We are halfway done with 2020, but this pandemic is still far from over. People from all over the world have stayed indoors for months, and many cities are still doubting whether to reopen or not. But for long-time gamers, this means more time to finish quests on their favourite PC adventure games!
Yes, being stuck at home is not so bad especially for gamers, right? It just means that if you are taking a break from work (work from home to be exact), you can easily squeeze in some game time at the comfort of your home.
To double the fun, broadcasting games within your social circle, or even to an unknown audience is an interesting addition to your usual gaming setup. It makes gameplay more immersive, and you get to socialize with other players as well!
At this time, game streaming is considered a safe and commendable activity. It allows you to play games with other people—from a distance! It’s the perfect and safest setup, especially during this time.
Why Stream Anyway?
If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, you would probably remember that there’s always this kid who is popular for being good at arcade games. Tons of other kids would watch them play by the arcade machine, and it was always so fun to discuss and share gaming tips with the other kids around. Well, those were the days. And this is the same concept that is carried over into video game streaming nowadays.
Nowadays, whenever you want to know how a game looks like or how it is being played, you can look up for gameplay videos online! If you want to look for tips and tricks, you can also search for it.
Moreover, if you have the skills to play like a pro, you can tell the whole world by live streaming your game! It is as easy as that. Game streaming is a way to share your personal experiences—and it is a great way to connect with like-minded players too!
What You Need Before You Can Livestream Games
Before you can actually start streaming, there are some basic requirements that your gaming PC must have in order for everything to run smoothly. Aside from that, you need to have certain accessories that can upgrade the quality of your live streams. Well, let’s just say that this endeavor is not going to be cheap.
1. PC Requirements – you must have at the very least, an Intel Core i5-4670 and 8 GB RAM. In addition, the graphics card should be at least compatible with DirectX 10. So if your gaming PC has higher specs, then that is even better for game streaming.
2. A fast and stable Internet connection – Fast would mean at least 4500 to 6000 kbps for 1080p at 60fps. This is important so that once streaming begins, there won’t be any lags during the entire gameplay.
3. Accessories – aside from a reliable Internet connection, you also need a good quality webcam, headset, and microphone. These help you interact, communicate, and present the game well to your audience.
Having a high-quality microphone and audiophile headphones is the key to a great streaming experience. It is best to go with the USB-based ones. This way, people will have no issues in understanding what you say during the broadcast.
A lot of experienced streamers also opt to use 2 monitors at once. This way, it is easier to keep an eye on the chatroom while playing the game at the same time. You need this to improve your engagement and in answering questions that your viewers might have.
Lastly, online accounts for Mixer or Twitch are a must if you really want to reach a huge audience. These are easily accessible through their websites. There are a lot of free PC games you can stream online, and having the right hardware and software can make this happen.
Twitch vs Mixer: Which is better?
What’s the point of live streaming your games when you won’t have any audience? That’s why you need to go on a platform like Twitch or Mixer if you want to reach a huge pool of viewers. But the question is, which platform is better?
1. How to Stream a PC Game on Twitch
Twitch is the best bet if you plan to get a hold of a large audience. This online service is not only for gaming but is also intended for music, talk shows, and podcasts as well.
Some people see Twitch as a social community circle for gamers. To start streaming with Twitch, all you need to do is register (for free) to get started. A stream key is provided, and it would be up to you to host a gaming stream. However, to make this work, you need to download another app which is the Open Broadcast Software (OBS).
This software is an open-source code that developers find very feasible. It also does not overwork the CPU, so it is very efficient. The stream key from your Twitch account will then be used with this software for setup and communication.
How to Set Up the OBS
1. Once installed, click Settings found on the lower right of the screen.
2. Choose “Stream”.
3. Select “Twitch”.
4. Enter the Stream Key.
5. For broadcasting, choose the game you need to stream. Click “Sources”.
6. Choose “Window Capture” in the add menu.
7. Name source and click Enter.
8. To start broadcasting your game, choose “Start Streaming”.
The software automatically chooses the best camera you have. But if you want to customize the lighting and angle, this can be fixed by checking out the “Video Capture Device” found in the settings.
Another variation that works well with Twitch is the Streamlab OBS. This is more professional and user-friendly. For those who are using Mac, a macOS version is also available. This offers free stream themes and overlays. It is also very easy to set up as compared to the OBS.
A great feature of Streamlabs is that it actually has a test button. This helps you check everything first before going live. The downside though is it uses the CPU more, and it has no sound commands.
XSplit Gamecaster, which is for gaming PCs only, is another option for streaming. This software can be downloaded from its website, and you can link it with your Twitch account. It supports Dailymotion, Mixer, Smashcast, YouTube Live, Niconico, and more.
For those who want to just use Twitch’s very own streaming software, you can try out Twitch Studio. However, this is only available for PC users. Mac users have to go for other alternatives like the ones mentioned above.
Can you record your game for later?
Of course, you can! You can store your broadcasts for other players who want to watch them later. To do this, just click the “Creator Dashboard” from your profile, then click “Channel” on the left side. Find “Store Past Broadcasts” and swipe it to turn it on.
2. Mixer/Facebook Gaming
Mixer is Microsoft’s alternative when it comes to game streaming. It has a great co-streaming feature where four people can broadcast their games simultaneously! So if you want to broadcast a multiplayer game, it is very easy with Mixer. All you need to do is create a Mixer account and course it through Streamlab OBS.
Just like Twitch, a stream key has to be typed in. A great feature of Mixer is its interactivity. People can vote or put special effects on a soundboard during gameplay. Aside from that, players are rewarded with XP and Sparks (currency that gives perks in the game), just by simply watching streams.
Unfortunately, Mixer is already redirected to a new platform, Facebook Gaming, since July 22, 2020. This transition has not affected its features and services however, and industry experts are saying that this is a good move—since it could now possibly reach a wider audience.
Best PC Streaming Option
So which is best—Twitch or Mixer/Facebook Gaming? The answer would boil down to personal preferences and hardware/software compatibility. For popular Esports games, it seems like Twitch is still the go-to platform. So if you are into such games, then Twitch is your best bet.
If you really want to maximize your mileage, it is better to stream your games on multiple platforms. You don’t have to live stream in all of them simultaneously, but you can save your videos and upload them later on another platform. This way, more people will notice your content, and later flock to your preferred streaming channel to witness your live streams.
And don’t forget, aside from impeccable gaming skills, you need to brush up on your social and communication skills as well. Effective communication is a crucial aspect of live streaming. You need to engage your audience as you go into the game.
Remember, people watch streams to know more about the gameplay and its mechanics. Your strategies and techniques could certainly help fellow gamers out there, and that’s how you can add value to your channel! This is also one good reason why you should invest in good-quality cameras, microphones, and monitors.