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Everything You Need to Know About How to Livestream Video Games like a Pro
Each and every day, millions of people boot up their PCs or console of choice and play their favorite video games. However, the fun doesn’t stop there, despite what Nintendo seems to think.
If you’re even a little into gaming, you’re no doubt aware of how popular livestreaming games is.
Streaming a game can offer a unique communal experience that replicates the joys of the old days where you’d sit around with your friends, hang out, and play games.
While streams are often quite casual, there’s nothing casual about the impact they’re having on the industry. Games like Five Nights At Freddy’s and Fortnite enjoyed a massive surge in popularity thanks to streamers.
But why let the big time streaming celebs like Ninja and PewDiePie have all the fun? You too can get in on the fun!
Here’s a rundown of everything you’ll need to know about how to livestream your favorite games.
Find The Right Gear
In all actuality, it takes remarkably little to stream a game. However, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you should skimp on quality.
The better your production values, the more seriously your audience will take you. Make sure you’re prepared for your big online debut by making sure you have the following.
Unless you’re streaming directly from your cell phone, which, while possible isn’t recommended at all, you’ll likely need to invest in a quality monitor.
Now, it’s worth noting that a monitor doesn’t necessarily have to be a conventional computer monitor. In some cases, your television will work every bit as well.
For PC streaming or for those who want to get a little extra production value from their streams, it’s crucial to invest in a high-quality monitor.
Ideally, you’d stream with two monitors: One monitor for gameplay and another monitor for the chat, a mirror of your stream, and any software you’re running in the background to keep your stream looking and sounding great.
Choosing the right microphone for your needs is a lot harder than choosing a monitor. Generally speaking, there are two common types of mics most streamers use.
The first is your basic headset, which comes with two major advantages.
A headset lets the streamer hear everything going on in the game, and can really help boost performance in games like Fornite or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
In addition to offering better in-game audio, most headsets have a small, unobtrusive adjustable mic so users can chat with their teammates and audience.
If you have a bit of cash to spend, though, you may want to consider investing in a good condenser microphone. Condenser mics are the audio apparatus of choice for most streamers because they offer higher-quality audio than you get with most headsets.
The only downside is that framing your video around the mic can be a little tough, even with the aid of an adjustable arm.
There’s so much more that goes into gamer streaming than most people think.
The streamer has to constantly tweak their audio levels to make sure their audience is getting the highest-quality audio, and video set-up is no walk in the park if you’ve never done it before.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for new streamers to assume they’re livestreaming when in reality they never hit record. Still, you don’t have to spend years learning live production skills to be a successful streamer (though it helps).
Make sure to set yourself up for success by investing in a few common pieces of software.
A good piece of audio mixing software is a must. Audacity is a free solution that’s a good place to start.
In terms of video software, things get a bit more complicated. Twitch offers both browser-based and desktop apps, but they don’t offer as much customization as you may need, especially if your lighting isn’t great.
Look into free platforms like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and Fraps — both of which offer Twitch integration — to get started.
And don’t forget to archive your videos so your audience can watch your content even when you’re not streaming. Check out this website if you’re recording a podcast or just want to improve audio for your archive. With this software, you can even turn a YouTube video into an MP3 file so you can put your content on Spotify and iTunes.
Now that you’ve got the setup, it’s time to talk about streaming platforms. Believe it or not, this is probably the hardest part of streaming.
With so options, how can you be sure that you’re using the right platform?
Here’s a brief rundown of the most popular gamer streaming platforms to help you choose the right platform for your streams.
Let’s start by taking a look at the elephant in the room. Twitch is by far the most popular livestreaming platform out there, generating billions of minutes of game streaming each month.
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the massively popular platform is powered by Amazon Web Services, one of the most powerful web services out there.
But perhaps the biggest advantage Twitch has is its ubiquitous presence. Make no mistake, Twitch is the big dog in the streaming yard.
Thousands of people flock to the site or use the Twitch app each day to watch their favorite streamer. With so many people already using Twitch, you’ll stand a much better chance of someone coming across your stream.
YouTube Gaming is the second largest titan in the game streaming sphere. Where Twitch has the advantage in terms of size and scope (though you’ll undoubtedly still find an audience on a massively popular site like YouTube), YouTube excels in usability.
It’s the simplest streaming solution out there. Within minutes, gamers can sign up for an account, create their page, and start streaming games.
Formerly known as Beam, Mixer is Microsoft’s game streaming platform. While it’s easy to make Bing or Zune comparisons, in all honesty, it’s a pretty good piece of software that does some innovative things its competitors don’t.
The entire platform is built on gamification, for instance. The longer an audience member watches a stream, the more points they’re rewarded.
It’s a pretty fun platform to mess around with, but you won’t hear us arguing that it’s as popular as Twitch or YouTube Gaming. And unlike the other two platforms, console gamers are limited to streaming via Mixer on an Xbox One.
With the prep work out of the way, it’s time to get down to the fun stuff — playing video games for an audience! If you’re hoping to become the next big streamer, you’ll need to take a few things into consideration, though.
Here are a few strategies to help you start thinking about your gamer streaming brand so you can attract thousands of viewers.
Admittedly, it’s pretty cheesy advice. But streaming is less about the games and more about the personalities playing the games. Therefore, it’s important to come across as genuine and likable.
It’s pretty understandable to be nervous on camera. But there is only one you, so use your personality to your advantage. The more open, relaxed, and chatty you are, the more likable you’ll come across.
At first, it may be difficult to attract a ton of attention to your channel. But you should still show up and stream, even if you’re just streaming for yourself.
Streaming audiences love consistency. If they know that you tend to stream on, say, Wednesday evenings around 7:00 PM EST, they’ll have a better idea of when they can catch your content live.
Along those same lines, don’t forget to use your social media pages to promote your streams. Give your audience at least a few hours’ heads up when you’re preparing a stream.
Incorporate Audience Feedback
The Internet isn’t known for being the most forgiving place, but some critique can actually improve your stream. No, that doesn’t mean that you should pay that troll any mind.
But it does mean that if someone says they can’t hear you very well or that your lighting setup makes it hard to see your face, they may have a point.
Listen to your audience. After all, they’re the ones who show up to watch you stream! Without them, you’re just playing games to an empty room online.
Pick The Right Games
Sometimes the game can make the stream. When selecting a game to stream, there are two things you’ll want to take into account.
Entertainment value should always take priority. Certain games are more fun to watch than they are to play, like the aforementioned Five Nights At Freddy’s or Hearthstone.
The second factor to take into account is popularity. The more popular the game, the better your chances of getting discovered.
Yes, there are a few thousand people streaming Fortnite. But when a user heads to Twitch and clicks the Fortnite tab, your channel will pop up somewhere on that list.
Final Thoughts On How To Livestream
By now you can see that we weren’t kidding earlier when we said that a lot more goes into gamer streaming than people think. But now that you know how to livestream, it’s time to get out there and give it a shot for yourself!
Remember what you learned here, and don’t forget to be yourself and have fun.
For more awesome guides, be sure to check out our archives so you can learn even more awesome skills.