-XL variant of the Stream Deck, you can still use it. The XL just has a few more buttons in each row. While there are a few choices now for using a deck with MSFS 2020, really, the one I recommend is SPAD.neXt. Unlike other interfaces, SPAD has dynamic value support, meaning it can display values on the interface in real-time.
If needing support for real-time values is not important to you, another option is FSXFollow which seems to be more static, but just as powerful in the way of workflow support and profiles.
If paying for an addon to get Stream Deck support does not sit right with you (maybe 2020 drained your wallet and bank accounts) you can do it the old fashioned way. It’s slightly more tedious, but this video below shows you how it can be done.
You can either use a third-party plugin/software to add in support, or you can do it manually. Either way, the Elgato Stream Deck can be used to control your MSFS 2020 and it makes life so much easier for a game that is so workflow/hotkey dependent.