So, you want to become the next Twitch star, eh? Hoping to start a YouTube career? We’ve got the streaming essentials you need.
The following list of items and equipment is my personal recommendation based on the products I currently use to stream. There are going to be a wide variety of projects that can get the job done. What works for me may not work for you. So while I hope you take my recommendations to heart, please don’t be afraid to double and triple-check.
Also, don’t be upset if you don’t end up becoming the next Twitch star. At the end of the day, streaming is best pursued as a hobby.
Here is the game streaming essentials that will get you online and streaming for almost exactly $500.
Broadcast Software – Streamlabs
In order to broadcast, you’re going to need a software application to cover both the game footage, as well as any overlay graphics you use. Personally, I use Streamlabs. It’s simple and easy to use and has a good amount of control available for what I want to be displayed. I’m able to select specific screens or game captures, crop browser windows or Spotify, and specify the audio I do and don’t want to broadcast.
I can also safely say that you 100% do not need Streamlabs Prime.
One of the best parts about Streamlabs is how simple it is to use. OBS has a steep learning curve for beginners while Streamlabs can have you up and running in under an hour.
Whatever you choose, though, I highly recommend you avoid XSplit if possible. While the previously mentioned software choices are indeed streaming essentials, XSplit is, well, not a good application.
Cost: $19 / month for Streamlabs Prime (otherwise it’s free). Honestly, you don’t really need Prime but check out the attached link and decide for yourself.
Capture Card – Elgato HD60 S+
If you’re streaming console games, you’ll also need a capture card. I’ve used and trusted Elgato for years, so this is an easy recommendation for me.
The Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+ is a great way to capture your console games in 1080p at 60 frames per second while still being able to play them in 4K60. It comes with its own broadcasting software, but it also seamlessly integrates into Streamlabs.
Yes, it’s going to be on the more expensive side, but if you want to stream console footage with more than just a barebones approach, this is what you need. It’s almost the literal definition of a streaming essential.
Microphone – Blue Yeti Microphone
Now that you are set up for people to see your actual gameplay, they need to also be able to watch hear you.
First up comes the microphone. Personally, when you’re just looking to start out, there’s no better value than a Blue Yeti. There might be a bit of sticker shock for some looking to do this on a budget, but a high-quality microphone is worth its weight in gold. As someone who personally tried to make it work with a cheap, low-quality mic, I assure you that it’s not worth it.
The link above includes a combo for not just the microphone, but also a pop filter and a microphone arm. These allow you to sound crystal clear, remove any weird static or fuzz if the mic would stand on your desk, and create professional-quality audio for your stream.
As an added bonus, it’s quite literally a plug-and-play option via USB.
Webcam – Logitech C922
You do not need to break the bank when it comes to webcams, especially if you’re just starting out. Logitech has a great line of webcams that can not just get the job done, but get it done well. Personally, I use the Logitech Brio which features 4K video capture. However, the Logitech C922 is going to be a more attractive option as an entry point. It’s one I’m familiar with and used to use for both console and PC streaming as well as tabletop too.
Ring Light Kit – Neewer Ring Light Kit: 18”
This is going to be the most important tool in your arsenal. It will transform your webcam from a dark, grainy, low-quality image straight out of 2004 to a sharp, clean, and crisp image of your beautiful face.
I cannot stress enough how important this is and the Neewer ring light kit has been the most important piece of my streaming kit since I purchased it. It also comes with a convenient grip for your webcam, so you don’t have to worry about finding a place for it!
I lied; the ring light is the second most important tool in your arsenal. The first is yourself. Any and all viewers will immediately be able to tell if you’re being disingenuous. Play the games that you want to play. Act the way that you want to act. It’s already hard enough to “make it” in the world of Twitch. Trying to pretend like you’re someone else while playing an over-populated game you have no interest in will make an uphill climb even more difficult.
Besides, this is supposed to be a hobby, right? Hobbies are fun! So go out there, play some video games, and ham it up a little bit for the camera, but make sure you’re still true to yourself. Out of all the game streaming essentials we discussed, this is the biggest one you’ll need.
Hopefully, $500 isn’t breaking the bank. It’s easy to go overboard when it comes to purchasing game streaming essentials but at the end of the day, if you create quality content and you’re enjoying yourself, that’s all that matters.