Playing games all day, every day is what many consider as ‘the life.’ You probably know more than a few people who are living this so-called life. These people hole up alone in their mom’s basements and game their life away. It may seem fun, maybe. Enticing, even. But inside you, you feel that there has to be a little more ambition to life. Thank God for Twitch streaming.
So you search up the internet for the ultimate beginner’s guide to Twitch streaming and here you are ready to take on the world and change your life for the better. Read on, valiant stream squire, and may the Twitch growth gods be ever in your favor.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is the prime video game-focused live streaming service that has quite single-handedly put professional video gaming to the forefront to be globally recognized as E-sports.
Twitch has helped video games and gamers alike in a way that nothing has ever done before. Before Twitch, Video games were just a favorite topic we and our parents fought about. Since Twitch, professional video gaming has garnered the respect and vindication it sorely deserves. This absolution to video games and gamers has opened up a whole new world for anyone who loves video games by showing the world that now, via Twitch, gamers can have a valid career that pays way more than the average salary.
Why is Twitch so Popular?
Majority if not all the most popular international E-sports competitions are broadcasted on Twitch. This has hand-in-hand built up E-sports and Twitch to the internationally recognized figures they are today and has invented a new kind of entertainment that younger people thoroughly enjoy; video game live streaming.
Video game live streaming was destined to be a hit because viewers of these streams recognize and can immediately relate to the streamed games they play. Involvement and interactivity are very high as streamers and viewers can chat with each other in real-time. This gives everyone in the community a high sense of inclusion. It also helps that Twitch has a streamer for every game that people play.
Take advantage of Twitch’s relevance and popularity and make a career and life for yourself just by doing your favorite hobby. You have always been told that playing video games will get you nowhere. Maybe it’s about time you proved them wrong.
Guide to Streaming on Twitch: What Do I Need?
1. A Good Computer
Your computer should have decent speed, should not struggle with graphics quality, and be up to the task of doing all the things a streamer should do without costing an arm and a leg. Since this is the beginner’s guide to streaming on Twitch, let’s discuss what getting a good computer as a neophyte streamer entails.
If you are funding your PC or upgrading what you already have, you must strike a balance between not spending too much and having a computer that will not have any performance or compatibility issues with Twitch streaming.
Never mind that you won’t have your dream rig and fancy peripherals just yet. All those will come as your streamer popularity increases. Eventually, you will afford the best computer money can buy, or you might just get sponsored by the major computer brands and get all the latest goodies for free.
For now, you must be grounded and be smart about your spending.
CPU and GPU
Gaming alone demands more from the CPU and GPU units of a computer. Gaming while streaming will dictate that only high-performance CPU and GPU units are the only viable options and these aren’t exactly cheap. Luckily, there are several CPU and GPU options that won’t break the bank.
CPU: If you plan to use one computer for both gaming and streaming, here are 3 budget-friendly CPU’s that can handle the job:
- Core i5-10600K by Intel
- Ryzen 7 5800X by AMD
- Ryzen 5 3400 by AMD
GPU: Go for a blend of performance and affordability with these:
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 TI
- Radeon RX 570
16 GB of RAM will suffice and is enough for the multitasking loads of a streamer.
2. A Twitch Account
This will be the base of operations from where you will launch your streamer dreams. Sign up with Twitch and start streaming gameplay videos of games you are good at.
Go to Twitch.tv and click the ‘Sign Up’ button, fill up the pop-up form, verify with an e-mail code and you will be able to customize your profile as you see fit. Pro tip: pick the best recent photo with your face. Studies show that viewers favor content creators that they feel they know better. Showing your face is step 0 to this process.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
You can only stream on Twitch if you enable the 2FA. Go to your Twitch Security Settings and enable 2FA. Twitch will ask for a mobile number for you to receive a 7 digit authentication code. Verify this code and you will be asked to scan a QR code. Follow through with all the on-screen instructions until you set up and authenticate your 2FA for you to be able to broadcast on Twitch.
3. Use a Streaming Software
Streaming software is somewhat of a misleading term because what we usually call streaming software are more of software encoders than streaming software. Software encoders convert video input (what you record) into a format that can be digitally viewed by your viewers on various devices. These software encoders can usually do other conversions and not just stream. For convenience’s sake, let’s call these encoders streaming software for now.
There are several of these streaming software options available for you as a game streamer on Twitch. Finding what will suit you will depend on your needs, so it might be worth knowing what you need and what features make each software unique.
Here are some paid and free streaming software that you could use:
- OBS Studio – A free open-source software that might have a steep learning curve especially if you are just starting. But nothing is impossible to learn with the right attitude. OBS is highly customizable but lacks the helpful user support that other paid streaming software conveniently have. You can hit up Reddit, YouTube, or other vlogs for answers to your OBS Studio questions.
A feature of OBS Studios worth mentioning is that it is compatible with various operating systems; Windows, Mac, and Linux. OBS Studios can be used not just for Twitch but for other streaming sites as well.
- OWN3DPRO – You can download either the free or paid versions of this broadcasting software. The free version gives you access to 5 overlays, alerts, panels, a countdown widget, while the paid version accepts subscription for a month, 3 months, or annually and gets you the full-featured experience of OWN3DPRO with 575 great overlays, alerts, additional features, and a huge library of Twitch panels.
The donation page, OWN3DPRO Music, and Twitch chat integration features in the paid version are a huge reason why Twitch streamers choose Own3DPRO.
- Gamecaster – A gaming-centric stream software that rides on Nvidia and AMD tech to give users a lag-free stream experience. Gamecaster also features a couple of hundred free overlays that include animated ones. This streaming software also has a Scene Editor that simplifies making intricate alerts and widgets on your stream. Gamecaster has integrations with other apps and software like Spotify for music, Streamlabs, Elgato, and ReStream.
- Twitch Studio – A free Twitch streaming software in its Beta phase that features a guided setup to help beginner streamers get started with their streaming careers. It is integrated especially to match Twitch and has customizable templates to fit your taste as a streamer.
4. A Mic and a Camera
Viewers stick around and watch popular streamers not just for their elite skills and big plays but because of something else they offer like hilarious banter, singing, or rap skills. All these additional skills you might have will only be put on exhibit if you have a decent microphone that captures all you have to say.
If you don’t have the budget for a stand-alone mic, you might get away with using a gaming headset with a built-in mic during the start of your streaming career but having a great stand-alone mic that provides great audio quality for your streaming makes sure that your audience will hear what you say – an important thing for the audience to stay and keep watching your stream.
Here are some of the latest stand-alone mics that you could save up for:
- Elgato Wave 3
- HyperX Quadcast
- Audio Technica AT 2020
- Razer Siren Mini
- Blue Yeti X
A stream is not complete without showing your face. Viewers love to see their favorite gamer’s reactions and facial expressions and a good webcam is integral for this. An ordinary webcam might be fine, but an HD stream will garner more viewers and subscribers. If you are still saving up to replace your stock webcam, it is worth taking note of this list of excellent budget-friendly webcams:
- Logitech C922 Pro HD
- Logitech C270i HD
- Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
- Razer Kiyo
- Logitech Brio
5. Other Streaming Peripherals
If You have the additional budget, you can go for these accessories to add production value to your stream.
- Green Screen – If you aren’t comfortable with your room as your backdrop, you can superimpose any background you want on a green screen.
- Capture Card – Great to use when you have a separate streaming PC from your gaming PC, or you would want to use a console for streaming console games.
Going Live: How to Stream on Twitch
You’ve got everything covered; you have your PC and its peripherals, a Twitch account, and streaming software. Now what? Press “Start Stream” because it’s time to go live on Twitch!
Setting up your streaming on Twitch is as simple as following these instructions:
1. Open your streaming software and click the + or ‘Add’ button at the bottom left corner of the Scenes window. A popup will ask you to name the stream however you want it.
2. Click the + button on the Sources window and click ‘Display Capture’ on the dropdown menu, create a new one, and select a source, and press ‘OK.’
3. Add another source for your mic from the Sources window and select ‘Audio Input Capture.’ Create a new one and select the microphone you want to use and press ‘OK.’
4. Add another source for your webcam from the sources window and select ‘Video Capture Device,’ create new, and select the webcam you want to use and press ‘OK.’
5. Connect your stream software to your Twitch. Go to your stream software’s settings and select ‘Stream’ and press ‘Use Stream Key.’ Input your Twitch Stream Key in the text box.
6. To input your stream key, go to your Twitch account, click on your profile on the upper right corner, go to settings, and select ‘Channel and Videos.’
7. A text box name ‘Primary Stream Key’ will have your stream key. Press ‘Copy’ and paste it in the ‘Use Stream Key’ text box of your stream software Settings you opened earlier.
8. At the Settings window of your stream software select the ‘Output’ tab. Change your ‘Output Mode’ to ‘Simple.’ Change your ‘Encoder’ setting to ‘Software’ to stream with your CPU or change it to ‘Hardware’ to stream with your GPU.
9. Uncheck the box that says ‘Enable Advanced Encoder Settings.’
10. Press the ‘Video’ tab and make sure that the ‘Base (Canvas) Resolution’ is the size of your monitor. Change your ‘Common FPS Values’ to 60.
11. Press ‘OK’ in the Settings window, and you are now ready to Stream on Twitch! Whatever Streaming software you use, steps in starting a stream will be more or less the same with some differences in terms or positions of buttons.
Good Habits Successful Twitch Streamers Have that You too Can Do
The most successful Twitch streamers don’t get millions of hours watched just by mere luck. They have a solid regimen they follow and all their streaming is governed by a couple of principles that they religiously follow. You, too, can be as big or bigger than them if you take these habits and principles to heart and practice them like it was your profession. You are here to learn how to be a professional streamer after all.
1. Find Your Niche on Twitch
Have just one game they stream on Twitch. It is easier to be known as a streamer who is consistently and reliably streaming one game than to be the streamer whose viewers can’t tell what game they will play and stream at any given time.
2. Be Consistent
If your Twitch profile says you stream every day from 1 pm to 8 pm except Sundays, then by hook or by crook, stream every day from 1 pm to 8 pm! Missing even just one day of streaming will turn off viewers discouraging them to be subscribers. This effect is true with donors and sponsors as they won’t be too keen on supporting a streamer that can’t be reliable with their streaming schedule.
3. Be a Pro Gamer
There are no two ways about this. Become the pro gamer you always said you were going to be. Get paid to play and get paid to win! Join and win the biggest tournaments and competitions out there! All the biggest Twitch streamers were at some point pro gamers who have earned their millions of hours watched because viewers recognize them from playing in the biggest tournaments around.
Take your game seriously and get better every day if your game is a stage for competitive gaming like DoTA, CS Go, or Valorant. If you stream casual games like Minecraft or Animal Crossing, work on your personality, antics, and shenanigans, and grooming to help retain viewer interest.
4. Work on your Personality
Most neophyte streamers’ personalities flatten out and go dull when streaming games as streaming is a multitasking flurry that it is hard to keep viewer entertainment at the forefront of your concentration.
Sing, rap, or crack jokes during loading screens if you are any good at those. If you can’t, don’t fuss and find out what other entertaining qualities will suit your personality. Maybe wear wigs, costumes, or do any shenanigans that you are comfortable with. Whatever you choose to do for extra entertainment value, make sure you are comfortable doing them because this is the only way these will come across as entertaining and not weird and affected.
5. Interact with Your Viewers
Streaming and shyness can’t go together unless you want to come across as a snob. Nobody wants to follow a snob who can’t reply to their comments. So, reply, say hi, thank everyone watching however little or massive your viewership gets. Be a good and courteous human being while also being entertaining.
You have now been imbued with the basic knowledge of being the next big thing in Twitch gamer streaming! Change your life and be on your way to conquering the gaming universe!