This article is sponsored by Splitmedialabs. Download XSplit Gamecaster V4 here.
What’s better than playing great games? Playing them with friends. But not just the small group of acquaintances you can fit in your living room. We’re talking about experiencing a great game with hundreds of your “friends” online through the magic of live streaming on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and Mixer.
Think of popular streaming celebrities such as Ninja, Dr DisRespect, Shroud, and Cohh Carnage — these superstars are just a tiny fraction of the huge community of broadcasters streaming their gameplay daily for their Let’s Play-loving viewers. If you’re new to the streaming community or are looking to broadcast for the first time, you might be asking yourself: how do they do it and how do they find success as game streamers? (After all, many of these streamers have millions of followers and subscribers.)
There’s no one-trick secret that will launch you into wealth and fame when it comes to streaming (that said, a great personality and impressive gaming skills help), but there is one major aspect that every streamer needs to get right to find success: the presentation. Often the very thing that scares away amateur streamers, a professional, studio-quality presentation is one of the key factors that keeps viewers engaged, whether it be through alerts and graphics or unique themes for your stream.
But there’s no need to fear the hurdles of live streaming anymore, as Den of Geek learned when we began working with XSplit Gamecaster V4, an easy-to-use streaming app that allows us to set up a pro live stream within minutes. Gamecaster is an all-in-one tool that lets you to capture your gameplay and webcam, setup customized alerts and themes, and stream directly to Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, or Facebook with just a few clicks. No more messy overlays that take time to set up or fussing with all those cables and capture cards. You don’t even need to fuss with video encoding, anymore!
Gamecaster even makes it easy to communicate with your audience and view your stream stats (so that you can keep track of all your new followers!) by allowing you to embed widgets within your game. No more switching between windows or multiple monitors to play your game and manage your stream. A simple CTRL + TAB allows you to bring up the streaming HUD while gaming. It’s really as easy as that.
If you want a visual guide to just how intuitive XSplit Gamecaster V4 is, check out the brief tutorial video below:
And here’s a full rundown of the major features you get with Gamecaster V4:
– Simple Setup. Start live streaming or recording at the click of a button. XSplit Gamecaster automatically adjusts all of the necessary encoding settings to ensure your stream is of the highest quality and performance.
– Stay in the Game. Gamecaster’s in-game HUD makes it easy to control your recording from one screen. Creators can start and stop their broadcast, toggle between scenes, interact with chat, and check out recent events and stats to help increase audience interaction.
– Custom Themes. Choose from more than 300 beautifully-designed themes or take control and build your own theme from scratch with Gamecaster’s powerful and fully-customizable editor to make your videos truly unique.
– Build Your Community. Add follower alerts, donation trackers, subscriber goals, GIFs, and more to engage your community.
– Cloud storage. Gamecaster stores all of your custom themes in the cloud, keeping your projects safe whether you are formatting your PC or broadcasting away from home.
The Gamecaster V4 is a big release for XSplit, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019. For a decade, XSplit has been working hard to make the process of broadcasting high-quality, engaging streams as seamless as possible.
“When we first started with XSplit Broadcaster back in 2010, we could not have imagined streaming growing into the juggernaut it is today,” says XSplit Gamecaster senior product manager Jon Young. “Over the years as game streaming and esports continued to explode, we worked alongside the community to shape XSplit Broadcaster to best suit their needs.”
All of this work in the live streaming space eventually led to a big realization for XSplit: there needed to be an app with a focus on making streaming easier than ever for content creators. This was the philosophy behind the development of Gamecaster V4.
“We went and explored a whole new UI, rethought the first time user experience, as well as creating new tools to fully customise the look of your stream in app,” Young says. “We also identified pain points for many would-be streamers who don’t have multiple monitors or who are streaming from a laptop, which is why we developed powerful in-game stream controls. Now you can control everything in-game without having to alt+tab when you want to switch scenes or interact with your audience.”
This simplicity is what Young belives sets Gamecaster V4 apart from its competition.
“We are confident in saying that we believe XSplit Gamecaster V4 is by far the fastest and easiest way to start live streaming and recording with all the bells and whistles. No other app out there has an in-game overlay complete with the ability to completely manage your stream,” Young says. “As an XSplit user you also get access to a range of apps and utilities that aren’t available anywhere else. We have a free video editor for quickly splicing together clips, XSplit VCam that offers background removal and blurring with any webcam, and then of course XSplit Broadcaster, our powerhouse streaming app that allows for complex tournament level streams and broadcasts.”
Do streamers who choose XSplit go on to find success? Young says absolutely.
“Over the years XSplit has had a ton of success stories. In fact many creators that have built brands, and in some cases small business empires, started out with XSplit. We’re used by a number of creators big and small, and recommend you drop by our website to see some of these stories on our blog and on our homepage where we highlight just some of our 13 million strong community of streamers and content creators world wide.”
For a look at how XSplit can improve your live streaming experience, just look at this before and after video of how Gamecaster improved our own Twitch streams:
As you can see we went with the clean “Broadcast” theme, which includes a webcam overlay as well as widgets for our social handles, new followers, and more. Now Den of Geek Plays is ready for the air! Our initial streams lacked these overlays as well as engaging alerts and a theme, but that was a simple fix with Gamecaster.
Young says simplifying the graphic creation process of live streaming was the very goal of Gamecaster V4: “Not everyone has to be a designer to make a stream look beautiful, but the way you present yourself can make a difference. If you need a hand, this is where our extensive library of free themes can help…We developed a system that not only gives users the ability to choose from hundreds of beautiful themes, but also the ability to build their own from scratch too. Even better, XSplit Gamecaster V4’s themes support a wide variety of widgets out of the box, including stream chat, labels, alerts and goals.”
What else do you need to know to get started as a live streamer? Young gave us a few additional tips for success that first-time streamers should remember:
– “A common mistake a lot of new streamers and even more established ones make almost always revolves around buffering and lag. While sometimes it can be put down to the viewer’s personal connection, when everyone is saying the same thing, something may be wrong. Always make sure the settings you are streaming with are suitable for the PC you are doing it from. We recommend usually targeting for 720p30 first and then scaling up from there. Fortunately XSplit Gamecaster V4 handles all the complicated settings for you, if you prefer!”
– “Another classic mistake we often see relates to your game or microphone audio level being too loud (or too quiet), making it impossible to really hear what’s going on. Making sure you have the correct audio levels is essential. It’s always sensible to run a few test recordings first before going live to make sure your microphone is working and that you’re not being drowned out by your game.”
– “Once you are live and streaming, remember to have fun! A lot of new streamers can feel intimidated by the need to entertain, or have an audience. This can add a lot of pressure and make the whole thing feel quite stressful. We recommend picking a game you enjoy and just relax. Try talking out loud as you stream and entertain yourself, and don’t feel thrown off when someone comes by to watch and then leaves again.”
XSplit Gamecaster V4 is available for free right now.