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With the world's biggest streamers earning a living from their passion for games, interest in this hobby and potential career path has increased. Here's what you need to know about streaming games and how to become a streamer yourself.
What is game streaming?
Game streaming broadcasts your gameplay to an audience, live over the internet. Usually, streamers will also narrate, add live audio commentary, or provide guidance for viewers on their stream.
Over time streamers can gain an audience of subscribers who regularly tune in to watch them play. With the right platform and viewer numbers, streamers can earn advertising revenue and deals with gaming brands.
But what do you need to become a streamer?
How to become a game streamer
1. Get the right hardware
To live stream games from your PC, you need the right hardware for handling the game’s requirements, as well as running multiple programmes.
This means that your graphics card, CPU and RAM all play a role. You will need to run your game at sufficient quality while also running your streaming software.
If you’re planning on playing games with high requirements, you will need a recent, high-spec graphics card and fast CPU.
If you’re playing an older game, or a game with low hardware requirements, you will still need adequate RAM and a decent CPU to simultaneously play and stream the game.
When it comes to being interactive with your viewers during your live stream, a second screen is also recommended. This allows you to play your game on one screen while checking your stream’s chat window on the other.
2. Have the right internet connection
Streaming requires a fast, stable internet connection. This is because you’re broadcasting gameplay live, rather than gradually uploading a saved file.
The best internet connection type to use for game streaming is fibre since it has faster download and upload speeds than other connection types.
The exact upload speed you need depends on the resolution you plan to stream in. We would recommend an internet plan with an upload speed of around 40Mbps for most streaming.
You can check out Vodacom’s own offerings, with high-speed internet plans perfect for gaming and streaming, on the Vodacom Fibre website.
3. Download streaming software
When it comes to streaming software, a great free option is OBS Studio. OBS Studio will capture your gameplay window, as well as other audio sources such as your microphone. OBS is also compatible with major streaming platforms. It does take a while to get used to, so you should definitely test it out before formally broadcasting your first stream.
4. Choose a streaming platform
There are multiple ways to stream your gameplay online.
The most well-known platform is Twitch, which is dedicated to game streaming. You will need to create an account to stream on the website. Twitch provides a ‘stream key’, which you will load into OBS Studio.
YouTube is another option. You will need to have a Google account to login, using YouTube to create your channel. You will then use the Creator/YouTube Studio to activate your account for live streaming. Once your account receives approval, you can use YouTube along with streaming software to broadcast.
Finally, Facebook also includes game streaming capabilities with Facebook Live. This will share your stream to a Facebook page, a group, an event or your profile timeline.