The golden age of couch co-op games may be behind us, but live streaming offers a brand new way to game with friends. Whether you’re taking a nostalgic trip down Memory Lane playing classic Halo or ending your friendships one turtle shell at a time in the latest version of Mario Kart, live streaming co-op games can be a great way to spice up your channel.
However, depending on your setup and the game you’re trying to play, it can be tricky to coordinate a seamless co-op streaming experience. In this article, you’ll learn how to live stream co-op games with your friends, as well as some of the ways streaming multiplayer games can benefit your channel.
Ready Player Two
At its core, streaming is about entertaining. When streaming solo, you’re the primary source of entertainment. Aside from the gameplay and chat window, you’ve only got yourself to rely on when coming up with ways to fill the silence. That’s why streaming with a friend is such a great way to make your stream more entertaining. With a co-host on your stream, you’re not responsible for carrying the conversation all by yourself. Plus, gaming with a friend can make your stream feel more natural, conversational and inviting for viewers.
Most streamers run a solo operation, which is why streaming co-op games can help you stand out from the crowd. Not only do you get to play a whole new genre of games, but there tend to be fewer people streaming co-op games, making it easier to become a top streamer for a particular title.
Co-op streams can also be a great networking opportunity, especially for smaller channels looking to grow their fan base. If your co-host is also a streamer, you have the added benefit of attracting their fan base to your stream (and vice versa). This can be especially helpful if you’re able to team up with a streamer who has a larger audience than you.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of co-op streaming, let’s talk about how to live stream multiplayer games.
How to Stream Multiplayer Games
When it comes to streaming multiplayer games, there are a few options. The simplest solution is for both of you to play on the same console. Depending on your setup, it may be easier to use remote play software to play together virtually. We’ll go over both options here, as well as details for capturing audio, video and gameplay for both players.
Classic Couch Co-Op
For this approach, you and your co-host both need to be in the same room, playing on the same console or computer. To capture the gameplay audio and video from a console, simply route the output to a capture card connected to your streaming computer and select this as an input source in your streaming software.
As for capturing commentary, there are several options to choose from. The simplest is to connect a USB microphone like the Blue Yeti X to your streaming computer. Place the microphone on a table in front of you and use omnidirectional or bidirectional pickup patterns to capture both of your voices.
Unfortunately, depending on the room you’re recording in, you may also capture quite a bit of background noise. Thankfully Yeti X is equipped with Blue VO!CE vocal effects, including noise reduction software that helps eliminate unwanted background noise.
For even more control over your sound, use separate microphones for both you and your co-host. To do this, you’ll need to use XLR microphones like Ember, which features a cardioid pickup pattern that helps reduce unwanted background noise, and a sleek profile that looks great on camera. Both of you should also wear headphones to hear one another, as well as the game audio. This allows you to mute the audio output from the TV or computer for cleaner audio recordings.
With this approach, you’ll need to connect both microphones to a USB recording interface. Connect the interface to your streaming computer and select this as an input source in your streaming software. Be sure to adjust the input controls on your recording interface to ensure a clean, distortion-free sound.
Finally, when it comes to video, one option is to use a single camera with a wide shot to capture both of you in one frame, but this can make your stream feel stagnant over time. Another, more immersive option, is to use the Mevo Start 3-Pack to capture the action from multiple angles—such as close-ups of you and your co-host as well as a wide shot. The intelligent Auto-Director feature automatically toggles between shots for dynamic and engaging live streams. Best of all, Mevo Start streams directly to your favorite streaming sites including Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and more.
Streaming co-op games from separate computers requires some additional setup, but is relatively easy with the right equipment. For this approach, you’ll need to make sure you’re both using the same network, which means you need to be in the same room, or at least the same building as your co-streamer.
First, have your co-streamer download NewTek’s NDI Tools, a free suite of applications that makes it easy to capture and stream video and audio from multiple sources. Then, have them use NDI Screen Capture to capture their gameplay and send it to the computer you’ll be streaming from. You’ll need to select this as a video input source in your streaming software, along with your gameplay.
Don’t worry about capturing gameplay audio from your co-streamer—listening to audio from both sources will confuse the listener, so just focus on the primary streamer. However, your co-streamer should use their own USB mic to capture commentary, which can also be sent via NDI and selected as an input source in your streaming software. Yeti Nano is a great (and affordable) option for streaming co-op games, with a cardioid pickup pattern that focuses on your voice and cuts out the rest, and a compact design that doesn’t take up space on your desk.
As for video, the Mevo Start 3-Pack is still a solid choice for streaming. With three cameras, you and your co-steamer can each have a dedicated camera for facecams, as well as a third camera to capture a wide shot of your two-person streaming setup. Best of all, Mevo Start offers seamless wireless streaming to NDI|HX destinations, making it easy to sync with your gameplay and streaming software.
Sometimes, it’s just not possible to link up with your co-streamer IRL. If this is the case, you’ll need to use a third-party service to connect using different networks. In most cases, it’s easiest to use remote desktop software, which allows your co-streamer to access your desktop remotely from their own device and share your screen.
Most remote desktop apps offer keyboard mapping and controller support, allowing your co-host to map their desired controller to the Player 2 inputs on your computer. Don’t worry—guests have limited control of your screen. They can’t control anything you don’t give them access to, so your system and privacy are protected. Here are a couple of our favorite remote desktop applications for co-op game streaming.
Parsec is a remote desktop service that makes it easy to connect with friends and play games from anywhere in the world. It offers ultra-high-definition streaming at 60fps with no lag or latency. Best of all, the Parsec Arcade offers an impressive library of multiplayer games to play with your friends.
Remote Play Together, part of Steam’s Remote Play software, allows you to share your favorite Steam games with your friends over the internet. Remote Play Together is easy to use and totally free—your co-streamer doesn’t even have to own the game you’re playing. Simply launch our game, invite a friend and start gaming.
Streaming with remote desktop software is similar to couch co-op: you share the same gameplay feed since you’re both gaming on the same system. Simply select your primary screen as a video input source in your streaming software to stream your gameplay.
It’s important to keep in mind that remote desktop software will likely require a fair amount of processing power. If you’re playing a graphics-heavy game, consider using a lightweight streaming software like Melon. Created by the same team behind Streamlabs, Melon is a browser-based streaming software that won’t bog down your computer.
To capture audio when using a remote desktop app, both you and your co-streamer will need dedicated mics. USB mics like Yeti X and Yeti Nano mentioned above work great, but if you’re looking for even more control over your sound, try an XLR mic like Ember or Blackout Spark. Just remember, you’ll also need a USB recording interface to send audio to your computer.
Next, simply select the USB mic or interface as an audio input in your streaming software to route the audio to your live stream. Depending on which remote gaming software you’re using, you may need to use third-party chat software like Discord to capture audio from your co-streamer. Have them follow the same steps above to select an audio source.
You and your co-streamer will both need your own dedicated streaming cameras, as well. Mevo Start and the Mevo Start 3-Pack are still both great options, but since you’re both streaming from your own spaces, you may opt for a dedicated webcam, like the Logitech StreamCam. With full HD 1080p resolution at 60fps, StreamCam delivers stunning video content with smooth motion and crisp details.
Ready to take your live streams to the next level? Check out our blog for more tips on game streaming, including the best microphones for streaming, how to use Streamlabs and how to make money on Twitch.