How to Stream PC Games on Twitch – Ultimate Beginners Guide to Twitch Streaming

Do you have what it takes to become the next Sodapoppin or Imaqtpie?

Or perhaps you are just the best gamer you have ever met!

Either way, streaming on Twitch is not only incredibly fun, but it can also be very financially lucrative. Who knows, you might even be able to live off of it.

In this guide, we will go through everything you need to start your Twitch streaming adventure. Including how to find your stream key, how to set up OBS for Twitch and what equipment you might need.

Before we get started. Check out the recommended specifications for streaming to make sure that your setup is powerful enough to stream

Set up your Twitch Page – How to find your stream key

Official Twitch logo

First off, jump over to Twitch and create your new account or use an existing one.

Consider the fact that the name of your account can be important for your channel in the long run. Picking an excellent gamer name is often an advantage compared to using your actual name.

Get your Stream Key

  1. Click on your profile name in the top right corner.
  2. Go to Dashboard.
  3. Furthest down you will see the ”Settings” tap, and below it, there is a ”Channel” tap. Click on that.
  4. Your stream key will be on the top of the page once you click the channel tap.

Profile -> Dashboard -> Settings/Channel -> Stream Key

OBS Setup Guide – Be ready to stream in 5 easy steps

There are a lot of broadcasters out there. So, while we always recommend OBS as the ”all-around best streaming software” several other broadcasters are worth looking into. These are our favorite Twitch stream broadcaster to use in 2018.

However, for this setup guide, we have to assume you will be using Open Broadcaster Software.

Note: In this OBS setup guide we will be assuming that it is your first time setting it up and thus have no prior settings and sources.

First, go to the OBS frontpage to download the software.

1. Open OBS, and you will see a sources tab in the bottom left. Click on the plus sign to add a source.

screen capture of my OBS screen2. You will then be presented with an array of different options, but you will only be using the ‘Game Capture’ source for streaming. Note, if you plan to use OBS as a screen recorder you need to use the ‘Display Capture’ source instead.

Screenshot showing how to add a game source in obs3. Name your source and make sure that ”make source visible” is checked and then press OK. Once you have created the source, it is a good idea to start with all settings on default and then press OK again.

Note: You can always change the source settings at a later time by clicking on the game capture source and then choose the ”settings icon”.

4. Click on settings in the bottom right corner. Then go to ”Stream”.

Screenshot of OBS settings5. Copy and paste your Twitch stream key into the stream key section to link your Twitch account with OBS.

Note: Make sure that your ‘Service section’ is set to Twitch and that you choose the best server for you. Which will most likely be the closest but sometimes it is worth testing others if you have issues.

screenshot showing how to add your stream key to obs

Congratulations!

You are now ready to stream on Twitch with Open Broadcaster Software. If you want to make some changes to your settings, have a look at Twitch’s official broadcast recommendations.

6 Pro Tips before your first stream

Here are a few useful tips to consider before you start streaming.

Strexm Twitch overlay

Image Source: Strexm stream overlays

1. Create a Streamlabs account

While Streamlabs is not entirely necessary to start streaming it is a fantastic tool to improve your stream in various ways. Streamlabs is basically the multitool of streaming and has everything you might need.

With Streamlabs you can easily add simple overlays, events, cosmetics and more to your stream. Including text to speech, overlays such as daily goal and subscriber count, donation events, as well as a secure way to receive donations. These are some of the most used Streamlabs features, but it has an endless array of useful tools, and I highly recommend any streamer use it.

Official Streamlabs website. 

2. Add a Twitch Overlay

Streams without any overlays often tend to look a little dull so adding one could help spice up the viewing experience and increase user engagement, which is what it’s all about really. We’ve made a complete guide to creating a cool overlay for your Twitch stream.

3. Shine up

Let’s be honest. No one wants to watch you if you haven’t showered in two days and look like you haven’t left the house in weeks.

So do yourself a favor and wash your face and put on some decent clothes. If you feel fresh, you will look fresh!

4. Do a test stream

While you might be a complete and utter noob at this, your stream doesn’t have to look like it. Capture your screen for a few minutes and make sure that it’s running smoothly and that your sound and audio are appropriately tuned.

You can check the result of your test stream with the Twitch inspector page on your dashboard.

5. Play what YOU want to play

This might seem obvious, but a lot of streamers tend to jump on whichever game is trending at the moment. Regardless if they enjoy the game or not. So while Fortnite and League of Legends might have a LOT of viewers, it won’t really matter if you are miserable when playing them.

People will be much more likely to return to your stream if you enjoy your own stream. Unless you want to make an entire Twitch career around being super salty of course, which is actually a thing.

That being said, you might be the type of person who enjoys playing whatever your viewers enjoy watching. In that case, congratulations and by all means go play some Fortnite.

6. For the love of god TALK – Even when no one is watching

One of the most critical skill sets of a streamer is the ability to keep the audience engaged, even when nothing particularly exciting is happening. This is a talent that very few are born with but that everyone can learn.

A good exercise for any streamer when first starting out is to talk to the audience as much as possible, even when no one watching.

This might make you feel incredibly silly but don’t worry it will start to feel very normal in no time. Which in turn will make you more confident and natural when streaming and in turn be a better overall streamer.

Start your Stream

Now that everything is in ready and set up, it’s time to start your stream. Open the game you wish to broadcast and add it as a source in OBS.

Image of streaming microphoneStreaming Equipment – Stream like a pro

While you don’t need anything other than a decent computer and internet to stream on Twitch, there is a lot of gear that might make your stream more enjoyable for both your viewers and yourself.

Get a webcam

This is without a doubt the most crucial piece of streaming equipment(assuming you already have a headset with a microphone). It is hard to stress just how important using a webcam is for your success on Twitch.

Now before you start writing angry comments with the name of successful streamers that don’t use webcams. Let me be clear: you can obtain success on Twitch without a webcam, but your chances are significantly reduced, statistically.

Here are our favorite webcams for streaming

Get a good headset or a stand-alone microphone

Visuals are essential, but the importance of the audio quality on your stream should not be underestimated. So if you plan on using that 15 dollar headset you bought 4 years ago with a microphone that makes your stream sound like a long distance phone call, you might want to reconsider.

For most people, it will be entirely okay just to buy a good set of gaming headphones but if you really want that studio sound quality about your stream you should consider investing in a stand-alone PC microphone.

Upgrade your internet connection with a gaming router

Streaming is pretty hard on your internet, and if your connection is just barely good enough, then a wireless gaming router might take you across the finish line. If that sounds like you then you might want to take a look at our wireless router buying guide.

Make sure you run a speed test on your bandwidth before investing in a new router.

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