Yo! So, you’ve been gaming for a bit and you’re feeling like you’ve got more to offer than just text and voice chat on Discord? I get it, with social media being such a big thing now, sharing and collaborating on all different platforms is the norm. But have you ever thought about taking it to the next level and streaming on Twitch? Especially if you’ve got a charismatic personality that’s just waiting to burst out of those text bubbles.
Well, that’s where Twitch comes in. In just 4 short years, it’s grown from a small spin-off to a huge broadcasting platform with over 100 million viewers every month – all for gamers! With people like DrDisrespect and Shroud becoming household names and even releasing albums, it’s becoming a major spot for content creators, streamers, and businesses.
It’s not just Twitch though, it’s the whole shift of traditional celebrities being replaced by “real” personalities like Zoella and Lele Pons. It’s crazy to think about, right?
So, you’re thinking about jumping on the Twitch train. How do you do it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll talk about everything from setting up your social media to what software and hardware you’ll need (and some cool hacks to help you out along the way). Whether you’re looking to follow in the footsteps of DrDisrespect or just share some fun moments with your buddies, our guide is the perfect way to get started.
Social Media & Vlogging
Vlogging – where complete amateurs can broadcast their talents on a single platform to reach a worldwide audience of millions. Covering a wide range of niche interests and building their own unique personas, businesses have tapped into this online sensation and partnered with them to boost their own popularity and sales. But now it’s time for a new contender in the vloggersphere – live gameplay streaming.
You know how live game streaming has been taking off lately? And you know how vloggers have been getting super popular too? Well, when you put those two things together, it makes for one of the most successful money-making business ideas out there. Not only do vloggers get to increase their fan base, but live game streaming is seeing a huge increase in its audience, culture, merchandise, and sales.
Big stats for big streamers
Want to see just how big of a deal Twitch’s vlogging players are? Check out these stats:
TrumpSC (over 493,000 followers, over 67 million views)
LAGTVMaximusBlack (over 161,000 followers, over 22 million views)
KittyPlaysGames (over 434,000 followers, over 12 million views)
And as for the top games? According to Twitch, the top 3 right now are:
League of Legends
But hey, if you’re an avid gamer, you might be thinking “cool, but what about Steam?”. Well, good news for you, Valve’s Steam functionality now has the option of streaming too! With Steam being the original platform for games like League of Legends, it was missing the streaming feature, but now it’s available thanks to Steam Broadcasting going live earlier this year. It’s super simple to use, all you need is someone’s Steam ID. Head to their profile, select “Watch Game”, and boom, you’re streaming. We’ll keep an eye on Steam’s new service in the coming months and see how it does.
In the past, streaming was just a way for people to share their gameplay and talk to their fans? Well, it’s grown into so much more than that now. Streaming has become a live event where players can share their techniques, communicate with their fans, and create entertaining and informative content. YouTube was the first platform where people could watch pre-recorded footage of games, but Twitch took it to the next level by allowing live gameplay and real-time interaction with an audience.
Not only that, streaming has also introduced people to different types of games that they might not have known about otherwise. It’s helped create gaming subcultures and opened people’s eyes to niche titles. And let’s not forget the rise of vloggers, and how their unique personalities have made them the video stars they are today.
But before we get too excited about becoming the ultimate vlogger, let’s cover the technical stuff first.
With the majority of live game streaming taking place on Twitch, we’ll use this as our example. So, to begin broadcasting to Twitch, you’ll need desktop software that can record and stream from your computer, as well as a Twitch account.
What Software Should I Use?
So you’re ready to start streaming on Twitch? Awesome, first things first, make sure you’ve got OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) installed on your computer. It’s compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.
Once you’ve got OBS set up, the next step is to create your “scene” for your broadcast. This is where you choose what you want to appear in your Twitch stream. Most scenes include three main elements: the game stream itself, your webcam feed, and a watermark (we’ll talk more about the watermark later). After that’s set up, register with Twitch to create your gaming account.
Advanced streaming options
For the more advanced users out there, you can play around with encoding options. Check “Use CBR” and select “Enable CBR padding” with a max bitrate of 3300 or 80% of your upload throughput. But, if you’re not sure what bitrate is best for your resolution, check out these suggested bitrates:
1080p: 3000-3500 720p: 1800-2500 480p: 900-1200 360p: 600-800 240p: up to 500.
And as for your audio encoding, you can go with a bitrate of 64-128 for AAC, but this is all up to personal preference and bandwidth constraints.
Which Accessories Do You Recommend?
So you’re looking to upgrade your streaming setup and want some expert advice? We got you covered. We reached out to some Twitch users and asked them for their personal recommendations.
When it comes to webcams, a lot of our survey respondents said that the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 is a solid choice. Logitech is a popular brand among gamers for both webcams and microphones. The C920 is a great option because it has a flexible mounting arm and face tracking, but the real kicker is its hardware h.264 encoding. This takes a lot of the compression stress off your processor and h.264 is the only supported video format for Twitch streaming. But, if you’re looking for an option with a built-in microphone, the Microsoft LifeCam Studio for Business is a great choice because its microphone can pick up audio from anywhere in the room.
If you don’t want to use a webcam and prefer to use a microphone, the Blue Microphones Yeti is a top choice among our gamers. Blue is a high-quality brand known for making professional mics and the Yeti edition offers more versatility because it can record in stereo thanks to its multiple receivers.
If a dedicated microphone like the Yeti isn’t in your budget, the Plantronics GameCom 788 is a great headset option. It’s got great audio quality for its price.
What Pieces of Equipment Can Twitch Users Not Live Without?
So far so good – there are plenty of top brands to choose from when it comes to your accessories. But which pieces of equipment are truly vital to provide the ultimate live streaming experience?
It’s not surprising that a lot of users said that their PC is the one piece of equipment they can’t live without. For some like RodRoy1, Extremepcuk, and Scautura, a PC is absolutely essential. Scautura even said, “The rest is just trivial. The PC is the heart, without it I can’t stream.”
Capturing the moments
For others, a game capture card is the most important piece of equipment. Without it, live streaming just wouldn’t be possible. Lewlewlive and kandosii both chose a game capture card as their essential piece of equipment, while darkshadowvee prefers the Elgato capture card and belynz prefers the Avermedia capture card.
And let’s not forget about microphones. xNoizi favors the Blue Yeti while the Blue Snowball mic is used by lenedoesnotpop and petitMew, who said that the “sound quality was far better than a headset.”
Creating The Game Stream
First things first, let’s set up the main attraction, your game window. This is where your audience’s attention will be focused on. To do this, add the Game Capture feature in OBS. This will automatically open a second window with a list of all the programs that OBS can currently see running on your system. Choose the game you’ll be streaming and click OK.
Next, start up your game and add a new source to the list of sources in the OBS window. To check how your feed looks, select the Preview Stream option in the OBS window. If the game is in windowed mode, it will display within the preview area of the window, but if the game is in full screen, the preview might appear as a black screen (don’t worry, the game will stream normally once the window is maximized).
Also, keep in mind that you have the option to stream your entire desktop instead of just a single program. This is usually preferred when broadcasting a tutorial that involves multiple programs. Bear in mind that some games may not work with OBS’s Game Capture mode, but you can still stream them by broadcasting your desktop (you can do this by right-clicking within the Sources box and selecting the Add > Monitor Capture option).
Starting up your webcam feed
By adding a webcam stream alongside your gameplay, you can interact with your audience and give them a more personal experience. To activate this feature in OBS, right-click in the Sources box, then select Add > Video Capture Device. Then choose where you want it to display in your broadcast. By default, it’s in the upper-right corner of the screen, but you can move it by selecting the Edit Scene button.
A big part of streaming is the personal touch, where the audience gets to see a more up-close and personal experience with the players. But, it takes more than just a webcam to get people to watch you. It’s important to let your personality shine through on your stream, so don’t be shy!
Setting the stream
The hard part’s over – now all you need to do is visit the Twitch site and register as a new user.
So you’re ready to start streaming on Twitch using OBS and you want to know how to register and find your streamer key? No problem, let’s get started.
- Go to Twitch.tv and click on the “Sign Up” button in the top right corner.
- Fill out the registration form with your desired username, email address, and password.
- Verify your email address by clicking on the link sent to you by Twitch.
- Once you’ve verified your email, log in to your Twitch account.
- Go to your account settings by clicking on your profile picture in the top right corner and selecting “settings”
- Under the “Stream Key” tab, you will find your “Primary Stream Key” this is the key you will need to enter in OBS under the “Stream” tab in settings.
- Copy the key and paste it into the “Stream Key” field in OBS.
- Make sure to keep your stream key private and never share it with anyone.
- And that’s it! you’re now ready to start streaming on Twitch.
Note: If you ever need to reset your stream key for any reason, you can do so in the same “Stream Key” tab in your account settings.
Patience is important
So you’re ready to start streaming on Twitch and build a following? It’s important to keep in mind that building an audience on any platform takes time, effort and patience. Twitch is no different and it can be difficult to reach a sizable audience initially.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that the platform is already saturated with streamers, which means there is a lot of competition. This can make it difficult to stand out and be noticed by potential viewers.
Secondly, it takes time to build a community and develop relationships with your audience. Streaming regularly and consistently is key to building a dedicated following. But it takes patience to see the results of your hard work.
Thirdly, it takes time to improve your streaming skills, production value and content. As you stream more, you’ll learn how to improve your stream, create better content and engage your audience better.
Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone is going to like you, and not everyone is going to watch your streams. But the most important thing is to keep streaming, and keep doing it for the love of the game, the joy of interacting with the community and the fun of it. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and building a following on Twitch takes time and effort. So, be patient with the process, your community, and yourself.
Using other avenues to your advantage
So you’re looking for ways to build an audience on Twitch and want to know what other avenues can assist in growing your following? Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Use social media to promote your stream – Share your stream schedule, highlights and clips on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to reach a wider audience.
- Collaborate with other streamers – Collaborating with other streamers can help bring in new viewers and grow your audience.
- Interact with your audience – Engage with your viewers by responding to comments, answering questions and hosting giveaways.
- Create a consistent schedule – Decide on a regular streaming schedule and stick to it so your audience knows when to expect you.
- Invest in good equipment – Invest in a high-quality microphone, webcam and capture card to improve the production value of your stream.
- Stream different games – Experiment with different games to find what resonates with your audience.
- Create a brand – Develop a consistent brand and persona for your stream to make it easy for viewers to identify you.
- Participate in online communities – Join online communities like Reddit, Discord, and Facebook groups related to your niche to connect with potential viewers.
- Create a website – Have a website that serves as your hub for all things related to your stream.
- Be authentic – Be yourself and let your personality shine through on your stream.
Food for thought
Keep in mind that building an audience on Twitch takes time, effort, and patience. By following these key tasks and being consistent, engaging with your audience and promoting your stream on different platforms, you’ll be well on your way to building a dedicated following on Twitch. Additionally, it is also important to always be learning and improving, whether it’s your streaming skills, production value or content. As you stream more, you’ll learn what works best for you and your audience and can make adjustments accordingly.
Another important aspect is to keep experimenting with different games, styles and formats. This will help you find your niche and stand out from the crowd.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out to other streamers for advice, feedback and collaboration. The streaming community is generally friendly and supportive, and many experienced streamers are more than happy to share their knowledge and help others.
So, stay patient, keep streaming and experimenting, and remember that building a following takes time and effort but the rewards are worth it. Happy streaming!