A guide to recording and producing gameplay videos

Video games have long since shaken off the popular opinion that they’re a pastime reserved only for angsty adolescents. With mobile gaming included, the age of the average gamer has increased and gender demographics have become significantly more balanced.

In the US today, a gamer’s average age is 35 and is made up of 54% male and 46% female players. Streaming video games on sites like Twitch has become a viable and lucrative employment opportunity for the next generation, a job that simply didn’t exist only a decade ago.

What games are streamed on Twitch?

Twitch is the most popular streaming service focussing on video games. The platform has created some international stars. Richard Tyler Blevins, better known as Ninja, began as a professional esports athlete but rose to fame streaming the third person shooter Fortnite Battle Royale. Some streamers are renowned for their playing ability, either competitively or in the world of speed runs while for others, their personality is their USP.

The genres of games played on sites like Twitch are wide and varied. Minecraft, Fortnite, Valorant, League of Legends, Grand Theft Auto and Among Us are well represented among the more traditional video game titles but other more abstract pursuits have garnered acclaim.

Casino games are also another popular game streamed on twitch, especially slots and poker, which consistently see upwards of 20,000 viewers at a time. Dutch professional poker player, Lex Veldhuis, is among the most popular with almost 1 million viewer hours accumulated to date.

The rise on casino game popularity is mainly due to the advancements in technology, with people having access to casino games via handheld devices rather than needing to head to a land-based casino. Online casinos also have various online payment options like PayPal meaning players can instantly deposit their money and play their favourite casino games. Seeing other people play casino games on channels such as Twitch can help other players pick up hints and tips for when they next play explaining the rise of viewers.

American chess Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura has become a successful Twitch streamer collaborating with and hosting live streamed tournaments for other popular streamers and celebrities of all abilities to compete in. Along with the popular Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit, Nakamura has become an ambassador for the sport and encouraged millions of new players to learn and play the game.

World number one Magnus Carlsen, the Botez sisters, GothamChess and Eric Hansen aka Chessbrah among others have also helped popularise the game.

What do you need to record gameplay videos

Before you start producing your very own gameplay videos today, there are a few things you need to make sure you have:

  • A fast and stable internet connection: All the data that you’re recording needs to make its way to your audience and that is via your internet connection. If you’re streaming, it’s especially important that your connection doesn’t drop but even if you’re not, look for strong up speeds or your videos will take forever to upload.
  • A capable computer: You’ll need enough space on your HDD (an SSD is preferable) to record your content to. A good video card, 8GB RAM and a powerful processor will all make the process much smoother.
  • A high-quality webcam: With the number of streamers increasing daily, audiences have become more discerning. No less than 1080p will do for streaming or unfortunately your footage will look grainy and of a lower quality than your competition.
  • Microphone: If you’re in full control of your surroundings, i.e., at home in a dedicated recording room you can opt for a condenser microphone but if you’ll be out and about, you’ll definitely need a dynamic mic that won’t be as sensitive to wind noise and feedback. To minimise the amount of equipment needed, high quality microphones are now available with a USB connection instead of the standard XLR audio connection.
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  • Video capture/streaming software: There are free video capture software suites available but paid ones will offer more functionality. Ideally, you’ll want no watermark, a high frame rate, the option to record webcam simultaneously and to choose your own audio input. We found the best free option to be OBS Studio and the best paid alternative, iSpring SuiteScreen recorder.
  • Brand identity: Take some time to consider what your channel will be about. Your brand should reflect your personality and should communicate immediately what people can expect from your content. You might want to get a logo and an overlay made to make your channel feel more professional.
  • A good room for acoustics: If you’re starting to take things a bit more seriously, you’ll want your recording room to look and sound good. Think about your backdrop, maybe put some relevant gizmos on the shelves behind you or a poster you like.

When it comes to acoustics, parallel walls will reverberate more readily but even if your room is a perfect cube, soft furnishings or even acoustic panels will disperse the high frequencies and make your recordings sound much cleaner.

Documenting our lives publicly has become an accepted and celebrated pursuit. From the seemingly innocuous photo feeds of Instagram to video blogging and live streaming daily life—some even sleeping on camera—we’ve become used to having unbridled access to the lives of others.

Gaming is no different and is a great way to meet likeminded folk and start a new community. Start small and give it a go today and if you like it, you can upgrade your set up as you progress.

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