In the last few years, internet video game streaming has been one of the fastest-growing online trends. Sites like Twitch have seen subscriber numbers skyrocket as more and more people live stream, record, and analyze their gameplay. Some streamers regularly perform to thousands of viewers, and are able to make enough money from donations, subscriptions, and advertising revenue to leave jobs and devote themselves to streaming full-time.
How to Get Started
Make a Free Account- You will need to sign up with one of the live streaming websites. Twitch.tv is very popular for gaming content, but a number of other websites like Ustream and YouTube also provide free streaming service.
Install Broadcasting Software- To live stream from your computer, you will need some software. A number of programs are available, but XSplit and Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) are both very popular with video game streamers.
Set Up and Sync Your Software- Broadcasting software gives you nearly limitless streaming options. Make sure the video and audio stream settings are within the capabilities of your computer. Less powerful processors and graphics cards need to operate at lower quality in order to broadcast a smooth stream.
With your broadcasting software at optimum settings, you will have to sync your software with your broadcasting site. This can be done with a stream key, a special code provided by the streaming website linked to your account. Enter the stream key into your broadcasting software to link them.
Design your Stream Layout- Broadcasting software lets you design a special layout for your stream. Many streamers include live webcam video, personalized stream backgrounds and borders, text, photos, and timers. Make your layout appealing and unique, but not busy or cluttered.
Go Live- With your streaming setup in place, fire up your favorite game and go live! Games played on your computer can be streamed with window or screen capture. If your game is played on a console, you will need a high-quality capture card to input live game video and audio for streaming.
Be Unique- Give your viewers something they can’t get elsewhere. If you can play a game with an uncommonly high level of skill, show it off. If you aren’t a tournament-level player, be humorous and full of personality on camera. People have so many choices for online content, viewers will be more likely to watch and come back if you can give them a unique experience.
Stream Regularly- Video game streamers cannot build loyal viewer bases without regular and predictable streaming schedules. Most popular streamers plan and share their streaming schedule with viewers in advance.
Interact- Twitch and other streaming websites display live chat for viewers to interact with each other and the streamer in real time. Don’t ignore this powerful tool. Try to keep up with chatters and interact with them as you play. Ask the chat for their opinions and keep the conversation lively. Many streamers have their own chat communities with nicknames and long-running inside jokes. People may watch your stream just to participate in your chat.
Of course, not everyone can make a living streaming video games, but anyone with a game, a computer, and an internet connection can join this new community. With these basic tips, you will be well on your way to sharing your gameplay and your commentary live with the world.