Starting a YouTube gaming channel, contrary to popular belief, is hard work!
From the posting schedule, you have to stick with, to a demanding audience requesting all kinds of games, it’s not a walk in the park.
And then there’s the equipment…
If you want to start a YouTube gaming channel, you’re going to need a camera capable of recording video, an external mic, screen capture software, and a good lighting setup. These are just the basics, though, which isn’t to mention green screens.
To make it as a gaming YouTuber, it takes a lot of time and effort. There can also be a significant investment of money when it comes to the equipment.
While you can start a channel with little more than a video camera and a desk lamp, you aren’t likely to develop a large audience this way.
Due to the oversaturation of gaming videos on YouTube, you are competing with high-quality content, so the very least you can do to give yourself an edge is invest in some good equipment.
To give you a clear idea of what kind of equipment you should be looking into, we’ve divided this guide up into three sections, each covering an important element of creating gaming videos for YouTube: video, lighting, and audio.
First up, let’s talk about what is arguably the most important element of any YouTube gamer’s setup: the video.
The video can be divided up into two sections, since it isn’t just the gameplay a lot of YouTuber’s capture. In many cases, gaming YouTuber’s integrate a face cam into their gameplay videos which shows their reactions to the game in real time.
While you of course don’t have to show your face, these types of videos are more and more common as it lends a sense of familiarity to the experience. The viewer will likely feel more connected to you if they can see you playing along as if you were in their living room.
The downside to using a facecam though is that it will be an extra expense for you. Then again, even if you just do raw gameplay videos, you might want to do a channel update video from time to time so it’s probably still worth investing in a camera for that reason.
Screen Capture Software
There’s no way to broadcast gameplay footage without screen capture software, so while it might not be a physical piece of equipment, it’s 100% essential. Gone are the days of trying to record your TV or computer screen with a video camera, as this is no longer acceptable among the discerning audience of YouTube.
One of the best ways to capture gameplay on your PC is to use software such as OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) as it’s one of the most favored options out there.
If you do all of your gaming on a Playstation, Xbox, or even Nintendo console, then you’re going to need to get your hands on a capture card. With a capture card, you can take the footage from your gameplay and then edit it on a computer afterwards.
There is a lot of debate surrounding what camera is best for YouTube videos, but here are some examples of the types of cameras you could use.
The DSLR is a popular camera to use, because it’s a powerful option and offers a wide variety of features. If you’re looking for a high-quality resolution and stellar viewing experience for your audience, then it’s an excellent choice.
Then again, an expensive DSLR can be overkill if all you’re looking to do is record your face during gameplay.
The mirrorless camera has a fixed lens unlike DSLRs, but it’s a great hybrid model that combines the convenience of a point and shoot with the competence of a DSLR. It is also likely to be cheaper than a DSLR, making it a better choice for beginners arguably.
A camcorder is by far the most convenient choice, since all you have to do is press a button to record and you’re good to go. If all you want the camera for is video, and you don’t care about features, then a camcorder is a great option.
The lighting in a YouTuber gamer’s setup is more important than many people may think.
While you can certainly put out high-quality videos if you have a decent camera, you are also limited by your lighting.
Your camera could have the best low-light performance, but if you play games at night with a meagre desk lamp for lighting and nothing else, the footage likely won’t be up to scratch.
Plus, good lighting can make up for a lacklustre camera, since it illuminates your features and makes the video a lot cleaner and clearer.
Here are two of the most popular lighting options for gaming YouTubers:
The ring light is very popular for shooting YouTube videos.
It’s a small ring-shaped light that is both portable and easy to use – all you need is a power socket and you’re ready to go.
It illuminates the subject well, eliminating shadows, and it’s perfect for capturing facial expressions on camera while gaming.
The softbox light replicates natural light as if it were pouring through a window.
As such, you can cover a wide area with a softbox light, which is ideal for videos in which you want both the foreground and background to be well-lit.
For example, if you’re a gamer with a killer gaming rig and awesome games memorabilia on a shelf behind you, you’ll probably want that all to take center stage and a softbox light helps you do that.
Last but by no means least, let’s take a look at optimal audio setups for a gaming YouTube channel.
Many people are under the impression that to make a good video all you need is crisp, quality footage and that’s about it.
If your voice sounds like it’s coming from the inside of a washing machine then you’re going to lose a lot of viewers.
A lot of people like to have YouTube videos playing in the background, and when they do this, all they have to go on is the sound. As such, high audio quality is imperative.
There are several excellent external microphone options you can try, but shotgun microphones and lavalier microphones usually come out on top.
Shotgun microphones are known for offering professional-level sound while blocking out unwanted audio.
They are attached to cameras, and favored by many filmmakers, so if you really want to stand out from the crowd then they are an excellent option for capturing audio.
Lavalier microphones are another great option, and these are the mics that you attach to your shirt.
That way, you get clear audio even if you move around a lot, which can be very useful when you’re in the middle of an intense gaming session.
Frequently Asked Questions About YouTube Equipment
How much does it cost to start a YouTube gaming channel?
There are several costs to consider when starting a gaming channel on YouTube.
First, there is the cost of the games themselves, which considering the price of the average console game these days won’t be insignificant.
Then, you have lighting, audio, and video to consider, so all in all you could be looking at an initial investment of somewhere in the region of $500.
What equipment do you need for gaming?
To put out gaming content on YouTube, you’re going to need lighting, audio, and video.
We recommend ring or softbox lights, an external microphone, and a DSLR or mirrorless camera to get started.
Who is the oldest YouTube gamer?
Esports player and video game YouTuber Hamako Mori is considered the oldest YouTube gamer at the ripe old age of 91.
The Japanese native has played games for almost four decades, and has a lot of skill despite her advanced age.
She is proof to us all that it’s never too late.
A Final Word From Run Gun Shoot
In general, you’re going to need a decent camera, external microphone, and lighting setup to make it as a gaming YouTuber.
The exact equipment you need will depend on various factors, but you can’t compromise in any one of these elements if you want to succeed.