All the tech you need to become a pro Twitch streamer

Talented South African gamers can show off their skills to a global audience on game streaming services like Twitch, provided they have the right combination of hardware.

One of the benefits of broadcasting on international streaming sites is that you can earn money in foreign currencies like US dollars, British pounds, or euros.

In relative terms, a $10 donation might feel the same to some US citizens as R70 to South Africans (according to the World Bank’s purchasing power parity index). But that same $10 is worth around R190 to a South African at current exchange rates.

Streamer Facts has calculated that a Twitch user who streams to an average of just five to 10 viewers can make between $50 and $200 (R948 and R3,793) per month.

That’s assuming you stream more than 1.5 hours per day, every day.

With 20 viewers, that could increase to as much as $400 (R7,539) per month.

Twitch offers a range of potential revenue streams, including:

  • Donations — Viewers can donate to your PayPal account before you qualify as affiliate or partner.
  • Subscriptions — Reward fans with perks like custom emotes, subscriber badges, and ad-free viewing in return for a monthly subscription priced between $5 and $25, half of which goes to you.
  • Brand deals and sponsorships — Some companies are willing to pay streamers with large enough audiences to promote their products.
  • Merchandise sales — If you have built up a large following and unique streaming identity, your viewers might show interest in buying items like mugs, bottles, shirts, mousepads, and other gear with your trademarks.
  • Ad revenue — Affiliates and partners can monetise ads of varying lengths. The more viewers that see an ad, the higher the ad revenue.
  • Twitch bits — Affiliates and partners can earn this virtual currency from viewers’ responses, with one bit being worth 1 US cent.

To start making money on Twitch or other game-streaming platforms, you will need an assortment of hardware and software.

The components required for a highly-capable setup are summarised below.


Premium gaming rig and peripherals

Firstly, you will require a gaming PC or console to play the games you want to stream and broadcast your gameplay.

The specifications will depend on the types of games you plan to play.

Although single-player games often feature high-fidelity visuals, many popular online multiplayer shooters with large streaming audiences are not that demanding.

However, you should consider that streaming requires video to be encoded and decoded, which will put extra strain on your graphics card.

Therefore, it is good to buy a system that is slightly more powerful than what you would require.

Recommended options (not including peripherals):

  • MSI MAG CODEX X5 Gaming PC — R36,080 (Progenix)
  • Lenovo Legion Pro 5 laptop — R34,539 (Dreamware Tech)
  • Xbox Series X/PlayStation 5 — R13,999 (multiple retailers)


Extra monitor

An extra monitor is essential for viewing your chat feed and streaming software on the side while having your game window over your entire main display.

It does not need the best specifications, as it will be used for fairly basic apps.

An entry-level full HD monitor with 60Hz refresh rate will likely be more than sufficient for most users’ needs.

Recommended options:

  • Asus VP228HE 21.5-inch monitor — R2,099 (Takealot)
  • Dell SE2222H 21.5-inch monitor — R1,999 (Incredible)
  • LG 24-inch Full HD monitor — R1,999 (HiFi Corp)


High-quality camera

Although not compulsory, showing your face to the audience can be a good way for them to feel more engaged with you.

Viewers will feel more involved in your experience if you show them your emotions and reactions during gameplay.

A built-in or basic 720p webcam might suffice when you start out, but a dedicated 1080p or 4K streaming camera with a higher frame rate can give your channel a more premium feel.

Recommended options:

  • OBSBot Tiny 2 — R7,992 (Makro)
  • Corsair Elgato Facecam — R3,557 (Wootware)
  • Logitech C922 Pro HD webcam — R1,999 (Takealot)


Streaming microphone

Your voice and commentary on in-game events can play a big role in attracting more viewers to your channel.

Audiences are also more likely to be supportive if you thank them for their participation and contributions in your own voice.

A headset microphone might do the trick for most, but if you want crystal clear quality with minimal distortion during the outbursts of frustration when you inevitably lose a game, then you will need a dedicated microphone with advanced functionality down the line.

Recommended options:

  • Shure MV7 — R5,588 (Takealot)
  • Sennheiser Profile Streaming Set — R4,653 (Wootware)
  • Razer Seiren Mini — R1,199 (Makro)


Lights

Despite repeated warnings about how bad a computer screen can be for our eyes when the rest of the room is dark, gamers like a dark room.

However, your viewers might prefer to see what is going on.

In addition to shedding some light on the situation, a strategic lighting setup can add mood to your feed.

Recommended options:

  • Corsair Elgato Ring Light Premium — R5,299 (Wootware)
  • Corsair Elgato Key Light Mini — R2,199 (Evetech)


Stream Deck

A streaming deck is a mini dedicated keyboard with large buttons — physical or touch-based — for controlling various aspects of your streaming setup.

While not an essential piece of kit, it can make it much easier to perform tasks like switching between cameras or scenes, going live or suspending a stream, or playing sounds on your stream.

Corsair’s Elgato brand pretty much has a monopoly when it comes to this component.

Recommended options:

  • Corsair Elgato Stream Deck XL — R5,594 (Wootware)
  • Corsair Elgato Stream Deck MK.2 — R3,099 (Wootware)
  • Corsair Elgato Stream Mini Deck — R1,499 (Evetech)


Streaming software

Broadcasting software allows you to screencast and live stream with features like real-time capture, scene composition, and recording and encoding video in high quality.

One major benefit of the software is that it allows you to simulcast to multiple platforms.

Recommended options:

  • OBS Project — Free
  • Twitch Studio — Free
  • Streamlabs — Free or $149 per year for Ultra version


Fast and consistent Internet connection

Lastly, you won’t get far without a fast and reliable Internet connection — no one wants to watch a bad-quality, stuttering video.

Twitch requires a minimum Internet upload speed of 6Mbps for 1080p streaming.

Any entry-level fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) package on a major network should be able to do this, as long as you don’t have multiple household members regularly backing up their cloud storage.

Various uncapped fixed-LTE and 5G packages can also support this speed, but this will often depend on the specific usage terms of your product and congestion in your area.

Broadcasting video over a prolonged period will also consume lots of data, so an uncapped or high-allocation package is essential. For LTE and 5G services, that means you need to watch out for the fair usage policy.

Recommended options:

  • 50Mbps or higher speed uncapped FTTH packages — Available from R509 per month
  • 50Mbps or higher speed uncapped  fixed-5G — Available from R595 per month
  • 50Mbps or higher speed uncapped fixed-LTE — Available from R949 per month (with 1TB FUP)

Now read: Clear Access offering 40Gbps fibre at rAge Expo 2023

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All the tech you need to become a pro Twitch streamer