When Amazon purchased the game-streaming platform and social network Twitch in 2014 for $970 million, the wider tech industry was left questioning whether this was a sage decision or not. While esports was reckoned to one day become a significant player in the media and entertainment market, at the time it still represented a relatively niche concern, and one that had so far failed to achieve significant public crossover outside of East Asia.
The intervening years, however, more than demonstrated how astute this acquisition was. Search queries on Google featuring the term ‘esports’ and related requests surged by over 500% by the end of the decade, and Fortnite rode a wave of successful merchandising into the heart of popular culture, bringing with it a new breed of influencer in the form of gaming athletes such as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.
It’s now hard to find anyone who would contest the notion that esports has definitively arrived in the public consciousness. Coverage on ESPN and brand partnerships with the likes of Nike and Coca-Cola, all suggest the centrality of its position in 2023. Likewise, comparison platform OddsChecker points to the fact that the fastest growing sector in the sports betting industry today is that of competitive gaming, outstripping other major concerns that are enjoying rapid growth, from the MLS to Formula One.
With this ‘esports boom’ comes many new players and creators wanting to get involved in all the community has to offer. Hundreds of new streamers now begin to broadcast on Twitch and related platforms every week.
While the basics of streaming can easily be accomplished by anyone with a smartphone or PC, some investment in the right tech is required to create a quality experience for your viewers. Below, we’re going to take a look at the core gadgets every streamer serious about building a following should consider picking up.
Logitech Brio Stream 4K Webcam
Nowadays, almost all laptops and smartphones come with front-facing webcams for use with video conferencing software. However, these often suffer in quality, with many new devices still shipping with cameras only able to offer grainy 720p video. In light of this, it’s generally worth investing in a dedicated studio-quality webcam, and preferably one capable of recording in 4K. For example, the Logitech Brio Stream, with 4K video, multiple viewing angles and some impressive HDR technology, offers a lightweight and relatively affordable option suitable for most creators.
Logitech Blue Yeti Microphone
In addition to sorting out a quality camera, it’s recommended to ensure your sound is up to par. Most laptops lack anything in the way of sophisticated microphones, and this can result in your audio coming across as tinny, flat, and flooded with atmospheric noise.
Of the reasonable options on the market, the Blue Yeti, which was recently acquired by Logitech. It is a product that is well-loved by many popular podcasters, YouTubers and Twitch streamers. With a plug-and-play USB input, this is a particularly user-friendly route to achieving studio-quality sound for the novice audiophile.
Elgato Gaming Green Screen
Streamers have multiple options when it comes to setting up their broadcast screen. Many are happy to place a box featuring their webcam feed in the corner of the screen and have this sit on top of the gameplay footage.
However, a more professional and effective option, and one preferred by big-name creators, is to utilize the green screen effect to cut out your background. You can use software to attempt to digitally remove your background without employing a physical green screen, but this often results in a fuzzy cut-out that detracts from broadcast quality.
Consider instead investing in the Elgato Gaming Green Screen, which can be draped behind your gaming chair to ensure clear and crisp background removal for your broadcast. Elgato also offers additional streaming-focused products, like a green screen desk mat that can be used to provide a cut-out of your mouse and keyboard inputs when using a vertically mounted camera.
While anyone can stream these days, you do need to have the right equipment to really make it worthwhile. There is no need to go over the top buying loads of things, but the better the quality of your stream, the more likely you are to have people watching it. Things can also get expensive rather quickly if you are going for top-of-the-line gear. It may be worth looking around a bit and making sure this is something you are serious about before making any big purchases. Having a look online for reviews on peripherals, monitors, gaming chairs and more can really be a good place to start.