Home to over 140 million monthly viewers and responsible for over 2 billion hours of broadcasted gaming goodness, Twitch is virtually the promised land for gamers. In this article, I’ll explain the essential equipment you’ll need to set up your very own streaming rig, so you can start participating in the world’s most trafficked gaming destination.
This is a total no-brainer, so we’ll move fast. Setting up and logging in to your Twitch account is as easy as clicking “Connect with Facebook.” Done—it’s a total cinch. You can also sign up for a Twitch Prime membership to get exclusive characters, skins, and even new games. And if you’re already an Amazon Prime member, all of this is free—the sweetest four-letter word ever created. Now that you’re signed up, it’s time to choose your machine.
COMPUTER VS. CONSOLE
Quick show of hands, how many people have argued with friends, family and complete strangers about the superiority of either computer or console gaming? The rivalry between computers, consoles and the gamers who prefer them is as classic as Liquid v. Solid, Ryu v. Ken and Mario v. Luigi (that brothers act didn’t fool me for a second). So, which platform is best for first-time streamers? Let’s take a look.
Full disclosure, I’ve always been a console guy. A 90’s kid born and bred, you couldn’t pull me away from my Sega Genesis, N64 or PS. But consoles have evolved far beyond the 64-bit mark and now provide highly advanced gameplay and slick ways of sharing your passion with the world. Simply put, consoles make streaming easy. If you’re streaming on a PS4, PS5, Xbox One or Xbox Series X, you can stream directly from the console—no additional software required. And if you’re a Nintendo Switch user, all you’ll need is a capture card that’ll run about $130. This is by far the easiest way to start down the Twitch rabbit hole. But what if you want to take things to the next level?
Computers give gamers the ability to hot-rod their machines for enhanced performance and expand their rig for different use cases. For this reason, most Twitch users choose to stream with a PC. Some even build multi-comp rigs that feature a dedicated PC for streaming, allowing their gaming PC to deliver competition-grade graphics and audio. But that’s a conversation for another day. To start streaming with your PC, you’ll need a high-powered Intel Core or AMD processor, a minimum of 8GB of RAM and Windows 7 or newer. Unlike most consoles, desktop PCs don’t usually come with cameras, so you’ll also need to add a webcam to your rig to capture your gaming space.
Whether you decide to start streaming on your console of choice or gaming PC super-machine, there are two other pieces of gear you’ll need to reach gaming nirvana—and that’s where Blue comes in.
Why do we tune in to some Twitch channels more than others? Mainly it’s because we love interacting with our favorite Twitch hosts. And microphones are the foremost way that the bond between host and audience is made.
Starting out, it’s important to get a microphone that’s easy to use and delivers your voice with rich detail (think Michael Ironside as Sam Fisher). USB microphones are a great way to introduce professional sound to your streams.
The Blue Yeti is the world’s #1 USB microphone and can be found on a host of popular Twitch streams. Yeti delivers the sound of Blue’s professional studio microphones so your streams always sound great. It features four unique microphone patterns (ways the mic “hears” sound) so you can record a single voice, two-person stream or record in 360-degrees with ease. Yeti also has simple controls for volume, mute and headphones, right on the mic. And if you’re looking for an even more streamlined mic for your rig, check out the Blue Snowball—getting great sound for your streams seriously doesn’t get easier.
So, your favorite game is running on your PC or console and a legion of viewers is tuned in to hear your gaming insights streamed in professional audio quality. Now it’s time to knuckle down and do what you do best—game. That’s where a high-quality pair of headphones comes in.
A great pair of headphones provides a completely immersive gaming experience and allows you to hear every detail of the gameplay. Hearing this level of detail during gameplay gives you a competitive edge against your opponents and can help you rack up wins. But even if competitive gaming isn’t your thing, the nuanced audio that headphones provide will bring new dimension to horror games or atmospheric puzzlers, and facilitates world-building in your favorite platformers. Quick side note, I’ll never forget the first time I played Silent Hill wearing headphones—I had nightmarish flashbacks of Pyramid Head so bad I couldn’t make it to geometry class.
For a pair of headphones that’ll deliver every sonic nuance of your gameplay and deliver unmatched comfort during the longest gaming sessions, check out Blue Headphones.
Ready to start streaming at the next level? The second installment in this series will discuss how you can take your rig to the majors.