How To Make A Professional Looking Twitch Stream | XBOX, PS4 & PC
Streaming on Twitch has become my favorite mode of content creation. I get to share my undying love for video games while my viewers get to experience all the rage and excitement with the added bonus of direct interaction.
What’s not to love? With the growing number of streamers on the platform, it doesn’t seem like I’m alone in this endeavor. Not by a longshot.
Especially now that it’s easier than ever to start streaming on Twitch, there are heaps and heaps of budding streamers joining in on the action every nanosecond. Great for us who want all the glory with as little hassle as possible; not so great for viewership margins which are only getting slimmer.
It seems that the stream of how to get more viewers on Twitch tutorials on my feed just keeps getting longer.
So, how does one stand out? Do I need to get a second mortgage to start a stream that looks professional? Is streaming on Twitch just a pipe-dream at this point?
Have no fear. There are ways to start Twitch streaming, getting viewers to your channel and putting yourself on the path of becoming a professional streamer that don’t break the bank.
Streaming to Twitch from PS4 and Xbox One
I already feel your eyes rolling and I get it. Though consoles let you go live with nothing more than the click of a button, their offerings in the features and flair department are slim.
You’ll be amazed to discover, though, that there are streamers out there using nothing but their console, a headset, and maybe a camera pulling in lots of viewers and getting donations.
As the old content creator’s adage goes: “there’s no substitute for an attractive personality”, or something to that effect. In fact, you’d be shocked at how many streamers on Twitch with clear, professional-looking channels with all the bells and whistles are barely getting any views.
Streaming to twitch from a PS4 or Xbox One is the perfect gateway drug to what I can attest to being my favorite addiction. All you need is to make a Twitch account (duh!), log in via your console’s broadcasting settings, and then use your share features to start showing the world what you’ve got.
The majority of console streamers will use a headset plugged into their PS4 or Xbox One controller. The SteelSeries Arctis 3 Console Wired Headset is a great bang for your buck as it packs in a crystal clear mic along with sweet bassy goodness to your ears. For the same money, you can also get a Blue Snowball condenser mic but you would have to hear your game through your TV.
Sadly, only PS4 owners have the luxury of using a proper mic. There are solutions for Xbox One but the audio quality leaves a lot to be desired.
To get your mug on your Twitch stream you’ll need a PlayStation Camera on PS4 or a Kinect Sensor if you’re on Xbox One - good luck finding one of these for cheap, though. Angle your camera just right to make sure your viewers can see you clear as day and make sure you enable your facecam in your Broadcast settings.
To view your chat and start interacting with your Twitch viewers, you also have a couple of options. Both PS4 and Xbox One have an interface that shows your chat on screen.
You do, however, have to sacrifice some real estate with the upside being that you never have to take your eyes off of the action. I do, however, recommend downloading the Twitch app on your phone or having a laptop or PC close to you if possible to access chat separately.
You’re going to have to get used to checking chat at regular intervals but that means your game and face are available in all their fullscreen glory.
We’ve dealt with the simple life of the console streamer. Now, let’s talk about how to start streaming on Twitch from a PC.
Streaming to Twitch from a PC
Consoles make setting up a Twitch stream a breeze and that’s a great way to get your foot through the proverbial door. If you want to level up your streaming game, though, then you have to consider moving up to streaming to Twitch from a PC.
You might have heard through the grapevine that you need a beast of a machine to run a half-decent stream and that may have been true back in the olden days of Twitch yore. These days, a decent gaming laptop will do the trick just fine.
I’ve seen tons of YouTubers show off builds that are budget-friendly, whether you’re just starting out or upgrading from your PS4 and Xbox One.
The tricky bit with PC streaming to Twitch is choosing your broadcasting software and setting it up. From the beginning, I’ve chosen to pay for Xsplit because it lets me run a clean stream with minimal hassle. If you don’t have that much time in your hands to fiddle with settings, I highly recommend it, at least at the beginning of your Twitch streaming adventure.
Not up for paying? No worries because Streamlabs OBS has your back. Open Broadcasting Software has been used by Twitch streamers for yonks and for good reason. It’s a powerful beast which, once harnessed, will give you tons of control over the quality of your stream.
SLOBS is the version of OBS that has all the bells and whistles, such as follower and donation alerts, baked in as it’s developed by the people who run Streamlabs. The advantage of SLOBS is that it will run you through an initial automated setup that will determine your best settings so you don’t have to fuss around.
Once you’ve got your broadcasting software sorted, it’s time to consider the most important Twitch streaming bit: audio. Every “how to stream on Twitch tutorial” worth its salt should tell you that audio is king and for good reason.
You could have the nicest looking visuals, the crispest looking game footage and the face of Chris Hemsworth; if your audio sounds like it’s going through a noisy cheese grater, viewers are going to duck out quick.
It’s important, therefore, to grab a decent USB mic. Remember the Blue Snowball we mentioned earlier? That’s going to take you a long way before you need to upgrade to the sweetheart of the Twitch streaming world: the Blue Yeti.
Getting your Hemsworth lookalike mug on stream is also key to starting out streaming on Twitch. See, people don’t go to Twitch for the YouTube Let’s Play experience. They want interaction and it’s been generally agreed that having a face to go with a sweet sultry voice is the way to go.
To achieve this one PC, grab the other gold standard of the entry-level Twitch streamer, the Logitech C920. These days it’s often on sale as it’s been around for quite some time.
From here on out, it’s all a matter of where your gameplay is going to come from. PC streamers don’t need any extra hardware as they can simply capture their gameplay directly in a single PC setup. From those upgrading from a PS4 or Xbox One, you’ll need a decent capture card.
Whew! We’ve got the gear sorted to start streaming on Twitch and hit Super Stardom but where are all the viewers at?
How to get viewers on Twitch
I’m going to level with you: streaming on Twitch isn’t the simple affair that it used to be. You can’t just click your going live button and start screaming like PewDiePie’s on fire into a mic and calling it a day. Streaming on Twitch has become a different beast, for better or for worse.
For one, Twitch viewers are looking for interaction. They want to chat with a person who has something interesting to say or who talks about something that makes their soul burn.
It’s vitally important therefore that you get used to talking to an empty channel...a lot. The best way I’ve found is to be prepared with some talking points. You are running a show after all so having some material to talk, joke and rant about is what will separate you from the average Ninja-wannabe.
Externalizing what you’re doing in your game also helps. Explain the decisions you’re making at every moment if possible. Why are you using one gun over another? How can you be the evil person that spams the same move in a fighting game? People who watch Twitch streams love this stuff. Knowing your market is half the battle.
One final tip to make you really stand out from the riff-raff is actually the least obvious. I’ve personally seen quite a bit of success from what I’m about to tell you.
Plan to have regular Just Chatting segments throughout each Twitch stream session. You see, Twitch wasn’t always about games. Back in the Justin.tv days it was all about random people doing random things in their bedrooms; chatting, cooking, painting. Then came gaming and thus Twitch was born.
Fast forward to today, guess which categories are always in the top 10-15 on the Discover page: Just Chatting and Creative. Twitch has now come full circle to what its predecessor was. A place for people to interact and have fun.
The bottom line
To start streaming on Twitch it’s important to have a game plan if you want to succeed and become a professional streamer. The mentality is the same with any performer who wants to make their passion into something lucrative.
You can still simply play games and have fun but to get more Twitch viewers and build a following takes time and effort. To become a professional Twitch streamer you’ve got to think like both a performer and a business owner.
Do your research, plan your material, research your market, try new things. All of this is part of the growth mindset of a Twitch streamer just starting out.
Once something sticks, the feeling is unlike anything else. So, go out there and give it a go.