Twitch is currently the most popular platform for hosting a wide range of live streams. It initially began as a platform for streaming video games but has now become the ultimate destination for broadcasting content catering to various interests. In July 2022, it averaged approximately 8 million viewers per day.
Numerous individuals have built successful careers on Twitch by fully committing themselves to streaming, and they have been able to generate a considerable income from it. Therefore, we would like to share some valuable advice on how to start streaming on Twitch and monetize your efforts.
What to Consider Before Starting Twitch Streaming?
First and foremost, you need to determine what you want to showcase to your viewers. This can be both the easiest and most challenging aspect, as it doesn’t require additional technical or specific knowledge, but coming up with an idea that captivates viewers may not be so simple.
The most obvious choice for Twitch streams is video games. Gaming is where the platform originated, and it remains extremely popular. Therefore, starting with game streaming is a logical decision.
However, there is plenty of room for creativity as well. You can try starting with popular and globally recognized video games. Twitch streams of games like Dota 2, League of Legends, Valorant, and Counter-Strike 2 are always in high demand.
Another approach is to play all the latest releases. For example, as soon as a new installment of Call of Duty is released, you can stream it right away. This tactic can be quite expensive in terms of purchasing games since major game releases can cost around $60–$70 each. However, in the end, you’ll be able to attract people who couldn’t immediately get the game or those whose PCs couldn’t run it.
But it’s not necessary to chase after popular video games to attract viewers. Many people enjoy smaller indie projects. The thing is, without your stream, someone may not have even heard of these games. Here, it’s essential to actively monitor platforms like Steam and itch.io to discover potentially interesting new releases that aren’t widely talked about. The additional advantage is that many gamers are open to experimental or conceptually challenging projects when it comes to streams.
If you think about it, there is a niche for almost any type of game. Some viewers love retro shooters, while others enjoy console classics from the ’90s. Some prefer fighting games, while others are into horror. The list goes on, and the key is finding your own approach.
You can go beyond just streaming games and create additional challenges for yourself. For example, try completing an entire game without dying or without using a specific crucial move. Such things also tend to attract viewers.
However, it’s important not to get too fixated on just one category of games, as it’s only one of the main categories on Twitch.
IRL (In Real Life) streams are also highly popular on the platform. As the name suggests, these streams focus on real-life activities, and here, your imagination knows no bounds.
People stream their shopping trips, workouts at the gym, travels, various lectures, and even casual conversations on the couch with friends. You can even set up a stream with just a webcam to interact with your subscribers. The more interesting the circumstances around you, the greater the chance of capturing the interest of new viewers.
And finally, another significant category of streams on Twitch is creativity. Or rather, any form of creative activity. Twitch streamers engage in live broadcasts where they write music, edit videos, retouch photos, cook, and those are just a few examples. People are always eager to see someone’s talents, and you can offer your unique online performances.
As you can see, there are very few limitations when it comes to the themes on Twitch. Just make sure you don’t do anything illegal.
Try to understand what you excel at the most. That’s what you should focus on during your streams. Chasing after trends is unlikely to lead you to anything substantial. Moreover, there’s always a risk of burning out if you engage in something you don’t enjoy for too long. So, think carefully about this aspect.
Next, you need to create an account on Twitch. Perhaps you already have one if you regularly use the platform. And even if you don’t, registering won’t be too much trouble. Just pay special attention to your username, as that’s how viewers will recognize you. However, you can change it if necessary.
What equipment do you need for Twitch streaming?
You can’t simply start streaming through the official Twitch website. You’ll need to download additional applications and spend some time setting them up. However, in 2022, there are plenty of conditions for beginner streamers to start broadcasting without significant difficulties. And now, we’ll discuss different methods in order of increasing complexity during the setup.
Modern smartphones also capture video with such quality that you won’t need any additional cameras. If you simply want to walk around and interact with viewers while showing them something, it’s the perfect option. For creative streams, it’s advisable to consider buying a tripod and additional lighting to enhance your appearance on camera.
Streaming from your phone is ideal if you’re traveling or simply going for a walk.
However, it does have its limitations. The most significant one is that you can forget about streaming console and PC games. But the Twitch app does support mobile games. So you can showcase games like Apex Mobile and Roblox, which already have their decent audience.
Although there are workarounds for that as well. For example, you can simply record the screen with gameplay or record yourself playing the game to convey all the emotions. Some streamers on TikTok do this, where everything is still oriented towards vertical screen viewing. Yes, it won’t look great, to say the least, but for the sake of curiosity, you can always give it a try.
The next option is streaming from consoles. This refers to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Unfortunately, streaming directly from a Nintendo Switch is not possible as the console lacks the necessary power and services.
Streaming from consoles is also convenient and straightforward. They can be started with just a couple of button presses. You only need to link your Twitch account to the console, choose a stream title, and the broadcast will start.
You can stream all the games available on consoles. Additionally, you can connect your headset to the controller to communicate with viewers. In fact, without that, you won’t be heard at all. Except for the PlayStation 5, as the DualSense controller on this console has a built-in microphone. It’s of average quality, but it’s better than nothing.
In addition to consoles, you can connect a webcam. This way, besides displaying gameplay on the screen, you can also show yourself, as streamers typically do. During the stream, viewer messages and their count will be displayed directly on the screen connected to the console.
Streaming from consoles provides the essential foundation necessary for broadcasting. However, additional features such as notifications and chat control will be unavailable to you. Yet many people visit Twitch for those additional activities, and in that case, a computer is indispensable.
Keep in mind that adequate streaming requires fairly powerful equipment. Here’s an example: the author of this text streams from a laptop with an RTX 3060 graphics card, a Core i5-11300H processor, 8 gigabytes of RAM, and an SSD. Even with such specifications, relatively simple games like Hades and Fallout New Vegas tend to lag during streams, although they work perfectly without broadcasting. It becomes necessary to optimize the settings further and stream at a resolution no higher than 720p.
Streaming heavily utilizes all computer resources. The more demanding games you plan to run, the higher the overall load will be. To stream modern games with top-tier graphics like the latest Call of Duty, you’ll need a PC costing at least a couple of thousand dollars.
Streaming is also possible on Apple devices. Optimization is slightly better on them, but the general performance requirements still apply. Therefore, it’s advisable to stream on Twitch using only the latest models of MacBook Pro or iMac.
You should also ensure how you will be heard and seen. Dealing with audio is a bit easier since you can get by with a standard and not overly expensive webcam. Many models that support Full HD resolution can be purchased for around 100 dollars. Full HD will suffice considering that streamers usually position their small webcam window somewhere in the corner.
Audio is a bit more challenging. It significantly affects how viewers perceive you, as you’ll be speaking continuously during streams. You can get by with a headset, but the sound quality will be noticeably lower.
Popular streamers use professional microphones. They are also used for recording vocals for songs and podcasts. Such microphones capture all the nuances of your voice, and the sound can be fine-tuned and processed in the finest details. In today’s reality, decent-quality microphones of this kind cost an average of 129 dollars.
However, the catch is that studio microphones use a specific connection interface called XLR. They cannot be directly connected to a PC; you’ll need to purchase an additional sound card. Musicians and sound engineers use such cards in their work. Through a sound card, you can further process the sound at the hardware level to enhance the quality of your voice. But be prepared to pay around 129 dollars for it (that’s the price of one of the most popular and high-quality sound cards in the world – the Focusrite Scarlett Solo).
There are also microphones with USB connections. They have fewer customization options, and options with high-quality sound generally cost more than their XLR counterparts. However, using USB will definitely be less hassle for you.
You’ll need to buy a stand for the microphone as well. There are special adjustable desk mounts (boom arms) that you can adjust to your liking, as well as small tripods and other supports specifically designed for studio microphones. This will cost you an additional $100 on average.
If you want to play on consoles but still have access to all the benefits of PC streaming, you’ll definitely need to purchase a capture card. It allows you to capture the game console’s video output to your PC or laptop. It’s the only way to stream Nintendo Switch games. A basic capture card costs around $100 to $200, while a more professional one can reach up to $10,000. It’s better to start with a simple option and then adjust based on your needs.
Example setup for streaming on Switch Lastly, it’s desirable but not as essential to get a second monitor. This is especially true if you plan to stream video games. With a second monitor, you can keep an eye on the game on the primary monitor while managing the stream, monitoring chat, and performing other tasks on the second monitor.
Believe me, constantly minimizing windows is very inconvenient. Using a smartphone or an additional laptop won’t allow you to do half of what many people expect from streams. So, having a second monitor is almost a necessity in professional streaming.
In the future, you may consider purchasing a small additional keyboard to assign hotkeys for scene switching, playing music tracks, and other useful nuances. To improve the stream’s quality, you can also buy a green screen for custom editing, stage lighting, and sound-absorbing panels to eliminate echo. But these are finishing touches to bring everything to perfection. They are not particularly necessary from the start.
And finally, it’s desirable but not as essential to purchase a second monitor. Especially if you plan to stream video games. With the first monitor, you’ll be able to focus on the game, while the second monitor will be used for managing the stream, monitoring chat, and other tasks.
Believe me, constantly minimizing windows is very inconvenient. And using a smartphone or an additional laptop won’t allow you to do half of what many people expect from streams. So, having a second monitor is practically a necessity in professional streaming.
In the future, you may consider getting an additional small keyboard to assign hotkeys for scene switching, playing music tracks, and other useful nuances. Furthermore, to improve the stream’s quality, you can purchase a green screen for custom editing, stage lighting, and sound-absorbing panels to eliminate echo. But these are finishing touches to bring everything to perfection. They are not particularly necessary from the start.
What software is suitable for streaming?
Now that we’ve covered the equipment, let’s move on to the software part. It’s in this area that many people stumble on their path to streaming because it’s not very obvious either. However, by 2022, some highly accessible methods to start streaming on Twitch have emerged.
As mentioned earlier, if you’re streaming from your smartphone, the regular official Twitch app is sufficient. It can be downloaded for free from the iOS and Android app stores. On consoles, there’s no need to download anything since all the software is already integrated into the operating systems of the devices.
On a PC, things are usually more complex. If you’ve never worked with video recording and streaming before, we recommend starting with the Twitch Studio program. It is developed by Twitch itself, and its main goal is to make streaming easier.
That’s why Twitch Studio has a user-friendly and accessible interface, direct integration with many Twitch features, and automatic configuration of many aspects. The program includes customizable scenes, notifications, and many other features that will help you make your streams more enjoyable.
Just keep in mind that since it’s a program for beginners, it doesn’t offer an extensive range of capabilities. However, it’s ideal for starting out because many fundamental aspects work the same way as in advanced streaming programs. It’s important to note that Twitch Studio is still in beta, so be prepared for bugs and errors.
If you’ve already become familiar with Twitch Studio (or feel confident enough to access more extensive features), you should consider the most popular programs: Streamlabs and OBS. With these programs, the possibilities for customizing your streams become truly limitless.
The choice between Streamlabs and OBS is mostly a matter of personal preference because both programs allow you to organize high-quality streams equally well. There are a few key differences.
Firstly, in terms of interface, Streamlabs looks more appealing, and it’s easier to navigate without additional instructions. Secondly, OBS is less resource-intensive on your PC. So if your technical specifications are not particularly powerful, OBS would be a better fit. And thirdly, Streamlabs has a built-in service for receiving donations from viewers. It has its nuances, which we’ll discuss in a separate paragraph about donations.
Moobot Another service that will definitely come in handy for you is Moobot. It is a dedicated bot for Twitch streams that will make your life significantly easier. Through Moobot, viewers can request their own songs, play various mini-games, and entertain in other ways.
The bot actively engages the audience by providing detailed statistics and facilitating community moderation. It’s extremely user-friendly to set up, yet it offers a wide range of features. Advanced users can even create their own commands for the bot.
Twitch Partners – What is it and how can you start earning with it?
To start earning fully through Twitch, you can become a Twitch Partner through the Twitch Partners program. It’s a way to demonstrate your commitment to streaming. It involves signing an agreement with the platform and filling out tax forms.
You can’t become a Partner right from the start. You need to meet several requirements:
- Reach 50 unique followers.
- Stream for a minimum of 8 hours in the last 30 days.
- Stream on 7 different days.
- Maintain an average of 3 unique viewers per stream.
Once you meet all the requirements, you will receive an invitation to the Twitch Partners program via email. After spending time filling out all the necessary information (and there’s quite a bit to provide, so be prepared to spend an hour or two), you will gain access to the Partner features.
One of the most obvious benefits is the ability to sell paid subscriptions to your channel. Paid subscriptions show viewers’ support and dedication to the streamer. Subscriptions usually cost a few dollars (or equivalent in local currency) and are billed monthly.
Paid subscribers get access to unique features, such as a dedicated chat and special emotes. However, the streamer needs to set these up manually.
Additionally, Twitch Partners can customize channel points to give viewers various gifts and opportunities, run additional paid ads during their streams, earn through the platform’s virtual currency called Bits, and even earn a percentage from game sales and their own merchandise if they take care of those aspects.
Twitch Partners split the earnings with the platform in a 50/50 format. Withdrawals can be made once you reach $100. However, please note that additional fees apply for SWIFT transfers, which will be deducted from your earnings from the streams.
Partnership with Twitch – What’s next?
Becoming a Twitch Partner is the final stage in building a career on the platform. If you’ve achieved partnership status, it means you’ve established yourself as a streamer and can comfortably earn a living from it as your main job.
The requirements for obtaining Twitch partnership are as follows:
- Stream for a minimum of 25 hours in the last 30 days.
- Stream on 12 different days.
- Maintain an average of 75 unique viewers per stream.
It’s worth noting that the last requirement doesn’t consider additional ways of attracting viewers, such as hosting other channels or raids, as was the case with becoming a Twitch Partner. It solely relies on your own audience.
Once you meet the requirements, Twitch will individually review your channel to assess its compliance with platform rules. If everything aligns, you can expect an invitation via email.
Twitch Partners receive a checkmark next to their username, distinguishing them from other streamers. They can also benefit from a revenue split of 70/30 in their favor, with Twitch covering all banking fees.
Twitch highlights its Partners on the main page of the website, which significantly boosts their popularity. Additionally, Partners are invited to various online and offline events to further showcase their talent.
Twitch Partners often collaborate with advertisers and major companies. As a result, individual streamers can earn tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Becoming a Twitch Partner opens up significant opportunities for growth, recognition, and financial success within the streaming community.