The dream of many gamers is to make a living simply by playing games. Streaming is one option, but in a world where everyone is already streaming, you need our advice to stand out. How to become rich streaming games? What are the most popular streaming platforms? Gaming - is it worth it?
Is streaming games popular?
Being a "gamer" used to mean playing video games, but now it's almost as important to watch others play. More than 740 million people watched game broadcasts on Twitch, YouTube and other platforms last year, and well-known streamers like Tfue, Pewpewdie and Pokimane have earned millions of adoring fans. But it's not just the big names who are making big money. Four million people stream annually - some to show off their achievements, others to advertise their other initiatives, and still others simply for fun.
What exactly is streaming?
Streaming means broadcasting yourself while playing over the Internet so that others can watch you on their computer, phone or game console. Twitch, YouTube and Facebook are the most popular platforms for streaming games. However, this is not the same as watching a Let's Play on YouTube - the streamed game is broadcast live and unedited. Often the streamer can also see comments from fans, who can make donations that sponsor his gameplay.
What do you need to start streaming?
Anyone can start streaming even if they only have an Xbox One or PS4 console and a good Internet connection. However, the basic software for XboX streaming is fairly simple, so you'll probably want to move quickly to streaming on a PC.
You can play the game on a PC, or connect the Nintendo Switch to a computer. A good Windows or Mac computer can also be a solid gaming platform on its own, but they also allow you to create higher quality streams from a PS4 or Xbox. Streaming requires, however, a video capture card to capture the stream from the consoles.
When streaming through a computer, a quality microphone is also recommended to ensure crystal clear commentary. You will also need headphones so that people can't hear the game audio through the speakers. You can invest in good quality audio equipment, not necessarily dedicated to game streaming.
If you want to be visible on the screen during the game streaming, you'll need a "face cam," which is a dedicated webcam that points directly at you and streams the footage to your computer. Make sure you have a good backlight, so that it ensures stable work.
Most streamers also have a two monitor setup: one for playing the game and one for managing the streaming software. Since you'll be using the former often, it should be a sizable HD gaming monitor with fast response time (less than 3 ms) and high refresh rate (at least 144 Hz), while the latter can be an entry-level model.
What software do you need?
You will need the right computer software to receive, integrate and transmit the video and audio components of your stream. A very popular program is Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), which is difficult but free and has many features. Many people use ShadowPlay from NVidia, but Twitch Studio is becoming increasingly popular among Twitch users. OBS is Open-Source which means that everyone can use it, and it works great on almost every platform.
Where to start playing?
Despite growing competition from YouTube and Facebook Gaming, Twitch still remains the leader in streaming content. People like Pokimane and Tommyinnit are at the top, attracting tens of thousands of viewers whenever they hit the stream button. The most popular is the well-known master of Fortnite, Ninja, with more than 18 million watchers on his Twitch channel. These people can earn comfortably through their gameplay - but don't count on joining them overnight!
Is it worth making money
Before you start, think about why you want to stream/create videos. In the beginning, you will invest money and time and have no fans. Don't set yourself up for success, because you most likely won't achieve it - treat streaming as an adventure, not a job - you can learn more about developing your streams in other guides like this one. Just be polite and present yourself as a great player - and take every opportunity to promote yourself.