How to stream the Nintendo Switch to Twitch and YouTube

5 min read

Game streaming has exploded in popularity during the past few years with the help of sites such as Twitch and YouTube. Now you can share your gaming with a few friends or even thousands of people all over the globe. This can be a fun hobby a few lucky ones get to turn it into a full-time career.

Some consoles like the latest Xbox and PlayStation include everything you need to get you started with dedicated streaming apps. However, the Nintendo Switch is a bit more tricky. In order to stream it’s going to take a few more steps, and that’s where our tutorial will come in handy.

Get a capture card

This can come in the form of an internal card in your desktop computer or an external card connected via USB. There are a few brands to choose from but for our tutorial, I’ll be using the AVerMedia Live Gamer Extreme. The Live Gamer Extreme is a USB 3.0 capture card that supports up to 1080p at 60fps, so it’s perfect for the Nintendo Switch. However, it requires USB 3.0 and a certain chipset and you can check with AVerMedia’s own tool to make sure it will work with your PC before purchasing.

It is also important to note the Live Gamer Extreme requires a desktop with a minimum of i5-4450 3.10GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 or i7-4810MQ and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M if you’re using a laptop.

Connect the capture card

The capture card works a bit like an HDMI splitter and as such you will need to plug your Nintendo Switch directly into the Live Gamer Extreme and use another HDMI cable to connect it to your TV or monitor. Then you’ll use the included USB 3.0 cable to connect it to your computer. Once everything is connected you’ll see a blue light to know it’s all ready to go. This provides you with completely lag-free gameplay on your TV and mirrors the display on your computer screen using additional software.

The included USB 3.0 cable is only 4ft., and that might work if you’re viewing on your monitor. If you’re like me and want to game on your big screen TV then it might be wise to pick up a longer cable. You’ll have to be careful how long because if it’s too long the signal might not be reliable. I picked up this 9.8ft. cable on Amazon and it works great and gives a little more breathing room. It also makes it easier to use your webcam on your laptop while streaming.

Broadcasting software

Hardware is only half of the equation here. Once you connect the Nintendo Switch to the capture card and get it connected to the computer you’re going to need special software to broadcast it to Twitch or YouTube. A couple of popular options are the completely free broadcasting software OBS or XSplit which requires a subscription for most of its features.

Luckily, AVerMedia includes their own streaming software and a code for 3 months of premium access to XSplit giving you plenty of options out of the box. For this tutorial, we’ll be using AVerMedia’s RECentral 4 software that can be found at this link. When you first install the software it will require you to download and install DirectX if it isn’t already installed.

Set up streaming

Now that the hardware is set up and the software is installed you’re going to need a Twitch and/or YouTube account. Just a heads up with YouTube: you will need an account in good standing and they will verify it with a phone number (it can take up to 24 hours to activate). So, you might want to do that before your capture card arrives.

Next you’re going to set up the broadcasting software we got in the previous step. RECentral can seem a little overwhelming but don’t worry, it’s actually quite simple to set up. First, make sure the circle record button is selected in the top left corner and the streaming tab is selected.

Then click the plus button under streaming platform and choose which service you’d like to stream on. Press the next button to continue and a window asking for your login will appear. After logging in with your Twitch username you’ll be all ready to hit that big stream button and start sharing your game.

The other settings can be left alone unless you want to do some tweaking. Once your stream starts you’ll see a timer pop up along with your upload speed and a handy link for checking your stream online or so you can share the link with your friends.

The YouTube process is similar but allows you to set the title, description and add tags for your stream. It’s also worth noting that I had trouble sharing my stream unless I set the privacy setting to anything other than public.

Advanced features

If you’re interested in sharing your pretty mug with the world while you game then RECentral has you covered there with some advanced features. All you have to do is switch from single to multi and you can create your own scenes, adding custom graphics and your webcam. Unfortunately, you will have to add your streaming platforms again, so it probably makes sense to set up in multi-view initially in case you ever decide to add a webcam or graphics in the future.

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