In recent years, streaming has risen to prominence among the gaming community.
A decade ago, you could find a handful of gamers with serious streaming channels.
But, these days, many of us stream as we game.
Heck, even some of the casual gamers I know have started getting into it.
The consoles coming out these days make it easier than it was 10+ years ago.
To run a great-looking live stream, you used to need a bunch of high-tech gadgetry and have the ability to construct your own setup.
These days, though, newcomers are finding that livestreaming their games is thoroughly enjoyable – well, usually.
What makes it unenjoyable is a laggy livestream. Nobody wants to play that, and nobody wants to watch it.
Why Is My Game Lagging While I’m Streaming?
Your game could be lagging while you livestream due to either an insufficient Internet connection or to an overburdened computer. Either way, you can remedy the situation, although it will require you to spend money. An external hard drive and the right livestreaming software can reduce lag.
A laggy livestream is usually the result of one of two main issues: an overloaded computer or a crummy Internet connection.
Or, in worst case scenarios, it can be a combination of both of those factors. Um, yikes.
How are you supposed to remedy a laggy livestreaming experience? One thing that gamers often do is plug their ethernet cable straight from their modem into their gaming PC.
WIFI is nowhere near as reliable as a good ethernet connection, and ethernet can help speed up your frames per second (FPS).
That’s all well and good for PC gamers.
hat about MacBook owners who don’t have an ethernet port? Can you buy some sort of adapter to plugin? Should you go out and buy a better wireless modem router? Would adding a mesh WIFI system enhance your streaming?
This issue breaks down to using the right software and having a strong, reliable connection.
Let me explain why your game is lagging as you stream and what you can do to speed things up – without spending a fortune.
Plug Directly Into Your Modem
WIFI isn’t always the most reliable connection, especially when it comes to gaming and streaming.
Try plugging into your ethernet port.
And, if you don’t have an ethernet port, grab an ethernet adapter.
A good one will run you around $30, so this will be a relatively inexpensive fix.
Of course, the issue could be that you are too far away from your modem/router.
If this is the case, then a mesh WIFI system will give you some extended WIFI range and a signal boost.
They are more expensive with the average price being about $200.
Upgrading your wireless router might be slightly less expensive, but router prices can vary somewhat dramatically.
Adjust Your Livestreaming Settings
If you’re going to stream live video in HD, you’ll need upload speeds of 4 Mbps or greater.
You can use Speedtest to assess your Internet speed.
You can use it on pretty much any device, and it is free.
If you aren’t getting at least 4 Mbps, you might want to switch your plan or even to a different service provider.
Another route you can take is to tweak your output settings using a free service like OBS.
Switch your output settings in OBS to 720p (Resolution: 12880×720) so that you can at least stream in 720p.
Of course, 1080p is better and 4K is absolutely optimal (and now the gold standard for serious streamers).
But 720p is better than total lag.
Tinkering with your bitrate might help.
Bitrates are essentially just how many data bits are being sent and how quickly they’re being dispersed. For a seamless image, you’ll want a higher bitrate for higher quality.
So, at 720p, you’ll get a bit rate of about 35000kb per second.
This should result in a good-looking image.
Snag the Right Streaming Software
Software is essential for livestreaming your games. That’s why OBS is so darn handy.
While it does have a bit of a learning curve, it is free for use on Macs and PCs.
It gives you more control over how your video looks.
MacBook users can find software developed for Macs that is straightforward and lets you adjust your video’s bitrate.
You can also find some web-based options out there that come with subscriptions.
Some will have free options and premium memberships.
Utilize an External Drive
Getting a good external drive can help reduce lag since this can help you run processes and apps.
You can get high-speed performance and a lot of backup space from the G-Technology’s G-Drive USB-C external drive or the more budget-friendly portable MyPassport hard drive.
An external drive can relieve a heavy burden from your computer that would otherwise just slow it down.
Close Out of Everything You Aren’t Using
Unnecessary background processes will slow down your streaming.
Be sure to close out of everything you do not need before you start your livestream.
This frees up disk space, CPU, and memory, which you will need for streaming.
Consider a Computer Upgrade
Most current computers can handle you simply going live on video and chatting into your webcam.
Heck, even your smartphone is capable of doing this. So your computer can handle it.
But if you’re going to be a serious livestreamer, having a computer with plenty of RAM is necessary.
An Intel quadcore processor will let you play, but its fan will cause a ruckus when it kicks on.
Whatever you get, make sure it has 16 GB of RAM.
4 or 8 GB is often recommended, but 16 is the minimum you should aim for.
If you’re going to stream via Twitch, you’ll want even more than that.
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is a 6-core processor that serves up ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance, which is perfect for playing modern games on your PC.
It will set you back about $250 but might be worth it for livestreaming.
Livestreaming will eat up your memory, RAM, and CPU, so you need a computer that can handle it.
You’re also going to want a reliable and strong Internet connection.
Those two factors can contribute to the quality of streaming with gameplay.
Try tweaking your setup and adding a few pieces of hardware or software to enhance your livestreaming experience.