If you or your kids are like me, there are few things you love more than a good video game. When played sparingly (be careful you don’t fall prey to gambling or tech addiction), video games are a great way to spend time with family and friends, sharpen your creative problem solving skills, and develop better hand-eye coordination. Many people even consider video games a new form of art (check out games like Journey or Abzu if you don’t believe me)!
As a kid who loved video games, I always joked that I wanted to play Mario professionally. It was fun to think about running around Mushroom Kingdom and jumping on Koopa Troopas for a living. I knew it wouldn’t be feasible, however, because who could ever make money by playing video games?
Surprisingly, anyone can. The solution? Twitch streaming.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is a platform for live video streaming. Owned by Amazon, Twitch gives creators the ability to stream themselves playing video games live. Anyone around the world can be a part of the audience, where they watch and comment on the stream. Based on a streamer’s popularity, they often get paid in return. While there are a few live streaming services, Twitch is the most popular. As of 2021, there are over nine million streamers that go live at least once a month. To give you an idea of how massive that is, over 18.6 billion hours of content were consumed on the service just last year! Twitch streamers have even been featured on the cover of ESPN!
So you think you have what it takes to be a professional twitch streamer? Ready to start streaming but don’t know where to begin? And after you’ve started, how do you set up a professional stream on Twitch?
Well, Troomi has your back. Here are a few tips about how to make your Twitch stream look professional.
1. Review the Community Guidelines
The first step in learning how to set up a professional twitch stream is potentially the least exciting but definitely the most important.
Before you start streaming, read up on the Twitch Community Guidelines. Twitch states that their mission is to build a community where “creators and communities can interact safely.” To ensure that Twitch streams are an inclusive and safe place for all people and ages, all creators have to read and adhere to the Community Guidelines.
Just like Twitch is focused on safety and inclusivity, Troomi is dedicated to making your child’s first smartphone experience a safe and educational one. Our devices are designed with your children in mind—they feature military grade security that protects your kiddos from cyber attacks and have an optional safelisting feature that stops fishers and telemarketers from calling your kids. Click here for more info!
2. Decide what kind of content you’d like to stream
Now that you’ve read the Community Guidelines (and a bit more about Troomi), we can get into the fun stuff: planning what you want to stream. There are a few types of Twitch streamers out there. Are you the variety streamer, who plays many different games and builds a strong community? Perhaps you’re a one-game streamer that teaches viewers how to master one specific game? Or else you could be a competitive streamer, streaming yourself participating in tournaments and Esport competitions.
3. Get your gear
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Twitch streaming requires a good amount of gear. In addition to a computer and game console, you may want to invest in a microphone. Chatting with your community and commentating on the game is one of the most important parts of a Twitch stream. Your computer likely has a built-in mic, but as you build your popularity you’ll want something with a bit more power.
Many professional streamers also use a webcam so people can watch them as they play. If you mess up on a game, your facial expressions and reaction can be good content.
If you’re playing a game from a console and plan to stream on your PC, you need to pick up a capture card. This little device allows you to stream and record gameplay at the same time. Think of it like a little delivery person: it takes the video of your gameplay and carries it over to your Twitch stream.
However, a lot of consoles have made it easy to stream directly from your device!
If you’re playing on Xbox, simply download the Twitch app, log in, and select the “broadcast” option to start streaming. For a PlayStation device, you’ll have to link your PlayStation account to Twitch, which can be done directly on the Twitch app. From there it’s easy: click the Share button on your PlayStation controller and then select Broadcast Gameplay. Give your stream a title and get playing!
Nintendo Switch, on the other hand, doesn’t have a streaming app, so you will need to snag that capture card.
As you develop your streaming abilities, you may need a fancier set-up, including lighting, an OBS, and potentially even a stream deck.
4. Create your stream layout!
Most professional Twitch streamers use a graphic overlay to make their channel a little more exciting. Think about it: would you rather watch a stream that looks like a plain video screen or a decorated one that shows off the streamer’s personality? Definitely the second option.
An overlay is a graphic that visually enhances how your steam looks. It’s positioned on the video screen window of your channel, and is where your video, chat, alerts, and ads (if you’re lucky enough to be sponsored) will show up.
You’ll need a few different overlays: a welcome screen, end screen, break screen, and general stream screen. You can make overlays on websites like Canva or using applications like Photoshop. Make sure your overlay is 1920 x 1080 pixels!
5. Engage with your audience and have fun!
One of the best parts of streaming is building a strong community around yourself and the games you play. This encourages viewers to chat with you and come back to your stream. Just as people have a favorite TV show that they’ll watch whenever it’s on, many people have a favorite Twitch streamer that they’ll go back to again and again.
Not only does having a strong community make Twitch streaming more fun, it also determines how much money you make. If you made it this far in the article, you’re likely wondering “how much do 100 viewer streamers make?” or “how much does a 1000 viewer twitch streamer make?”
Well, it doesn’t quite work like that. Unless you have a corporate sponsor or are a Twitch affiliate, your compensation is primarily based on subscribers. These are audience members that pay $5 a month to support their favorite streamers. In return, they get access to chat emotes and the ability to chat in “subscriber-only” chats.
However, as in all things, it isn’t about the money. The most important part of streaming is to have fun and enjoy your time playing games!
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the Troomi blog for more tech tips and tricks!