Would you like to join legions of players who post and comment on video games for a live audience? Here are all the hardware you will need to start streaming games from a computer, as well as many useful tips for setting it all up.
Though you've been thinking about streaming your video game live, don't know where to start? We are here to help. Livestream streaming has exploded in the last few years and everyone is looking forward to the next Ninja, Dr. While one cannot expect to be a Lupo or Shroud, it is a fun hobby that can be rewarded on its own. And if you work on it, you can find your own audience.
Whether you're just publishing the game to your friends or trying to build your own community, this guide will outline everything you need to get started and we hope it will be successful. (We still can't make you any better or smarter. It depends on you.)
First of all, What is Game Streaming?
If you're reading this, you probably understand what flow is or at least the basic idea. In case you don't know, here's a quick rundown.
In recent years, thousands of people have started live streaming their video games for millions of online viewers. Only a handful of broadcasters find huge regular audiences, many fill the middle tier with modest audiences, and an even larger number struggle to build small communities. You can do this on a PC or with one of the modern game consoles. However, the latter's being more streamlined and its plug-and-play feature has led us to focus on PC-based streaming in this guide.
You have many options for where and how to stream, and we'll explain them below. In terms of tools and services, you've probably heard of Twitch, the largest service of this genre, but you have other alternatives for streaming, although a combination of other software and hardware is required. To watch PC games, in addition to a Twitch (or other streaming service) account, you need the basics: a good gaming PC, some accessories, and certain software.
We'll say everything, but first you'll want to take a good look at what you're trying to achieve with the flow. Fun and profit? Or is it just fun? This will determine what you really need.
How to Set a Realistic Target for Your Broadcast?
We can think of a number of reasons why you might want to stream while playing video games. In essence, it's fun to do, and the appeal of an audience watching you play is enough to motivate a lot of people to try it out. You may want to do this just for fun and for yourself - and if you get consistent audiences, great! If that's what you want, you'll likely turn to the more casual suggestions in this guide.
Others want to build a community of loyal audiences, albeit small. And yet others hope to profit from streaming through ads, partnerships or audience donations (or a combination of these). In an ideal world, your flow may even be your full time job.
However, this is a difficult dream to chase and it is important to set realistic expectations. There are a lot of publishers out there and it is a difficult job to separate yourself from the rest. Don't quit your day job or school without months of proven financial stability (or a trust fund to turn back) from flow.
While everyone is competing for the audience, having a unique feature or special talent helps. You can play the games you prefer as an average publisher, but you are not likely to stand out, so the way to market yourself is very important.
Sometimes this depends on the type of game. If you are particularly skilled in first person shooting games, for example, this is a start; people tend to seek elite level gameplay for this type of game. Or maybe you are a really fun 'let's play' broadcaster or are good at building communities and chatting with your followers. Or maybe you have a lot of fun. Ideally, you are a combination of these, but the main thing is that not everyone who is successful as a publisher is extremely skilled at games. (But it helps.)
Regardless of your angle, consistency is key. The viewers should be able to see you often and if they like you they should get back to you with a somewhat regular schedule. You cannot be immediately discouraged by low audience numbers, as the odds will be against you. Yet with a little determination and the tools below, you can create a niche for yourself.
How to Choose the Right Game Streaming Computer?
The biggest obstacle to efficient streaming is having the right hardware, so this is where we start. Streaming services and software have come a long way in terms of ease of use, often for free, but it's hard to get over the fact that you'll likely need to purchase a few physical items to bring your streams to life. The biggest hurdle and element is a powerful enough computer. There are many things that make it suitable for streaming to a computer, so this requires the most in-depth explanation.
This system will probably do both functions as your gaming and streaming machine, so it needs to be fast. It is clear that if you plan to stream PC games, your computer will have to perform the minimum basic task of playing modern games. This is the most expensive item you will need for streaming, and there are many factors that need to be made into a decision.
In general, your ideal desktop for streaming can run games at high settings, if not maximum at the screen resolution you choose. You want your streams to look as good as possible and if you want to show off the latest AAA releases, flashy graphics go a long way in entertaining audiences. However, if you can't afford it, you don't need to take out a loan. Mid-range gaming gear runs games moderately well, and if that's your budget, you shouldn't have problems.
Most broadcasters play in full HD (1920 by 1080 resolution or 1080p) and I highly recommend you stick to that. Playing in 1080p on your computer will be much less tiring; this is very important as it may also have to carry the burden of processing and forcing your game streams. You also get much higher frame rates in-game than you would get at 1440p or 4K, which means smoother looks.
Note that your game resolution on the screen may differ from the resolution your stream is set to. It is very difficult to stream in Full HD or higher on both your PC and internet connection, so you will find that many broadcasters prefer 720p or 900p; even some of the biggest names. The most popular broadcasters out there can afford to invest in a PC and an internet connection capable of streaming super sharp, but don't think you're the only one who might need a little waiver.
If you are the type to publish competitive multiplayer games (games like Apex Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, or League of Legends), visual accuracy is a little less important, but performance and high frame rates are very important. You should be able to play smoothly as it will give you an advantage; this is especially important if you are promoting yourself as a skill-based publisher. Playing at 1080p and taking advantage of these high frame rates is even more important for this type of gamer.
If that's what you want, pairing your setup with a high refresh rate gaming monitor is a smart move. In fact, many competitive broadcasters (even those with powerful computers) play at low visual settings to improve frame rates, as this gives them a competitive advantage. Still, even if you play at low settings, you need a state-of-the-art computer to take advantage of a high refresh rate display.
Which Game Streaming Service is Best?
After getting past the PC requirements, let's see how to get your game to the masses? Your video card and processor can handle the stream; Just give them the platform and tools to synthesize and publish them.
We have no objection that Twitch is the big big player here, so it could be a good place to start. It is the obvious choice for most people. The biggest potential audience is there, specialized in exactly that, and its popularity means that it facilitates the startup process and functionality.
Still, Twitch has alternatives. The game is a popular category on YouTube in its own right. Facebook Gaming has less audience, but still has millions of users, and the software giant could gain popularity by forming a partnership with Microsoft after shutting down its platform Mixer in June 2020. The fact that Twitch is the most popular is a bad thing, because so many streamers compete on this service. As a beginner, you may have better luck carving out your own niche on one of the alternative platforms.
Whichever you decide, setting it up is not as complicated as you fear. As we mentioned, the popularity of game streaming has motivated all these services to get started as easily as possible. Twitch even has its own collection of remedies to help you, but you won't even need to read most of them.
Some games and even all services have a built-in streaming functionality; To go live within a game, all you have to do is press a button. This will instantly transfer your game to a linked account that viewers can connect to. However, not all games support this function. This brings us to a very important software: OBS.
Should I Use OBS for Game Streaming?
If you want to be serious about streaming, you can't rely on individual titles as the streaming engine as they don't support in-game streaming and you're out of luck if you don't have a B plan.
The solution, then, is proprietary software, and the preferred option is Open Broadcast Software, popularly known as OBS. Ideally, you should always broadcast live on OBS, even if you can stream in other ways. It mixes all your hardware (your microphone, camera, etc.) and software (the screen or application you want to broadcast, streaming settings, hardware settings) and puts them in one place. This gives you full control of your broadcast behind the scenes, allows for customization (input and output sequences or graphics, green screen effects), and provides consistency for your streams.
Learning how to use OBS can unfortunately be the most complicated aspect of streaming. If you want a friendlier option, Xsplit's Gamecaster is a little more accessible and good for most users. But don't be intimidated by OBS. First, it's free. As with any software it takes some time to get used to the interface to learn. But once you learn, you'll see how powerful a tool it is. You don't need to be an expert to get your stream online, even if the software allows for plenty of customization if you want to use it.
OBS isn't the prettiest looking program that also adds to the intimidation factor, but if you look closely, you'll see everything is clearly labeled. All your streaming peripherals come together in OBS, and you can control and customize them here. OBS has its own language you need to learn, such as "scenes", which can include intro and exit. OBS can allow you to add as much complexity as you want.
I will avoid the step-by-step description of OBS as these resources are available and this will double the length of this guide. But learning how to use the scenes and Desktop Audio options is most vital. Second, it will convert all the sounds played on your computer (especially the very important game audio) into your stream.
If you use Twitch, one thing you need to do is request and enter a stream key on Twitch's site; You cannot log into your account directly on OBS, and you must give yourself access.
How to Live Your Games Only Among Your Friends?
Finally, how about some low pressure alternatives to streaming on Twitch or YouTube for a potential crowd? You don't need to find an audience other than your friends to stream privately on both Steam and Discord. Each of them has a built-in game streaming functionality and allows you to stream the game to your friends list and server respectively.
I find Discord's streaming capability to be quality, as you can share any screen or app whenever you want and there is very little lag. All you have to do is press the share button in the lower left corner of the app, or when you have a game open, press the dedicated button that appears with the title of the game. Friends on the audio channel can easily get in your stream and you don't need OBS or anything else to play your stream.
Make Your Flows ...
Hopefully, now you feel much more comfortable with what flow requires and less afraid of what you need to get started. Every class of hardware and software you need requires making some detailed decisions, but now you have all the information you need to get the basics. If you already own a good desktop gaming PC, you're already way ahead of the curve.