The most recent trend in gaming has taken the industry by storm, turning customers into self-made millionaires in just a few short years. The invention of online video game streaming created a way for gamers to make a living doing what they love, without even leaving the comfort of their own home. But how did they get started?
While the setup for streaming may look complicated, it’s actually quite simple. Anyone can stream games with a few basic pieces of equipment. If you’re interested in becoming a streamer, you should definitely check these products out!
Gaming gear and peripherals can be pricey, making it hard for some people to start their streaming space. Luckily, we’ve done most of the groundwork for you, and have a handful of affordable, quality products that will cover all your streaming needs. All you need to bring is your basic gaming setup – computer or console!
Our Pick: HyperX Cloud MIX or HyperX Cloud II
The first thing you’re going to need is a headset. Whatever your budget, you can pick up a decent headset from your local tech shop or Amazon. When choosing a gaming headset, we suggest reading online reviews and testing them out before buying. You’ll want to make sure the headset is comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time and sounds decent. We also recommend choosing a headset with a microphone. Headset mics might not sound the best, but you’ll need one to get started if you aren’t purchasing a traditional microphone right away. Our current go-to gaming headset is the HyperX Cloud MIX, which features both a boom mic and built-in mic, sounds great, and is Bluetooth compatible. If you’re looking for something more affordable, try the HyperX Cloud II.
Our Pick: Elgato HD60 S
If you’re a console player with access to a basic laptop or computer (capable of running streaming software) all you need to connect the two is a game capture. We recommend the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S, as it’s the most trusted model available. The HD60 S takes the signal from your console and sends the display to both your monitor and the streaming software on your computer. That way, you can play console games and stream directly to your channel! This is the perfect option for anyone wanting to stream, but can’t afford a full gaming PC. By taking the processing load off your computer, you don’t need to spend nearly as much to achieve a working stream setup.
Our Pick: Razer Kiyo
While a webcam isn’t necessary for streaming, having a face-to-face connection with your community can seriously help your channel grow. Fortunately, there are many affordable models of webcams available from a multitude of providers. The two webcams we’d suggest are the Razer Kiyo and the Logitech C922. Both webcams offer high-def 1080P quality and are compatible with most green screens. These two models are in constant competition for the best streaming webcam, so we suggest you do some research to find out which is best for you. Personally, we prefer the built-in ring light of the Kiyo, as it’s useful for 3-point lighting, or can even be used as your main ring light in a pinch.
Our Pick: Neewer 480 LED Kit II
Much like the webcam, lighting isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s helpful to have options when you’re ready to upgrade your setup. Lighting can be incredibly expensive, but Amazon offers some affordable lighting kits that get the job done. Our recommendation is to go for an LED panel light, rather than the large soft boxes. Soft boxes may look great, but they take up a lot of space, and tend to heat up if left on for longer periods of time. LED panels are much more compact and less risky, especially if you’re worried about dogs or people knocking them over. This setup comes with two lights, two stands, two carrying cases, and features bi-colour, dimmable bulbs. This will help balance out the yellow or white tones in your space and you can adjust the brightness to your liking. We’ve found them to be quite reliable and comparable to more expensive models.
Our Pick: Elgato Collapsible Green Screen or Photography Paper
If you’re going for the full lighting setup, you might as well pick up a green screen. Green screen purchasing is an exercise in patience, but the end result is often quite rewarding. Most people think a green screen has to be fabric, but the truth is that fabric can be your worst enemy. Fabric green screens need to be ironed, steamed, and set up perfectly to avoid wrinkles. To solve this problem, we suggest either going for an expensive collapsible green screen, like this Elgato model, or sticking with regular green cardstock paper. You can pick up a roll of cardstock paper from your local photography shop for less than $40, and have enough to last you multiple setup changes. The best part about working with paper is that you can cut it to be whatever size you need. Keep in mind that, if you are planning on using a green screen, you will need a lighting setup. Otherwise, it might show up patchy and uneven on stream.
Our Pick: Blue Yeti vs. AT2020 vs. Shure SM7B
Upgrading from a headset microphone to a traditional one is often the first thing a streamer wants to do, but also tends to be the most expensive. With so many knock-off microphones available, it’s hard to tell which are worth purchasing and which will be a complete waste of money. You’ll also need to ask yourself whether you’re looking for a USB microphone or a condenser that connects through an interface.
We can tell you, right from the start, that spending less than $100 on a microphone setup is taking a risk. Decent microphone components are expensive, and you won’t find many worthwhile products that cheap. The most popular streaming microphone is the Blue Yeti USB microphone. This comes as the most highly recommended for sound quality and multiple polar patterns. The Blue Yeti works great for streamers who don’t live with other people (or pets), but is a terrible option for anyone worried about outside noise interrupting your stream. In order to get a decent microphone that won’t pick up everything around you, you may need to spend quite a bit more.
Currently, the best microphone for content creation is the Shure SM7B, but that model will cost you over $500, not including additional hardware to use it with your computer. If you’re interested in an affordable condenser microphone – which also requires an interface and additional hardware – try the Audio Technica AT2020. It might not be as good as the SM7B, but the price is much more attractive.
Microphone Starter Kit
Our Pick: Neewer NW-800 Kit
If these models are out of your price range, we’ve personally used the Neewer NW-800 microphone kit, which comes with everything you need to use the condenser mic with your computer. While you are taking a risk with purchasing cheap components, the amount of gear included in this kit makes up for the cost. Even if you aren’t planning to use the microphone itself, you can still utilize the included boom arm, shock mount, pop filter, foam cap, XLR cables, 48V Phantom Power supply, and adapter. It’s quite an impressive kit for under $70, but do keep in mind that quality may vary. This setup certainly won’t last forever, but it’s a great starter kit!