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Streaming is an industry that is continuously booming by the day.
Whether you’re hungry for fame or just want to have fun, streaming is a good way to put yourself out there to play the games you’re passionate about. Becoming a game streamer isn’t entirely impossible, especially if you have a great love for gaming and possess a friendly and fun personality to entertain your viewers.
With hundreds of other streamers aspiring to be an A-Lister, how can you rise up to the likes of Pewdiepie, Ninja, and Pokimane? Where do you even start?
The good news is, this article is a great starting point to jumpstart your streaming career.
To start your streaming career, of course you’ll need a computer first and foremost. This is considered as one of the most basic steps but apparently, not a lot of people are as well-versed in hardware and computer parts as it may seem.
Simply put: PC specifications for streamers vary on the game you plan to stream. A good PC set is dependent on the specs of your chosen game. If you want to stream games such as League of Legends (LoL) or Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), you don’t really need a high-end computer set. A mid-range set works well with these games.
Major platforms advise streamers to at least start with a PC that has an Intel Core 15-4670 processor (or AMD equivalent), 8 GB RAM, and the latest possible operating system. You will also need a graphics card that can efficiently push your games’ details to the screen. Nvidia’s new range of cards can be a good buy, but you can also do well with AMD.
Since streaming and gaming at the same time can be quite a heavy task for a single unit, some streamers are known to use two computers for this. After all, your computer needs to grab your gameplay and upload the footage at the same time which can take a bit of processing power.
The ideal solution? Have one PC unit for playing and another one dedicated solely for streaming. Using a laptop and a PC can also work just fine.
Microphone and webcam
Among the most important aspects of streaming is to be able to deliver high-quality video and audio recording of your gameplay so your viewers can enjoy your stream. Make yourself be properly seen and heard by the people who are checking out your broadcasts. Accordingly, having a great microphone and webcam is a good start to kick off your career.
Your gear depends on your set budget, really. Keep in mind that you can start a stream with a basic microphone and webcam combination. For instance, you can begin with the Logitech C922 Pro Stream camera and the Zalman ZM-Mic1 streaming microphone.
These two gears are great options for beginners. You can hardly find better webcam and microphone options while on a budget, without compromising great video and audio recording quality.
When it comes to choosing the best platform to stream your games, Twitch will surely dominate the options without a doubt. The platform has established its dominance as one of the leading and popular streaming platforms online with over 10 million people tuning in to watch streams daily.
However, streaming is not only limited to Twitch. There are other streaming platforms you can check out to find out which one suits your needs best.
Deciding on a streaming platform means you need to consider your priorities, budget, and final goals. Each platform has its own set of features and advantages which may either make or break your career.
Here’s a brief pros and cons list of major streaming platforms to give you an overview:
- Lots of great communities to browse
- Easy, built-in ways to monetize your stream (bits, donations, subscriptions)
- Variety of content to be streamed, not just pure gameplays (real life streams or conversing with fans through Just chatting)
- Lots of spam and trolls
- Twitch has an infamous reputation for causing streamers to lose traction when they take even a day off
- You can only stream game-related content on the platform once you officially become a Twitch partner
- It features co-streaming options, real-time analytics, statistics, and live chats to make interaction faster
- Once you successfully grow your channel, you can find various opportunities to partner with big gaming brands and sponsors.
- You can stream your content together with a maximum of four other users at a time
- Notably hard to browse through older content
- Content on the platform is less-diverse, since it’s much more focused on pure live streaming gameplay
- The streamer and audience base are still growing
- No strict censorship unlike Twitch
- Community orientation is extremely important. Developers appreciate direct feedback from users to improve overall user experience.
- Designed to help content creators keep more of the earnings from advertisers.
- Site interface and design is not unique, as it is noted to be too similar to other streaming platforms
- Still considered as a work in progress
- The total number of audience and viewers is still growing
- Has a built-in following for gamers who have lots of friends on Steam
- Helps you observe a game properly before making a purchase
- There’s no official monetization system yet
- The audience base is lesser compared to other major platforms
- Considerably the easiest platform to get started with
- SEO can help you design and gear your content for gaming-related keywords and searches
- No extra software and hidden fees you need to be wary of
- Mainly relies on ads as primary revenue generator
- Viewers in some countries may be unable to donate and support their favorite Youtube streamers directly
- It is easier to form and grow a following from your audience, thanks to its built-in following
- Promotes mobility and easy access via mobile devices
- No official subscription system yet
- It does not support useful live streaming features like: access and security restrictions, subscriptions, monetization, multiple simultaneous live streams, and analytics.
- Maximum supported resolution is only 720p HD
If you plan to become a long-term streamer and generate revenue off your content in the long run, you might want to stream on major platforms such as Twitch and Mixer. These two platforms can help you efficiently monetize on your content based on ads, subs, donations, and many more.
However, if you want to stream for fun and only occasionally – go for Youtube Live, Facebook Gaming, or Steam Broadcasting. These platforms are more lax compared to their leading counterparts. They’re known not to be demanding when it comes to maintaining a regular streaming schedule, and you can also benefit off their built-in audience integration from friends or people who already follow you.
With hundreds of established and rising names in the streaming industry, here are some names you might (already know) or want to know of!
Felix “Pewdiepie” Kjellberg is considered as the most popular Youtuber with over 102 million subscribers. Thanks to him, Youtube is now considered as the mainstream video site it is today largely because of his gameplays and comedic formatted shows.
Many people think his over the top humor is rather childish and brash, but it’s what made him popular among other streamers. His loud and outrageous personality made him interesting to a lot of people. In fact, it continues to draw thousands to his YT channel everyday.
KittyPlays (real name: Kristen Michaela) is a famous Fornite gamer and show host who gained a following on Twitch, Youtube, and Twitter.
Her content primary revolves around video games, entertaining videos, and empowering her audience to make every day beautiful. She is also the producer of her own show “Playtime with Kitty Plays”, where she interviews and plays games with various celebrities.
At the time of writing, she has 1M followers on her Twitch channel and 600K subscribers on Youtube.
Established Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins first came into prominence for playing competitive Halo in 2009. His esports career was pretty successful since then, but it was in 2017 when he decided to focus more on streaming. He streamed titular games such as H1Z1, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), and Fortnite.
Ninja made headlines earlier this year as the 28-year-old streamer decided to leave Twitch for rival platform Mixer. His move was so influential that Mixer knocked YouTube off the top of the download charts.
He now has 2 million followers on Mixer, a striking difference from his solid 14M following on Twitch.
Up and coming streamers
IFerg has 466K subscribers on his YT channel as of the moment. With an average of 100K views per video upload, his sub count is only expected to grow more by the day.
He launched his channel in 2012 and has grown to become an up and coming online gaming personality. The streamer gained popularity for playing cross-platform games such as Rules of Survival, PUBG, and much more recently, Call of Duty: Mobile.
He is known for his dedication and hard work on his gameplay streams. Quoted in his broadcasts, it came to a point where he streamed for 10 hours straight and even attempted to do a 24 hour stream.
Kelsey “Kelseydangerous” Impicciche is a known Buzzfeed producer and Twitch streamer. She currently has 51K followers on her personal Twitch channel where she streams The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Dead by Daylight, and Minecraft among many others.
On Youtube’s Buzzfeed Multiplayer, she is famous for streaming Sims 4 gameplays. She has an on-going 100 Baby Challenge in the Sims where one matriarch is supposed to have 100 kids with different parents. It’s a fun challenge which effectively keeps hundreds of thousands of viewers hooked every week.
As a successful gamer girl icon, she has also released a line of merch for interested fans to check out.
Games to Check Out
Choosing a game would largely define your career, so it’s only imperative to pick the best one for you! There are so many games to choose from – that picking what you want to stream about might be overwhelming.
Typically, you would want to be associated with a game you are either good at or proud of playing. Here are some popular games you might want to give a try:
- Fortnite – Considered as one of the most streamed games across all platforms, Fortnite: Battle Royale is a great choice to raise your adrenaline levels and keep you pumped until the end. 100 players fight to win a last-man-standing match that involves picking gun and medic loots and building fortresses. This game is undeniably fun!
- League of Legends (LoL) – LoL is a multiplayer online battle arena (moba) video game that is fast-paced, competitive, and filled with an ever-expanding roster of champions to choose from. It hosts frequent competitions worldwide, thus the hype for this game only grows more by the year.
- Minecraft – This game grew to become a cultural phenomenon over the years. With the endless possibilities presented, it’s no surprise why Minecraft is a streaming hit. You can choose to build your own worlds and do other in-game activities like exploration, gathering resources, or full-on survival mode.
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) – PUBG helped the genre of Battle Royale games to enter the mainstream status in the gaming industry. It is a competitive survival shooter game where players must fight to locate weapons and supplies on an uninhabited island to be hailed as the lone survivor. If you manage to win over the hundred others, the “chicken dinner” is rightfully yours!
- Hearthstone – This game’s average viewer rate is considerably decent on many platforms, making it a great choice for newbie streamers. Hearthstone is a great game for interaction. The game involves a lot of waiting period in between, which is the perfect time to interact and chat with your viewers.
- NBA 2K20 – This latest installment of the hit NBA 2k series presents plenty of improvements to differentiate it from its predecessors: a new story mode, MyPlayer overhaul, and various gameplay tweaks. The gameplay is as fresh as it can get! Basketball gaming enthusiasts would surely appreciate this game.
- Monster hunter world – Chase wild beasts through lush jungles, explore the visually stunning world, or challenge your fellow hunters in arm wrestling at the Gathering Hub. Monster Hunter’s gameplay is immersive, intricately detailed, and almost feels too real. It’s easy to spend hours simply appreciating the beautiful world around you.
Take time in deciding which games fits your niche the most. It might take a lot of trial and error hopping from one game to another but choosing the right game can guide your career into the road of glory. Always stay updated with new and trending games as well.
However, if you’re happy playing indie titles away from mainstream games– do it. Do not be pressured to stream titular names just because everybody’s playing it. Be yourself, your audience will appreciate that in the long run.
It’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon, but keep in mind it’s possible for you to get burned out pretty easily if you’re not having fun with what you’re doing. Streamer burnout is something you’d want to avoid, especially in the early stages of your career.
Find the game that you like and you’ll likely have more fun. Remember: the more fun you have, the better streams you may give your audience!
While it is imperative for game streamers to stream video games, it is nice to take a break and stream other creative content once in a while. Below are some non-game related categories you may venture into while streaming.
- Hobbies & Crafts
- Motion Graphics
- Performing Arts
- Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos
- Conventions and expo
- Real life streams
- Travel & outdoors
- Web shows
However, as we’ve previously mentioned, every streaming platform is unique with each set of different guidelines and policies.
Try to check your chosen platform’s regulations first before branching out to other categories! The last thing you want is to get banned or suspended for not adhering to community guidelines.
Determine your Niche
To help you find your niche, determine your strengths as a streamer. Identify a couple of reasons why people watch you. You can even ask your viewers, as their personal insights might give you an overview of how you’re doing as a streamer and broadcaster.
Use your strengths to figure out what specific games (or other streaming-related activities) can complement them best.
Are you a good storyteller? Then you can maximize plenty of downtime in between games to interact with your viewers. Can you get into character? Find a game where you can roleplay and become an entertainer.
Streamers with good voice, for instance, commonly take interest in games that require a good story telling. It takes them to do all the voices — thus their niche is set!
Try to increase your interaction with your viewers and develop solid relationships with them. How can you do this exactly? You can either play multiplayer games with them in real-time, get them to vote on things, and bring recognition to highly supportive viewers.
Find a way to recognize your top supporters and gifters by making them a part of your stream. Surely, they’ll appreciate the gesture.
Also, playing one game all the time can tend to get boring at some point. No matter how much you love a game, variety will always add spice to your channel and keep your fans excited.
Stick with a consistent schedule. Stream your major games on shifting days, but try to sneak something in between — such as chatting with your fans and sharing them a glimpse of your daily life. This all boils down to personal preference, but viewers who don’t care for every game you play will stick around for your personality. Your followers will watch nearly anything just for any chance of a streamer interaction!
With hundreds of other aspiring streamers from different platforms, how can you make yourself stand out from the rest?
One good way to establish your personal branding is to interact with your viewers. That way, you can see how you normally entertain your audience and what areas you can improve on when it comes to communicating with them in real-time.
As for constructive criticism, tell your audience you are new to this whole streaming thing. Some viewers might be kind enough to tell their opinion whether or not you’re doing a great job — which may help you further hone your craft as a streamer. New streamers can get overwhelmed easily by harsh trolls and criticism often thrown in chat boxes, but do your best to carry on.
Establishing your personal branding is not a one-man act. You also need to interact with other streamers and collaborate with them, if possible. Make friends inside the community so your name will be more known.
Another way is to create a catchphrase that will make your audience remember you by. It can be as simple as: “Rise and shine, gamers! It’s time to grind.” to “Hey everybody it’s your favorite streamer here for grind’o-clock.” Also make sure to select a personal logo and username that you want to represent your streamer identity for many years to come. Try not to select something so vulgar and crass— you might regret that as you get older.
You should also advertise your streaming channel and be active on many social media platforms so that more people can catch up with your streams. Even if the live broadcast switch is off, it’s important to stay connected with your audience.
Once you have the basic gear and software requirements, feel free to upgrade your set up as you wish later on. Your viewers would want to see changes in your gaming streams especially once you start to grow a large following.
Don’t fret if you don’t succeed at first. Many big names in the streaming industry today also started out small, but with sheer perseverance to keep going they arrived where they are right now. The journey to a successful streaming career begins with a single step. Take that brave step whenever you’re ready.
It’s not easy but hard work and dedication will surely pay off — especially if streaming is something you are really passionate about. Everything else will fall into place gradually.