Here's how you can start gaming live stream

Updated: May 31, 2020, 08:16 IST | Jaison Lewis | Mumbai

Up your gaming ante, by escaping into the world of live streaming, where you'll be watched and heard

Game streaming is a form of entertainment, where you watch someone else play games and comment about it to an audience live.

Should I become a streamer?
This is the obvious question. To be a successful streamer, you have to be one of two things: You should either be extremely good at playing a particular game—bonus points if it's a multiplayer online game like PUBG or Fortnite. Or, you must be good at talking—the kind of person who can comment on every aspect and have a smart or funny opinion about everything you come across. If you can hold an audience on either or both fronts, game streaming is for you. You may also need to choose where you plan to stream from i.e. PS4, mobile phone, PC or Xbox. "I was more of an academic nerd pursuing a couple of degrees. Gaming was the only escape during free time. In 2016, I started playing the mobile game Clash Royale, and became an avid follower of several game streamers. With the advent of PUBG mobile in India, it struck me to try out streaming," said Animesh Agarwal, who goes by 8Bit_Thug and streams PUBG mobile on YouTube.

Animesh Agarwal, aka 8Bit_Thug, says he thought of trying streaming when PUBG mobile game entered India
Animesh Agarwal, aka 8Bit_Thug, says he thought of trying streaming when PUBG mobile game entered India

What do you need?
An Internet connection, preferably a good one with unlimited bandwidth. A computer, especially if you want to overlay a video of yourself in your stream. A web camera; get something good that won't make you look like a blurry blob, at least a 720p. Get a decent microphone; you could use one of those computer headsets with the mic built-in. A device to game on; it can be a powerful PC or one of the consoles, or even your mobile phone. For the more serious players, you might want to get a capture card. This is especially useful if you want to stream console games and have an overlay of your face in the corner like most professionals do.

For software, you can either use OBS Studio or XSplit. Once you decide between various streaming platforms and what software to use, you will need to get a stream key from the site you plan to stream on. There are good tutorials online on how to do this; it is super simple and you don't need to be a computer whiz to figure it out.

Watch them play

"I did a detailed study on the best equipment required and started with a gaming laptop, capture cards, a nice gaming condenser microphone, gaming headphones and a high-resolution webcam," said Agarwal.

Figure out your audience
Before you stream, you need to figure out who your target audience is. For example, a PUBG player who is good at the game. This will not only define the game you want to play, but also what your content will look like. In this case, you might be good at PUBG, so you will want to show off your skills or share tricks and tips about the game while playing it live.

Watch them play

"My gaming channel is majorly for live streams. Besides, I use it for podcast-type VODs, where I share information about my experience and try to educate the audience about gaming. One such Series is Thug Talks," said Agarwal aka 8Bit_Thug.

Where to stream?
There are several options for this, each with its advantage.

Facebook: Facebook is a powerful platform for streaming live; its advantage lies in the ability to target your audience and find new viewers. Considering most of the world is already on Facebook, it makes sense to use that to your advantage.

Watch them play

Twitch: Twitch is where all the gaming action is, which is why there are a lot of game streamers on it. However, competition is stiff. You may need to distinguish yourself from the other streamers if you want to get noticed. Just gaming prowess might not be enough to stand out here.

Mixer: Mixer is quickly emerging as the streaming of choice for many professional streamers. It is hyper-focused on gaming and big names in streaming like Ninja.

YouTube: YouTube is probably one of the easiest to set up. A lot of people consume videos on YouTube, which means there is major competition for viewers and you will be competing with gag videos, shows and all sorts of other content.

Others: There are several other streaming players, but they aren't popular in India yet. If you choose a platform that isn't popular yet, you may have a first movers' advantage, where your popularity can grow along with the site. NimoTV, and gosugamers are some of the platforms not explored as much right now. "I started with Twitch in July 2018 and continued to stream for three months, before switching to YouTube due to lack of response on Twitch. Right now, I am focused entirely on YouTube because the trend demands I do that," said Agarwal.

What if I can't game?
Streaming on most of the popular platforms isn't only for gaming, a lot of new popular channels have emerged that do everything from workouts to live cooking shows. Twitch, Facebook Live and YouTube Live are a great choice, if you don't want to start a gaming live stream.

Streaming essentials

. Equipment
Laptop/PC to handle the streaming
Game capture card/box
Microphone + suspension stand + pop filter / gaming headset
HD webcam capable of 1080p

. Output
Green Screen
Software (OBS Studio, XSplit)

. Games
You can stream any game, but PUBG, League of legends, CSGO and Garena Free Fire require the least effort

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