We may earn compensation from the products mentioned in this post. Please see our Affiliate Disclaimer.
Consider this before starting a gaming channel
So, you want to learn how to make a gaming channel? This is certainly no easy task, as you will be faced with a lot of adversity to work your way up from a nobody to having tens of thousands of rowdy fans in your chat window. The bar has been set high thanks to gaming channel greats like Markiplier, jacksepticeye, and PewDiePie, so you will need to come prepared with video game skills in hand, a high gaming IQ, and the charisma to keep your adoring fans entertained. But, before you become discouraged and think the gap between a new gaming channel and a mature one is too wide, just remember that every gamer had to start somewhere.
Many gamers had little to no following when they started and now have massive followings. How did they do this? Many accomplished this mainly by staying consistent and not giving up! However, there are many details of starting a gaming channel that many gamers wish they had known prior to diving in head first. Whether it’s choosing the best PC gaming hardware or selecting the best settings for your live recording, you will always end up paying for what you didn’t know in the beginning.
That’s why we have put together a complete list for how to start a gaming channel that will help boost your efforts at the beginning of your journey. Here are the steps, which we’ll explain in much more detail below:
- Get the right computer
- Choosing a PC vs. a laptop
- What to look for in a PC
- Processor (CPU)
- Memory (RAM)
- Graphics card
- Power supply unit
- Cooling unit
- Buying a pre-built machine or customizing your own
- Complete the rest of your setup
- Download the right software
- Selecting your software
- Update your software settings
- Use editing software
- Get creative with your branding
- Come up with a name
- Make a logo
- Set your profile picture and channel art
- Practice your voice
- Plan your content strategy
- Choose the game(s) you’ll play
- Make your channel unique
- Come up with your schedule
- Consider using competitive gameplay
- Promote your gaming channel
These tips should help you develop some idea of what you might need to do to prepare yourself for such a demanding career. After all, while you can make a lot of money, a gaming channel can be demanding in terms of time and personal commitment. Nonetheless, this advice should help streamline the process for you.
Get the right computer
Creating your own gaming channel will require a decent computer setup. Here are all the elements you should consider when putting together your gaming channel setup.
Choosing a PC vs. a laptop
Many gamers and content creators always ask the question, “What is the difference between a PC and a laptop?” Aside from the obvious response that one is much smaller and meant to be portable, there are actually several key performance differences between PCs and laptops. Most people get more power out of a PC because they can pack a lot more punch into it. A PC is larger than a laptop and has much more space in it to add various pieces of hardware that can make your machine run better. With a PC, you’re sacrificing mobility, while emphasizing power and performance.
Those who prefer laptops always bring up the “I can move my computer around” argument. But for YouTubers and Twitch streamers, a PC is always going to be a better choice. Unless you regularly travel, or stream outdoors, having a laptop isn’t as beneficial as having a PC. A PC provides way more power for its price. Laptops are more expensive and less powerful simply because computer part makers have yet to create hardware that is small enough for laptops, but just as powerful as what’s put into PCs. These parts are harder to develop and take more time to optimize for a laptop’s shape, functionality, and mobility.
Overall, you won’t go wrong by choosing a PC. This machine will get you on your way to starting a gaming channel in no time.
What to look for in a PC
When purchasing or customizing your own PC, you’ll want to look at the specific hardware components of the machine to make sure it will be suitable for streaming, recording, and video editing. All of these activities will require a minimum amount of power and speed. You’ll want to make sure that your computer has high-quality parts and components since you’re going to be doing some heavy tasks on it. Here are all of the parts of a PC that you’ll need to consider:
The central processing unit (CPU) is the focal point of the computer. It’s the brain that controls all the computer’s tasks, determining how many tasks that can be done at one time and the amount of time it takes to complete those tasks.
When it comes to CPUs, there are two significant players in the game: AMD and Intel. AMD’s processors are more for workstations because they have more cores which enable the quick creation and editing of videos. Those who want a faster computer for creating and editing videos should go for a PC with an AMD processor. According to Userbenchmark.com, AMD’s Threadripper 2990WX currently stands as the best computer processor for workstations because it has an astounding 32 cores. These cores will help to render and to edit much more efficiently, creating a faster video editing experience.
However, when it comes to the best processor for a gaming PC, Intel wins the battle. Those who want to game faster and increase their frames per second (FPS) for clunky games choose a computer with an Intel processor. Currently, the fastest processors by Intel are in their i9 series, which are specifically made for gaming PCs. Twitch streamers with double PC setups may want to invest in an Intel processor for their gaming rig. This will maintain the gaming experience without sacrificing the power needed for streaming on the PC.
The motherboard is the air traffic controller of the computer. It is a printed circuit that coordinates all the processes, makes sure power is routed correctly, and connects all the components of a computer together. The motherboard is one of the cheapest parts of a machine. The important thing here is that you want to make sure that the rest of your components on your computer are compatible with your motherboard.
The memory of a computer helps it run tasks faster. Random access memory, or RAM, allows computers to access files quickly and run multiple processes at once without any lags. The more RAM a machine has, the more background processes it will be able to have run at the same time.
For your PC, it’s going to be essential to have enough RAM so that you can stream and record your play of video games at the same time. Video editing also will go a lot smoother if you have more RAM. We recommend having at least 16 GB of RAM in your machine so that editing, playing, and watching something on your computer will not be a problem. RAM can also help when streaming since streaming leaves a massive toll on your RAM.
The graphics card, or video card, is arguably one of the most critical parts of your computer. It is the component that makes your games appear photorealistic without crashing your computer or slowing your gameplay. A machine with a good graphics card will be able to display more frames per second while playing video games. Having a higher FPS leads to smoother gameplay, better visuals, and realistic reaction time. You’ll notice higher resolutions and increased texture detail on your screen. While a 30 FPS rate is standard for most computers, we recommend aiming for at least 60 FPS. However, 120 FPS would be even better but will require a monitor with 144Hz refresh rate.
You’ll want to get a pretty powerful graphics card, which will enable you to both play and stream or record at the same time. If you’re looking to stream, having a better graphics card will increase the visual appeal of the game. Naturally, both gamers and viewers are attracted to better-looking graphics, and streaming a game in 1080p vs. 480p is a big difference.
Currently, two of the most powerful graphics card are the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 and the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC. These two both set the bar for graphics cards as they are miles ahead of any other graphics card. The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 and EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti are also excellent choices that are not as new but are significantly cheaper.
While you may not know precisely how much storage you’ll need on your computer, it’s better to go with a higher estimate and have more space than you may actually need. Video files and editing software do take up quite a bit of room and will require that your machine has enough storage. We’d recommend at least 1 TB drive, but if you can splurge for a 2 TB, that should be more than enough space.
You’ll also need to choose between a hard drive disk (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD). HDDs are cheaper, and you can typically get more storage space. SSDs are faster, lighter, more durable, and use less energy. SSDs also have faster load times for gaming and applications. Because of that, we highly recommend an SSD over an HDD.
Power supply unit
Even though it might seem obvious, you need electricity to power your computer. You’ll want to make sure you get a high-quality power supply unit (PSU) so that you don’t run into any issues with your PC. Don’t settle for a cheap PSU because it could burn out the rest of your components in the machine. With PSUs, it’s all about wattage. The more wattage a PSU is compatible with, the more expensive it will be. Again, we recommend going on the higher side here in terms of wattage.
Keeping your computer cool is actually one of the most critical components of your machine. Heat builds up quickly within a computer, and if it overheats, your parts can burn out. Yikes! To help combat the heat, you’ll need a cooling unit for your PC.
When it comes to cooling units, you have the option of choosing between old-school fans or the new-age liquid coolers. Fan (or air) coolers are the cheaper option. A great choice for a fan cooler is the Noctua NH-D15 or the Cryorig R1 Universal.
We recommend liquid coolers because they are more effective at keeping your machine cool. Some great options for liquid coolers are the NZXT Kraken X62, Thermaltake Floe Riing 360, and Corsair H115i 280mm.
Buying a pre-built machine or customizing your own
So now that you’ve learned everything that goes into a computer, you’ll need to decide whether to buy a pre-built machine or to customize your own. Purchasing a pre-built computer is typically a cheaper option, but you don’t have much flexibility in terms of the components that go into the machine. What you see is what you get.
That’s why we recommend customizing your own PC. Many different companies can help you create a custom PC, such as CyberpowerPC, ORIGIN PC, IBuyPower, Digital Storm, and more. They make the process simple and easy and will assemble the computer for you.
If you want even more control over the computer components, you can also build the PC yourself. It sounds difficult, but it is way easier than you may think! With websites like Amazon, PCPartPicker, and Newegg you can search, find, and purchase all the parts you need. PCPartPicker will list out the components required for a PC and show the price and website for each part. It will also account for part compatibility within motherboards and CPUs and considers the power necessary for the PC to run.
Overall, you’ll probably find that customizing your machine will be the best option for your computer. After all, you want to make sure you have a high quality, well-performing computer so that you can game, stream, record, and edit videos. Investing in a well-built computer is a necessity if you want to start a gaming channel!
Complete the rest of your setup
Once you have your computer built and ready to go, you’ll need to make sure the rest of your setup is solid.
This might be obvious, but you’ll need at least one monitor for your gaming channel setup. For streamers, we recommend actually having two monitors. One will be for your gameplay, and the other will be so you can view your stream and chat with your viewers.
You don’t just want to settle for any old screen. You’ll want to find one with a suitable refresh rate, which is calculated in hertz (Hz). For the general population, 60Hz monitors are just fine for the average viewing or indulgence of video games. But the human eye can actually decipher much more than 60Hz. So having a 144Hz monitor or greater is a huge benefit when gaming on your computer.
If your computer build is powerful enough, you will be able to utilize this 144Hz to its full capacity. It will help your gameplay look smoother and more appealing to the eye. If your rig is extremely powerful and is top notch in terms of components, you’ll want to get a 240Hz monitor if possible. The 240Hz is not a massive difference from the 144Hz, but it is still noticeable as it creates even smoother gameplay. If you have a graphics card that allows up to 240 FPS, you’ll need a 240Hz monitor.
It is important to note that for video editing and streaming the high refresh rate in your monitor is not required. We’d recommend getting a high-quality 144Hz or 240Hz monitor that is strictly for playing video games on your PC. Some great models are the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q (165Hz), Dell Gaming Monitor S2417DG (165Hz), ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q (240Hz), and Acer XF250Q Cbmiiprx (240Hz). Your other monitor could be a medium-quality 144Hz or 60Hz monitor like the AOC Agon AG271QX (140Hz).
The microphone is an integral part of creating a gaming channel. It is what your audience hears! So having a cheap microphone that produces sub-par quality sound is detrimental to your channel’s success. People aren’t going to want to watch your content if all they hear is static noise in your stream. Higher quality microphones will have a gain control and other features that will blur out noises such as background noise and other ticks.
A cheap, yet reliable option would be the Blue Snowball. This is a great option to start out with. One of the best microphones out in the market is the Shure SM7B, which is a professional quality microphone that is used in recording studios. However, if we had to choose, we’d recommend the Blue Yeti, which is an excellent option because it has a lot of useful features and produces high-quality sound. It will also not break the bank because the price is pretty reasonable.
When purchasing a mic, you’ll also want to purchase a pop filter, which is a shield that acts as a noise protection filter for microphones. It helps reduce or eliminate popping sounds caused by the mechanical impact of fast-moving air on the mic during recordings. You will also likely will need a boom scissor arm for the microphone. This will attach to your desk and allows you to easily move and pivot the microphone around in an ideal position for recording.
Another part of your setup that you’ll need is a solid pair of headphones. These will plug in directly to your microphone or your computer. You’ll want to find a pair of headphones that are comfortable to wear because you’ll likely be wearing them for long periods of time while streaming or recording. It’s also a good idea to get headphones that produce a high and crisp sound quality. If you’re looking for a decent pair of headphones to start out with, we recommend the Hyper Cloud II. One of the best features of these headphones is that the attachable mic is removable. You won’t be needing that since you already have a professional recording mic!
If you want to get the best headset possible for streaming and gaming, you should check out the Victrix Pro AF ANC. Not only are these super comfortable and have phenomenal sound quality, but they are also noise canceling. They also have a pretty nifty cooling switch to keep your ears from overheating! These headphones were initially developed for pro eSports gamers, but they are also highly recommended if you are streaming or recording.
The final piece to the setup puzzle is a webcam. A webcam is basically a camera that is perched on top of your monitor and allows you to record yourself while gaming. This is recommended as it helps you connect to your viewers by making your videos and streams a more personal experience. People want to know who they’re watching behind that screen and they want to put a face to your name.
Download the right software
So now that your full-on gaming and recording setup is ready to go, you’ll need to make sure you have all the correct software to help you stream and record content for your gaming channel.
Selecting your software
There are many different software options that you can choose from when it comes to streaming and recording. If you want to go the free route, the best by far is Open Broadcaster Software or OBS. This is highly regarded as the best recording software available. It’s completely free and once you get the grips with the setup and functionality of the program, using OBS is a breeze. OBS enables you to easily add overlays to your videos or streams, which is a crucial factor in drawing in viewers. The downside of OBS is that there is a steep learning curve and it is not something that you can just pick up in a day. Paid alternatives to OBS include Vmix, Xsplit, Fraps, and Nvidia Shadowplay.
Another alternative to OBS is Streamlabs OBS. It’s a bit more user-friendly is used by some of the biggest streaming giants like summit1g and Ninja. It lets you access premade overlays and follower/subscriber notifications. Plus Streamlabs OBS seems to run a bit smoother when streaming, which certainly helps!
Update your software settings
The settings of your recording and streaming software will vary from person to person. The most critical factor when streaming is the output resolution. At a minimum, your output resolution should be 1920 x 1080, which is also called 1080p. Recording in anything under this that would just be an eyesore for your viewers and wouldn’t be in high-definition. You’ll also want to make sure that at a minimum, you’re using 60 frames per second (FPS), which will depend on your processor (CPU) and graphics card (GPU).
Another essential software setting is x264 vs. NVENC. Usually for streaming x264 is preferred because it uses your CPU over your GPU. Because playing most videos games requires heavy usage of your GPU, having your streaming or recording software set on x264 is a standard. But some video games like CS:GO rely more on CPU, which means NVENC is preferred. Your choice should also depend on what kind of CPU and GPU your computer is using. If your CPU is more powerful, you should use x264. But if your GPU is more powerful, then use NVENC. This will help balance both your recording quality and gameplay.
If you’re planning on streaming via your gaming channel, you’ll also want to check your bitrate settings. Bitrate is the amount of data you are sending to streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming when you stream. A higher bitrate takes up more of your available internet bandwidth. Increasing your bitrate can improve your video quality, but only up to a certain point. As such, the suggested setting for bitrate is 4500 to 6000 kbps. This will help make your stream look less choppy and crisper. The last thing viewers want to watch is a blurry stream, so that’s why bitrate is critical.
Use editing software
Editing your videos will help you attract viewers because it allows you to fine-tune your gaming videos and put them through post-production. Chances are after you record a video, you’re going to need to do some cleanup. You might need to delete a scene or fix the coloring. Editing software allows you to do things like this! With this software, you can add branding, overlays, text, music, and much more. It basically allows you to put the finishing touches on your video before uploading and sharing them with the world.
And the good news is that there are many different editing software out there for you to choose from. One popular editing software is Vegas Pro. This software has everything you would ever need in a video editor, including all the tools to create the best video possible. It is worth noting that it costs +$500.
An alternative to Vegas Pro is the Windows Video Editor or iMovie. Both are free programs that don’t have as many features but are still good for channels starting out that need minimal editing. Another great choice is Hitfilm Pro. This has a clean interface and has many different functions similar to Vegas Pro. Hitfilm is an excellent alternative for those looking for a more advanced editing software than iMovie or Windows Video Editor, but aren’t willing to pay the hefty price tag for Vegas Pro.
Get creative with your branding
You’ve now made it past all of the technical requirements needed to start a gaming channel. Congrats! But the work doesn’t end there. Next, you’ll need to set your personal brand for your channel.
Come up with a name
The first step for branding is coming up with a name for your gaming channel. For most people, this is a nickname or alter ego that they call themselves. It could be your gamer handle. Whatever it is, just make sure it’s unique and distinguishable. Your name will quickly become the face of your gaming channel and will help people recognize you a lot more easily. You should try and choose a name that will ring a bell whenever it gets brought up!
Make a logo
Most legitimate gaming channels have an official logo. This is another way to make your channel recognizable and memorable. People are mostly visual learners, and they remember images and pictures quite easily. As such, a logo will be an essential way to get viewers to remember who you are! You’ll want to choose something unique and different, ideally something that has never been seen before. Choose colors that are vibrant and bright so that they stand out. And of course, consider placing your channel name as text within the logo.
Set your profile picture and channel art
You have another great chance at making an impression on viewers thanks to your profile picture and channel art. Though relatively small parts of your channel, they are still just as fundamental. Throughout the comment section of YouTube, profile pictures are everywhere. The default picture of the initials of your username over a solid color background is quite underwhelming and even an off-putting choice for a profile picture, as it conveys a general idea that you are a novice. That’s why it’s a great idea to upload your logo as your profile picture.
Similarly, a default channel art is fitting with the rest of the default YouTube style, but it indicates your lack of investment and care in your channel. Channel art is a great way to emphasize your channel’s brand and style. For instance, Markiplier’s channel art conveys his emphasis on the playthrough of horror games, whereas PewDiePie and jacksepticeye display their artwork as more emblematic of their general channel motif and style.
Both your profile picture and channel art are great ways for you to make an impression on your audience. And you’ll want them to walk away remembering what your channel looks like so they will come back again to check out your videos or streams.
Design your thumbnails
To catch the interest of passing users, you are going to want to create an attractive thumbnail. Ideally, one that is eye-catching and irresistible. To do so, you can either use footage from your own games and spice it up with visual techniques such as placing multiple colored shapes or arrows to draw your audience in.
A famous example of this would be in the popular YouTube channel Ali-A. Originally a Minecraft YouTuber, Ali-A’s channel really took off with the growth of the hit battle royale game, Fortnite. He flooded the YouTube community with Fortnite clips aimed at children with his signature blaring theme song. Though he has become more of a punching bag rather than a respected member of the community, there is no denying that he puts effort into making his thumbnails clickable. A mere look at his video thumbnails shows his extensive use of bright colors and slight saturation increase to enhance colors and attract eyes. He also uses tantalizing hooks in his video titles. By doing so, his videos become tempting to watch and interesting to experience, even though they lack much substance other than his overblown commentary.
Practicing your voice
Although it might sound like strange advice to tell you to practice your voice, it is spot on advice when it comes to your gaming channel. Having a clear and recognizable voice will help you gain attention in your videos. Make sure that you’re using the right tone when you speak and don’t sound monotonous. It might make sense to do a few test runs of recording and playback the video to listen to your own voice. You don’t want to make your viewers fall asleep while they’re watching you!
Plan your content strategy
You’ll now need to choose what your content will be. This is a considerable part of streaming and recording because it dictates what you’ll show and talk to viewers about. You definitely need a strategy for your content, and it is something you should think about early on.
Choose the game(s) you’ll play
The premise of your gaming channel is that you’re going to be playing one or more video games. This means that you will need first to choose a game or multiple games that will be a part of your content strategy. But when it comes to streaming and recording gaming content, there’s a significant difference between games that you can play and games that you should play if you want to be successful. The popularity and likeability of a game can significantly affect your following and viewership.
If you are playing a top-rated game that already has an established following, like Fortnite for example, you will most likely get buried under a mountain of more popular streams. While you may be very good at Fortnite, chances are you are not going to be able to beat out the likes of Ninja and Tfue. Instead, your best bet is to play a game that has a smaller following so that you can build your way up without being too overshadowed by streaming giants. Once you have a small audience, you can afford to branch out into playing other games, where you can find more people who are already loyal to you and are appreciative of your content.
Make your channel unique
There are millions of content creators out in the world who have a gaming channel on various platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming. This means that you have millions of competitors that you will have to duke it out with to gain followers and viewership. With so many options to choose from, viewers have the ultimate upper hand here.
And that’s precisely why you’ll need to do something to stand out. Find your angle and what makes your channel unique and different from all the other options out there. You can’t just rely on the fact that you think your content is interesting or that you have a comedic personality. There has to be more substance to your gaming channel! Spend some time thinking about what you can add to your content to make it appealing and unforgettable. This might take a little while, but trust us, this is probably one of the most critical steps throughout the whole process of setting up your channel.
Come up with your schedule
It is essential to design your uploading and streaming schedule in advance to make sure you are keeping your viewers engaged. You should plan around days and times when more viewers are online and ready to watch content. For example, the weekends are a great time to stream or upload videos because more people are online.
A schedule is also crucial so you can make sure you’re consistently producing content for your channel. If you go too long without activity and have large gaps, your viewers and fans might forget about you. You need to establish a tight and well-coordinated schedule that has a good cadence for posting and streaming so that your audience doesn’t get bored!
It’s also super helpful to keep your schedule consistent from day-to-day or week-to-week. We recommend keeping more or less the same program each week so that your viewers know exactly when they can expect to watch your content. Another tip is to publish your schedule on your channel and on various forms of social media. It’s helpful to let your viewers and fans know when you will be online so that they know when to tune in to watch you.
Having set uploads and streaming times allows for a more organized channel. If you want your viewers to come back and continue to keep watching your channel, having a set schedule will be critical!
Consider using competitive gameplay
A great thing to consider is whether to include competitive gameplay in your content strategy. People love competition and can’t get enough of watching gamers play against each other when it counts. So if you’re attempting to reach a broader audience, you should consider playing highly competitive video games like League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). You can use platforms like FACEIT to join in competitions and then generate your gameplay footage from those competitions. FACEIT is an excellent option because it pairs you with other gamers who are at a similar skill level, which will help eliminate the chances of you being way better than the competition or much worse. You don’t want viewers to think that the enemies were trash or that your team carried you!
Promote your gaming channel
The last step that we recommend for your gaming channel is to promote it! However, this should only be done after all the basics are in place. Don’t start to promote until you are show-ready. You want to make sure that you have a high-quality channel to share with viewers, not something that is half-way thought through and still under construction.
So once your channel is officially ready and launched, you should do everything you can to get the word out. Use various methods of social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit to share your channel with others. Comment on other Twitch or YouTube channels to get your name out there. If you are persistent with sharing and promoting your gaming channel, your hard work should start to pay off! The critical thing here is not to stop. It only takes one video to go viral and catapult yourself into gaming channel royalty!
It’s time to start your gaming channel
So there you have it! You’ve now read all the steps that teach you how to start a gaming channel. Following these steps will hopefully help you get a kickstart on your new career or hobby. While it certainly won’t be a walk in the park, it’s much easier to start something when you have a guide on how to do so.
Before you can even think about launching your gaming channel, you’ll need to make sure you have the right set up, which includes assembling a formidable computer and secondary accessories like monitors and a microphone. You’ll also need to download high-quality software that allows you to stream, record, and edit your videos.
Once you have the technology and equipment basics down, you’ll need to turn to your branding and content strategy. Those must both be put into place before you can go live with recording. Finally, once you actually launch your gaming channel, you’ll need to actively promote it online through various social media platforms.
Hopefully, by now, you feel much more equipped on how to start your gaming channel. Good luck!