So you’re a gamer and want to start streaming on Twitch? I have decided to start a little series on my blog on how to start streaming video games. I have been both a viewer and a streamer in the last 3 years that I’ve used the platform, so I can offer helpful insights on how to manage all the craziness that can be Twitch streaming.
Before we get to the basic steps on how to start streaming, there are a few things I’d like you to keep in mind. Some of these may come as a surprise to you, some not.
Streaming video games is not easy
I know, I know. You’re thinking: Dana, what are you talking about? Playing video games is easy, therefore streaming them must be too! It gets easier the longer you do it but the amount of things you need to learn to successfully stream is quite substantial.
You need to think of the following problems:
- Do I have time to stream?
Can you set aside a few hours of your free time without neglecting your family and friends? Can you make sure your streaming schedule doesn’t negatively impact your real life? Can I make my streaming schedule consistent?
- Do I want to learn tech stuff? Do I have the patience for it?
Whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to learn some of the technical aspects of streaming. If you’re not a tech savvy person, it can be a little bit intimidating at first. Even if you have someone who can help you, there will be times when they are not available and some issues arise when you are already in the middle of a stream.
- Why do I want to stream? What do I want to achieve?
Every streamer has different purpose of their Twitch streaming. Some people want to get big and earn a lot of money fast (I wouldn’t hold my breath), some gamers want to connect with people who like the same games and make new friends. People who are already established on the internet (like big name Youtubers) want to raise awareness to specific causes (charity streams), some people are just bored and want to try something new. Whatever your goal is, always make sure that you are enjoying streaming. You don’t want it to become a chore you won’t be looking forward to each time.
- Is my internet speed good enough for streaming?
You are, after all, broadcasting your gameplay to the internet, so you need to make sure your upload speed is up to it (pun not intended), otherwise you won’t be able to stream at all or it will be poorer quality. 3 Mbps upload rate is the very minimum, I recommend higher for a more comfortable streaming (5 Mbps upload and up).
- If I’m streaming from a computer, can the machine handle it?
You don’t need to have the newest and most powerful computer in the world but it is important to check if your computer components can handle streaming. Depending on the games you are going to play, if it’s a graphics heavy game, you need a good processor and a graphic card (as well as good internet connection). Moreover, you’re more likely to use some kind of software to stream with (such as Open Broadcaster or Xsplit) and that takes additional computing power. It does not need to be all perfect and high-end, many streamers began with only a laptop for their streaming and worked their way up.
- Do I have the proper equipment for streaming? (webcam, microphone/headset, game capture card, console,…) Am I willing to invest my money in it?
Granted, you do not need a webcam to stream. But other equipment such as microphone is important if you want to communicate with your viewers. If you are starting from scratch and don’t have a computer that can handle games/streaming nor a console, the initial investment might be steep.
These are the basic questions you should ask yourself before you even begin streaming. I’ll be dedicating more posts to specific problems of Twitch streaming (or other streaming sites), so follow me on my social media (Facebook, Twitter) for updates.
Are you a Twitch viewer? Or are you a gamer contemplating whether or not to start streaming? If so, I hope these few questions were helpful and got you started on more in-depth thoughts about video game streaming. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!