Always wanted to be a Twitch Streamer, but never really knew what you needed or how to do it? Turns out, streaming might be a lot easier than you thought. By the end of this guide you should know how to get started on your Twitch career, and go from there. Good luck!
Create an Account
Probably the easiest part of this guide is creating a Twitch account. Simply click the ‘Sign Up’ button, and fill in the form. You can always download the mobile app and sign up from there, but you’re going to need a computer to get your account stream ready anyway.
Just having a Twitch account doesn’t make you a streamer. You’ll have to enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), essentially an additional security measure to ensure random people can’t just sign in to your account.
Once that’s done, you’re good to go. You can start streaming immediately, but I don’t recommend it. Instead, keep reading and make sure you’re fully prepared before you begin your first stream.
What Hardware are You Going to Use?
The actual devices you use to stream are incredibly important, and will reflect what kind of streamer you want to be. Do you want to use your console for a casual streamer experience, or will you dedicate yourself to streaming on a regular basis? Are you streaming for a few close friends, or are you tempted to take it pro?
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’ve created a plan of action first. It’s the best way to ensure your success, rather than floundering from stage to the next. If you’re wildly unprepared, your audience will quickly pick up on it – and most likely stop watching your stream.
Once you’ve done that, then you can really begin with getting all the equipment together. We’ve split it up into several categories for you.
Computer, Console, or Mobile?
The first question is what will you stream on? By far, the most common way to begin streaming is through a PC, but there are other options you may be unaware of.
Perhaps the easiest way to stream is on a PlayStation 4 console. Streaming like this won’t let you create any high-quality streams with interesting effects, but it will allow you to open up your gameplay to the wider world with ease.
Streaming on your phone is also an option. I would only recommend it for Q+A’s (or other situations where you’re just interacting with your viewers) though. Trying to use your phone camera to stream gameplay looks horrendous, and will ruin any chance of you growing your fanbase. Especially since there are so many alternative streamers for people to choose from.
Streaming on PC has the greatest level of customisation, and lets you create and use your own effects when an event occurs during the stream (be it a donation, new subscriber, or something else). When it comes to buying a PC, I would always recommend building it yourself. It works out far cheaper, plus you’ll know exactly what needs to be replaced and where it goes.
The most important parts to invest in a streaming PC will be the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). These two components will directly influence how well your stream performs.
Whatever you stream on, you’re going to need a microphone to actually talk to your audience. The biggest dilemma you’ll face is if you want to spend more money on a good quality microphone or on a cheaper one, and upgrading later. It’s important to recognise that you may find streaming isn’t as enjoyable as you thought it would be.
For those looking for a good quality starter microphone, there are several options available. I’d recommend the Blue Snowball, since it records a crystal clear sound and will look right at home on your desk. If you want to read more about it, or have a look at some of our other choices for starter streaming microphones.
If you are set on getting yourself the very best equipment from the offset though, check out the best streaming microphones. Personally, My two favourite choices would be the HyperX Quadcast, or the Rode NT-USB. They might be quite pricey, but these microphones will give you the best audio quality available to your viewers.
Okay, your listeners can hear you. Next, you’ve got to determine how you’re going to hear the game without your microphone picking up the audio. That’s where your headset comes in.
For streamers, headphones are a fantastic bit of kit. Their functionality is two-fold because they’ll keep the audio away from your mic, and give you an advantage over your competition. A good headset will be able to accurately translate every single sound from the game into your ears. Using one myself, I’ve been able to hear opponents creeping around and locate them with precision.
With this in mind, you can’t pick any old headset. You’re potentially going to be wearing it for hours at a time, so you have to make sure it’s comfortable to wear. You could always look at the classics, like Turtle Beach. If they’re not quite your style though, have a look at these gaming headphones.
It’s also best to make sure you get a wired pair. Wired connections have a much shorter delay than their wireless counterparts, and don’t have anywhere near as many potential connection issues. It’s one of the reasons why professional gamers all choose wired products.
If you’re not too bothered about connection speeds, it’s worth remembering that you won’t need to charge them either. Nothing is worse than running out of juice mid-stream.
You have a decision to make. Do you want your audience to see your face? Initially, you might feel like staying mysterious is the best course of action, however, people don’t like watching just the gameplay, but the host too. By seeing your face, your audience will be able to connect with you.
They want to see your reactions to shock twists and your expression when faced with sudden death. All this makes you appear far more real to your viewers, and allows you to build rapport with them far more easily.
On the other hand, you may not feel comfortable with people from all over the world suddenly knowing what you look like. The choice is up to you, but if you do want to include a camera in your setup, I’d suggest either the NexiGo Web Camera or the Razer Kiyo
This is an optional addition, and depends entirely on whether you’re using a webcam or not. If you are, then I would recommend you invest in some sort of directional lighting. It will add clarity to your stream, and keep the lighting on your face consistent. If you do purchase the Razer Kiyo, you’ll notice there’s already a ring light built into the camera.
What Software are You Going to Use?
It’s difficult to go live without using the proper software, but with so many options which should you choose?
- OBS Studio: The best tool for those new to streaming, OBS is a user-friendly, simple piece of software. It makes streaming the way you want an absolute breeze, and the best part? It’s completely free. Plus, it doesn’t matter if you’re running iOS, Windows, or Linux. It’ll work with each of them.
- Streamlabs OBS: If the original OBS seems a bit simple for you, and you want to include your own effects, consider Streamlabs. Not only is it free too, but it comes packed with additional features, like built-in widgets, chat boxes, and selective recording. Available for both iOS and Windows.
- LightStream: I know we’ve spoken about gaming a lot in the guide, but if you’re wanting to put together a music live stream then LightStream is exactly what you’re looking for. You will need to sign in with Twitch for it to work, however.
What are You Going to Play?
While not the most integral aspect of your Twitch career, you should know what you’re going to play ahead of time. You shouldn’t need to pick a specific game, but you should absolutely select a niche to start in. By picking and sticking to a specific niche, you’ll be able to build up a loyal fanbase. Whether you’re playing horror, strategy, or simply speedrunning games as fast as you can, it’s important to remember that you need to be regular. Without that, viewers are going to have a hard time fitting you into their lives, no matter how good you are.
These people will come to visit your channel frequently, and initially they’ll arrive for a specific type of content. Once you’ve created a bond with your viewers, you can start to expand into other genres or stay where you are and continue to grow in your niche. Why not start a poll, and do what the majority decide?
Streaming on PS4
Starting a stream straight from your PS4 is the easiest way to stream your gameplay, thanks to its Share function. Before you do that though, you’ll need to make sure you’re connected to Twitch.
Connecting your PS4 to Twitch
- Go to Settings, then Account Management, followed by Link with Other Services
- Select Twitch, and follow the on-screen directions.
- Use either your smartphone or computer to authenticate your account.
Next, just press the Share button to bring up the menu, and select Broadcast. From here, you’ll be able to double-check the settings are all configured to your liking, and even provide some info for your stream.
Once you’re done, hit Start Broadcasting and you’ll be live! When you’ve finished, simply bring up the Share Menu again and select Broadcast Settings, followed by Stop Broadcasting.
Streaming on Your Phone
Streaming from your phone is incredibly easy. You’ll need the app downloaded and logged in on your phone. From there, the process is incredibly simple.
- Tap on your profile icon in the top left corner
- Tap on the purple “Go Live” button
- Name your Stream
- Select the Category
- Choose where you want to share the link to your stream
- Start the Stream!
And that’s it. You won’t need any specialist equipment, though a ring light could be beneficial. It’ll improve the visual quality of your personal stream, and provide a better experience for your viewers. Lighting is quite important when recording any sort of content, so it’s no surprise that with the explosion of Twitch and TikTok content, sales of ring lights have skyrocketed as well.