So, you’d like to get into streaming your amazing Xbox One gameplay and colorful personality on Twitch, eh? What’s that you say? You have no PC setup with a capture card, beefy enough to do this? Fear not follow console owners, I am here to tell you that you can make this work. With a few pretty basic components, a decent internet connection and a winning attitude, you and your Xbox One can kick off a potential future in the streaming world. Think of this as somewhat of a “Streaming from the Xbox One for Dummies” type article for the aspiring streamer looking to get their foot in the streaming door.
The Basic Needs
- An Xbox One
- Some fun games
- Twitch account
- Twitch App on Xbox One
- Kinect camera
- Decent Internet connection
- Laptop (preferred) or Tablet
I think it goes without saying why I listed the console and games above, so I won’t insult you with an explanation. Obviously, you’ll need a Twitch account. Go to twitch.tv and register. I will talk a little more about this later, but also consider making your channel personal to you and useful. You want those random viewers that stop by to know what you’re all about. Now that you have an account, download the Twitch app on your Xbox One. Once downloaded, you can “link” your Twitch account to the app for streaming as well as watching other channels, including those that you follow yourself.
Tip: Be active on Twitch, outside of your channel. Find other Xbox One streamers you like, that play similar games and support them by watching and hanging out in their chat. Trust me, Twitch is a lot better when you build relationships and community.
I am assuming you have the Xbox One with Kinect if you’re reading this. I say that because, while you can have a fun channel without a camera, it’s been my experience that viewers prefer to see one. You might be a little camera shy, I think that is perfectly normal. If you’re looking for any sort of success streaming games, you’ll need to work past that. Position your Kinect so that the viewers can get a view of your face if possible. Reactions are so fun to watch when someone is streaming, and make you a lot more personable!
Tip: If your Kinect is far away from you, consider moving it closer while you stream. I personally set mine on a tall chair to get a closer shot of me while I stream. On that note, forget using the auto-zoom feature, it doesn’t work well.
Now that you’ve sorted out how to let your new fans see you, let’s talk about how they can hear you. You don’t need anything fancy here, I happen to use the Xbox One headset that was included with my console and I have been very happy with the quality of it. If you have another headset, that will work also for sure. Like the camera, this is key. Viewers need to hear your reactions and interaction with the stream chat. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. As a matter of fact, don’t try to be anything else or it will come through as you stream.
Tip: You can control your mic volume through the Xbox One Twitch app. Play around with this and check out your past broadcasts (enabled on your Twitch account) to see how it sounds. I like to ask my viewers in chat how I sound and adjust accordingly. I talk with nobody watching the same that I would with 40 people watching.
A decent and stable internet connection is pretty important. You don’t want your stream to lag or drop. Upload speeds are what matter the most with broadcasting to Twitch, and this holds true regardless of whether you do this from your Xbox One or a PC. There isn’t really a set number here, but I would suggest nothing less than 5 MB as an upload speed. Can you broadcast with less? Absolutely, but you will sacrifice some quality. You can check your upload speed by running a network connection test in your Xbox One settings. Also, please use a wired connection unless you have absolutely no other choice. Wireless is convenient, but not stable enough for a quality stream.
Tip: Using the Twitch app, you can choose the quality or have the app suggest the quality of your stream. This is something you’ll want to play around with to see what works best. Don’t choose the highest quality, just to choose it. It may not work. I often go with the suggested number.
Finally, and I suppose this is debatable, but I listed having a laptop or a tablet as a necessity. I am saying this to get you off to the best start possible. Since you don’t have a PC you’re streaming from, you’ll want to do things like have bots to help you moderate (more on that later) and keep up with your chat. Having a laptop next to you, which I prefer, or a tablet at a minimum allows you to keep up with your chat. If you don’t have either, you can keep the Twitch app “snapped” on your screen to keep up with the chat as well. I don’t like giving up real estate on my TV, so I don’t like using the app snapped.
Tip: Be active with your chat, but do NOT call out anyone watching but not talking. Lurkers make the Twitch world go around and you’ll need to just entertain them into engaging with you.
Evolving Your Channel
So, you’ve been a good, attentive boy/girl and followed Uncle Rabb’s advice above. Now what? Well young Padawan, it’s time to go to work. The first thing I would suggest is, get your channel set up as I mentioned above. Take a look at some other streamer’s channels and see what you like, and what you don’t like. Work on some neat channel art. Be descriptive, but brief. Personally, I would suggest not falling into the donation trap early on also, but that is my personal opinion. If you’re doing this for money, it’s going to be a bumpy and likely disappointing ride. Do it because you enjoy gaming, and want to build a community.
Pick games you like playing, because the more fun you personally have…the more it will show in your streams. Picking the top games, may not get you the most viewers and you’ll likely be lost in the sea of other, more established, channels playing it also. Consider some indie games, or something a little older. I’ve had my best success with a year-old game like Dead Rising 3 as an example. On that note, don’t be afraid to show your personality. Rage, celebrate and be as energetic as you can. You may not have the ultimate setup, but you can win people over by being personable and in this situation it’s absolutely vital! Make sure it’s natural though, because it’s easy to tell when it’s not.
Set a schedule that you can reasonably stick to, and stick to it. You don’t have to commit to streaming 7 days a week. Start with a few days a week, for a few hours at a time. Whatever you choose, stick with it! What if your favorite TV show just came on whenever they wanted it to instead of a set day and time? You get the point. Make sure to note this on your channel! Build up your brand with YouTube, Twitter, Steam, etc. You can do this without spamming, but you also want to let people know what you’re doing. Save some of your highlights, upload them to YouTube and if you already have a YouTube channel they will want to check out your streams! Leverage what you have.
Finally, consider using a hosted moderator bot such as Moobot or Nightbot. You can tweak some settings and let them do some of the work for moderating your channel. Once you make some pals and have some regulars, make someone you trust a moderator in your channel as well to handle the troublemakers and keep the chat lively for you.
My Final Thoughts
With the setup above, you’re fighting an uphill battle right from the start and going up against channels with not only a following, but a better overall setup. Use this as a chance to prove to your viewers and yourself that you have what it takes. This setup is basically a foot in the door, a starter kit if you will. Use it to build your brand and channel, and eventually upgrade to something better to give your viewers a better overall experience. Remember, this is a marathon and was for even the most popular streamer you can find out there. Think 10 steps ahead and have a goal of where you want to be. Personally, I want to be able to stream other consoles I own and stream some PC games which will involve me getting a better gaming rig. For now, I will keep grinding using the EXACT setup I listed above and have a kick ass time doing it. If I can do this, so can you. If you build it, well…you know.