How to Stream on Twitch: Our best Game Streaming Guide for Free!
- 1 How to start streaming (5 easy steps)
- 2 Basic Requirements for Game Streaming
- 3 Creating a Twitch Account The first step to an own channel on Twitch
- 4 OBS Studio: Streaming Software Basic adjustments in OBS
- 5 How to become a successful streamer Get followers & earn money
- 6 Twitch Partner in 10 Weeks – The Challenge
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, tournament 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 is free, but on the other hand also highly functional. In addition, the Open Source project is constantly being improved and in many respects has already surpassed paid providers such as Xsplit. On 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 also discuss the topics 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 got answers for all your questions on our website. The following five easy steps will help you to start with 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.
Ok, it may sound easier now as it is… but no worries, we will take you by the hand from the very first stream till you are safe and successful on your way.
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, this is good, 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.
|Quality||Min. Internet speed (Upload)||Streaming rate|
|720p / 30fps||2,5 Mbit/s||2500-4000 Kbps|
|720p / 60fps||3,5 Mbit/s||3500-5000 Kbps|
|1080p /30fps||3,5 Mbit/s||3500-5000 Kbps|
|1080p / 60fps||4,5 Mbit/s||4500-6000 Kbps|
Streaming with a quality below 720p / 30fps is not recommendable, because it would not attract many viewers. For more technically 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 our Internet speed meets the minimum requirements, we need to think about our streaming hardware. Do we want to stream on a PC or on a console? Is the performance of our computer sufficient or can our console stream without additional hardware? These and many other questions need to be clarified.
Let’s first talk about streaming on a game console: In the case of a Playstation 4 or Xbox One, the solution is very simple. For both consoles there is a version of the Twitch-App, with which you can start streaming 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 a good 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 and a green screen, a gaming mouse and keyboard as well as a gaming monitor. For the beginning, however, an ordinary computer is sufficient, everything else can be bought step by step. This may also include a separate streaming PC with capture hardware. For all these topics you will find a lot of information in the individual guides and shopping guides here on own3d.tv.
Creating a Twitch Account The first step to an own channel on Twitch
A Twitch channel can be created 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 you will even save some input. Afterwards, click on the confirmation link in the e-mail and you will be part of Twitch. But what happens next? We will deal with this issue below.
Setting up a channel Panels, channel description, logo, etc.
Of course, only creating an account on twitch.tv isn’t enough. There are many options and configurations to make your channel more beautiful and professional. We will discuss these in more detail below.
Panels & Channel Description
On Twitch,”Panels” are the boxes that appear below your live stream. You can use them to group information about your channel in a useful way, but also to create surveys for your viewers. 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 a 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 an information carrier, for example for 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 only important to change the standard picture as soon as possible, because with the profile picture you differ from other streamers, who stream the same game on twitch.tv.
An offline banner on Twitch fulfils several functions. On the one hand, it shows that you are not currently streaming, but every Twitch channel fulfils this function by itself. More important ist that with your offline banner you can make your live show more attractive, even if you are not online right now. Furthermore, your streaming times or other information about your channel could be displayed there. A professional offline banner may even encourage a user to come back later. All overlay templates in our shop already contain a matching offline banner!
Finding/Reseting 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 so-called automatic hosting. This is the “forwarding” of content from another channel to your own live stream. In 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 whether Twitch should 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 basic configuration for the leading streaming platform Twitch are quickly done and OBS supports the process and displays error messages if something is not optimal. For other streaming services like YouTube Gaming, Mixer, Smashcast, etc. you can of course also use this guide as the basic configurations are usually the same. If there should be certain features or changes, which should have to be considered, the respective platforms always refer directly to it! Check out our OBS Studio Tutorial!
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. Some of them we would like to present now. 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 streaming on Twitch and Co., 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 the topic Streaming successfully. 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 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 convinces with his ingame skills. He can either give his viewers tips and help them to master content more easily, or he is part of the type challenger who wants to compete with his community or 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 travel 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.
Giving away goodies right at the beginning can be a big mistake. On the one hand, you have a higher monetary expense and on the other hand, it can happen that many viewers only visit your broadcast for the draw. If you’ve built up a community, naturally you can reward their loyalty with prize draws, 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 to name a few examples of community entertainment. Just be authentic! Your community will soon notice whether you are simulating or if you are behind what you say and do.
Now all you need is a game and you can start streaming. At 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 laging, 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 choise, 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 overlay templates. 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 and explicitly? Don’t forget your background. You have two options for optimization: Either you work with a green screen or you prepare the background professionally.
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 your so far streamed games. A possibility for a game change you can use in Alpha-Key and Beta-Key draws. In this way you can stream a brand-new game directly.
Streaming new, unfamiliar games always offers a good chance to attract many viewers, since not too many colleagues should have discovered this for themselves at the beginning. 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. This 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 the 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, to post video sequences from your sessions or just to answer questions.
In business life, a large network guarantees success. Streaming behaves similarly. You can increase your fame by organizing guest appearances in popular streams. On Twitch it is part of the unwritten law that it’s not the little streamers who request, but the popular streamers come to you. A simpler way is to act as caster for a tournament. It doesn’t have to be a world championship, because many smaller organizers often look desperately for commentators, but in this way the whole fan community of the fellow players becomes attentive to your name.
You can increase the quality of your stream, if you invite guests and they bring their community via social media. You can also turn streams into conventions, so you can automatically introduce you to a broad mass of people.
Another way to generate attention is by so-called 24 hour streams. These should remain special events as they are very stressful for the streamer. Plan to have at least one or two days off to get back to your daily rhythm. If you want, you can also plan the whole thing as a charity event by donating the money, or you can enter a draw during the session to reward your fans for their loyalty.
How to earn money on Twitch Tips on financial goals
If you want to become a professional streamer, you should first check if your community is big 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 so that you can get profit out of the advertising during your streams. But also other social media platforms such as YouTube can 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.
|Type of income||Billing||Requirements||Amount|
|Subscription||monthly||Twitch Affiliate or Partner||50% of the subscription, i. e. 2,50€-12,50€.|
|Advertisement||per 1000 views||Twitch Partner||1,00 - 3,00 € per 1000 views|
In the table above you can see the most common sources of income, which will be available to you as a streamer sooner or later. 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, sponsoring and affiliate programs offer attractive opportunities for a streamer to earn money. In case of sponsoring the streamer receives hardware or financial resources from a company and in return presents or promotes their products in his stream. Especially 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 behind the keyboard, which the streamer uses himself, leads the interested viewer e. g. to the page on Amazon.
In the entire article, we have now dealt with goals to optimize your stream and the basic topic “how to stream on Twitch”. Especially if you want to reach the financial goals, you should consider these tips and go through the above mentioned points. They all should help you to 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.