Live Streaming Guide: How to stream games on Twitch
Broadcasting video games has evolved into a new profession at an impressive speed. Although it helps to be particularly talented or even an eSports professional, that kind of success is by no means a requirement for a successful streaming career. However, in addition to a quite powerful PC, a streaming program is one of the basic requirements. For that, many people choose the free Open Broadcast Software (OBS, available for Windows, MacOS and Linux) because, on the one hand it’s free and on the other hand, it is highly functional. In addition, the Open Source project is constantly being improved and in many respects, has already surpassed paid providers such as Xsplit. In this tutorial, we are going to take a closer look on how to stream on Twitch.
In this guide we would like to take a closer look at this topic. We will explain how to set up OBS as well as give you tips on how to optimize your channel and your visibility. Finally, we will discuss the topics of Earning money and Generating viewers.
How to start streaming (5 easy steps)
There are many different ways how to broadcast online. First, you have to choose if you want to use your PC, Smartphone or Console (like PS4 or XBOX One) for streaming. Then you need tools like OBS Studio, XSplit, Bebo or others to send your video signal to platforms like Twitch, Youtube, Facebook, Mixer, Smashcast or others. Whatever platforms you want to use, we have the answers for all your questions on our website. The following five easy steps will help you to start your own broadcast:
- Choose: PC, Smartphone, Console (PS4, XBOX or others).
- Download OBS Studio, XSplit, Bebo or similar Streaming-Software (like Streamlabs for Smartphones).
- Create and connect an account at Twitch, Youtube, Facebook, Mixer and/or Smashcast.
- Optimize your channel and choose what to stream.
- Press “Start Streaming” to enter the World of Broadcasters.
This sounds a lot easier than it actually is but, no worries, we’ll be with you the entire journey, from your very first stream forward.
Basic Requirements for Game Streaming
Let’s take a look at the requirements for streaming games on Twitch. You don’t need an expensive gaming PC. If you already have a high-end hardware, that’s great, but not a requirement. The most important thing is that the game you want to stream doesn’t lag and that your internet connection meets the minimum requirements for the chosen quality. Please note that the following table shows the minimum speed for the lower bitrate. Furthermore, you shouldn’t use the internet connection to full capacity with the stream. Better leave a buffer of 25-30% for the game or in-game communication. How to set the desired bitrate in OBS can be found below.
Streaming with a quality below 720p / 30fps is not recommended since it would not attract very many viewers. For more detailed information, have a look at the encoding page from twitch.tv.
Streaming Hardware On which device do you want to stream?
After making sure that your Internet speed meets the minimum requirements, you need to think about your streaming hardware. Do you want to stream on a PC or on a console? Is the performance of your computer sufficient, or can our console stream without additional hardware? These and many other questions need to be answered.
First, let’s talk about streaming on a game console: In the case of a Playstation 4 or Xbox One, the answer’s simple. For both consoles there is a version of the Twitch-App, with which you can start streaming from directly. For all other consoles, a separate PC must be connected for streaming, which then transmits image and sound of the console to Twitch. This requires a Capture Card or Capture Box. For more information check out our “How to stream on a game console” guide. The tutorials for PS4 and Xbox One can be found here:
Accessories for streamers Useful purchases for an amazing stream
If you want to stream PC games, you need special hardware. This not only includes a modern gaming PC, but also a gaming headset, a webcam, a good microphone, a green screen, a gaming mouse and keyboard, as well as a gaming monitor. However, if you are just starting out, an ordinary computer will work great and everything else can be bought over time. This may also include a separate streaming PC with capture hardware. For all of these topics you will find a lot of information in the shopping guides right here on own3d.tv.
Creating a Twitch Account The first step to streaming Twitch
A Twitch channel can be created very quickly. On twitch.tv just click on “Register” in the upper right corner and fill out the form. You can also sign up directly with Facebook, and that will even save you some time. Afterwards, click on the confirmation link in the email and you will be part of Twitch. So, what happens next? We’ll deal with that down below.
Setting up a channel Panels, channel description, logo, etc.
Of course, just creating an account on twitch.tv isn’t enough. There are many options and things to configure to make your channel more beautiful and professional. We’ll discuss these in more detail down below.
Panels & Channel Description
On Twitch, ”Panels” are the boxes that appear below your live stream. They provide information that you want your viewers to know about you like your social media links, what kind of gear you use, your schedule and so much more. To edit the panels, select your avatar on Twitch in the top right corner of the screen and click on “Channel” in the menu that opens. Then activate the “Edit panels” box to switch to the Edit mode.
With a click on the big “+” you can now add your first panel! You have the choice between a simple picture / text panel and an extension panel. The picture/text panel serves, as the name suggests, as a place to put some text and/or an image.. For example, your channel description or an info box with your streaming times. With an extension panel, you can access and integrate a variety of extensions and apps. In this way you can automatically display information, create surveys or integrate affiliate links to products on Amazon. You can find a lot of banners and pictures for panels here in our shop.
With a click on your avatar or user name in the upper right corner you will find the menu item “Settings”. Here you will find the “Profile Picture” section, which is the perfect place for your personal logo. It can be easily created with our partner Gaming Logo Maker:
If you don’t want to use a logo, you can of course also use something else as a profile picture. It is very important to change the standard picture as soon as possible, because your profile picture will differentiate you from others streamers who are streaming the same game and it will show your personality!
An offline banner on Twitch does a couple things. On one hand, it shows that you are currently offline. More importantly, your offline banner can make your channel more attractive, even if you are offline. Furthermore, your stream times or other information about you or your channel can be displayed there. A professional offline banner may even encourage a user to come back later! For all overlay templates in our shop there is an offline banner that matches it’s theme. Check out the Package Options Basic or Monster for more information.
FINDING/RESETTING YOUR STREAM KEY
To find your Stream Key on Twitch, click on your avatar or username and select “Dashboard” from the menu. In the left column under “Settings” you can now find your Stream key at the top. Under no circumstances, pass it on or show it in your stream. However, if it should happen to you, you can generate a new Stream Key at the same section by clicking on “Reset Key”.
In addition to the above-mentioned offline banner, Twitch offers the possibility to set up automatic hosting. This is the “forwarding” of content from another live stream to your own channel while you are offline. This way, your fans can watch similar streamers while they are waiting for you. This feature is also very good to support other streamers.
You can find the configuration for automatic hosting by clicking on your username / avatar and navigating to “Settings” -> “Channel and Videos”. There you can choose whether you want to host only selected streams or let Twitch automatically add similar streams. It is also possible to make a prioritization here, e. g. to play selected streams in front of similar channels. In any case, the hosting will be terminated as soon as you go online.
OBS Studio: Streaming Software Basic adjustments in OBS
The most used streaming software is OBS or Open Broadcast Software and is set up quite easily. Please check out our OBS Studio Tutorial right here for some details on how to get up and running and looking great!
Alternatives to OBS XSplit, Streampro IO, Streamlabs & co.
Of course, OBS is not the only software you can use to broadcast your stream on Twitch. There are many alternatives. We share some of them with you down below. In addition to your streaming software, there are of course other tools and plugins to make your life easier as a streamer. We have discussed the topic in an article.
How to become a successful streamer Get followers & earn money
So now you know everything there is to know about setting up your stream on Twitch but there’s probably one question still bothering you: How do I become a successful streamer? Below we want to take a closer look at becoming a successful streamer. It’s all about a good concept for your channel on Twitch, which you can use to get viewers and earn money later on. We will discuss some basic techniques and then conclude with some final optimization possibilities. First of all, here is an overview of the market in our Twitch data section:
Types of streamers
First of all, you should decide what kind of streamer you want to be. You can differentiate between the community streamer and the pro-gamer but of course, you don’t have to choose only one of them. You can also take both elements with you into your stream, but with different values, it depends on your personality, your skill level and your ability to communicate. You should stay authentic and don’t pretend to be someone else, because your viewers will notice something like that very quickly. The goal of both is to entertain your community. That way you build up a community , which is always happy to switch back to your broadcast.
The Pro Gamer
The pro gamer knows his game like the back of his hand and shows it with his skills. He can either give his viewers tips and help them master the game, or be very competitive with his community and other players.. Basically, you can say that the pro-gamer is kind of a travel guide, who shows his viewers the game and its contents. A very good example for this is Shroud.
The Community Streamer
Of course the community streamer can be a pro gamer who knows his way around, but also someone who doesn’t take his game too seriously and sometimes even fails epically. He sees himself as part of a group and explores the world with his community. A prime example of a community streamer is Gronkh.
Every beginning is hard
Right at the beginning of your streaming career you shouldn’t be discouraged by low viewer numbers, stupid comments or technical problems. Nobody is perfect from the beginning and you will learn with every streaming session. Take time to analyze your streams and listen to the feedback from your community.
Doing giveaways right from the beginning can be a big mistake. On the one hand, you have a higher monetary expense and on the other hand, many viewers might only visit your broadcast for the giveaway. If you’ve built up a community naturally, you can reward their loyalty with giveaways, but more about that later on.
The Community in the spotlight
From the very beginning, special attention should be paid to providing your community with added value that sets you apart from other streamers.
The interaction with the audience should always be paramount. Greet and say goodbye to your audience, answer their questions in the chat and be yourself.. Just be authentic! Your community will soon notice whether you are sincere or not.
Now, all you need is a game and you can start streaming. In the beginning, choose a game that you like to play and which is close to your heart.
Optimize your public image
Let’s take a closer look at the possibilities to improve the technical and visual appearance of your stream. First of all, about gaming hardware: To get a stable gaming experience without any framedrops or lag, an up-to-date gaming computer is essential. Gaming computers are especially developed for gaming and therefore suitable for the highest demands and requirements a game can bring with it. You can also get a gaming mouse and gaming keyboard, which will allow you to access a variety of commands and keyboard shortcuts more easily. For a game streamer, a Windows operating system should be the ideal choice, but OBS is available for other platforms as well.
You should pay special attention to your Twitch channel. It should include graphics as well as information about you and the game you play. A guide will follow shortly. You can upgrade your channel by using Twitch overlays. You can find a large selection of them via the link in our shop. Also, think about the quality of your webcam. Does it show you clearly? How’s your lighting? Don’t forget your background. You have two options for optimization: Either you work with a green screen or you make the background look proffessional.
Choosing the game to play
Which game you want to stream depends on your streamer type. If you’re more of a pro-gamer, focus on games where you know your way around and where you can help viewers. If you think of yourself as a community streamer, you can stream a game you know or try something new and explore it with your community.
As long as you don’t have a community that does not follow the game but explicitly follows you, you should stay loyal to the genre. This means that you don’t switch to games from other categories (strategy, role-playing, first-person shooter games). Generally, frequent changes are not recommended, so concentrate on the games you have already streamed. Streaming new, unfamiliar games offers a good chance to attract many viewers, especially if not too many other streamers have discovered the game yet. Successful examples of this are TheKller and TwisTonFire, who got famous as a result of the, until then, unknown game “Dead by Daylight”.
It is important for you to set up a schedule with fixed streaming dates and stick to them. It would also make sense to publish the schedule for your community. That way the audience knows when you are streaming and can look forward to it.
Like many other streamers, it is very important that you deal with the social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Discord, Reddit, Youtube) and use them. Note that each individual social media channel requires know-how and active support. If you don’t have the time or knowledge, you should rather keep your hands off those channels, until you can provide your viewers with added value there. You can use social media channels to inform them when you will be streaming, post clips from your streams, answer questions or post about things from your daily life.
In business, a large network guarantees success. Streaming works the same. You can increase your growth by organizing guest appearances in popular streams. That doesn’t mean that you should reach out to your favorite large streamer and ask that they let you guest on their stream because that certainly won’t work. A simpler way is to be a shoutcaster for a tournament. It doesn’t have to be a world championship, and many smaller organizations often look desperately for commentators, but in this way the whole fan community of your favorite players becomes attentive to your name.
How to earn money on Twitch Tips on financial goals
If you want to become a professional and earn money as a streamer, you should first check if your community is large enough. It takes a lot of hard work to build up the necessary reach. Your long-term goal should be to become a Twitch partner which will also help you earn money from the advertisements during your streams. Other social media platforms such as YouTube can certainly help. In order to really make a living out of it, you have to have a constant high number of views, which of course takes a lot of time. Many large and successful streamers stream for more than 9 hours per day and edit their videos afterwards, making it more time consuming than a full-time job. Let us now look at the various earning possibilities and their requirements.
In the table above you can see the most common sources of income, which will be available to you as a streamer. In addition, you can derive from this whether a revenue can be planned or not (billing), which requirements your channel has to meet and how much a single income will be. For your career, it is especially important to know if a payment will be made once or on a regular basis. Because as a full-time streamer, you should not rely on donations alone, as they can vary all the time. But how long does it take to become a Twitch partner? Christian from the own3d.tv Twitch channel started a challenge to reach this goal in 10 weeks. You can read the full story of the challenge in the articles on the right.
In addition to the sources of income mentioned above, sponsorships and affiliate programs offer attractive opportunities for a streamer to earn money. In the case of a sponsorship, the streamer receives hardware or financial resources from a company and in return presents or promotes their products in his stream. Manufacturers of gaming hardware are always interested in successful streamers who promote their products.
Affiliate programs work slightly differently. The streamer adds a link to his channel description (e. g. Amazon). Whenever one of his viewers places an order via this link, the streamer receives a commission. It makes particular sense to combine product advertising with your own hardware. A link to the gear that the streamer uses leads the interested viewer to the page on Amazon.
In the entire article, we have now dealt with topic of “how to stream on Twitch” and how to optimize your stream. If you want to reach your goals, you should consider these tips and hit every one of these points. They will all help you make your stream successful and professional, making it easier for you to earn money. However, there is no guarantee for success, but with our tips you now have now something to gradually improve your chances.