So, you’ve started your gaming channel and want to take it to the next level but aren’t sure how.
You might already have an amazing creator personality which can build an audience. Then now it’s time to invest in the best YouTube equipment for gaming.
But what do you actually need?
There are so many options to choose from…
What Sort of Equipment Is Necessary?
You might know that you need new equipment, but what’s best for you?
You probably have preferences for how everything looks and feels.
However, you should also keep in mind what kind of budget you have and what you really need over what you really want.
Before making any choices, think about what kind of PC or console you’ll be using, what kind of games you’ll be playing, and what quality level you want.
This guide will give you tips whether you’re using a PC or laptop. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner with a small budget or a pro looking to upgrade to the best gear available, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
PC/Laptop And An Internet Connection
Obviously, the most basic things you’ll need are a PC or laptop and an internet connection.
But there are certain specifications for gaming that you really need to research, especially depending on the games you want to play.
For example, if you want to focus your channel on role-playing games in 4k like Hogwarts Legacy, you’ll need a powerful computer.
You should aim for at least 32GB of RAM, a lot of storage space, and great processors. However, if you’re playing Minecraft, you can settle for a lot less.
Here are some minimum specs for gaming computers for playing and recording recent and successful games (like Minecraft) and then editing the footage:
- Windows 10
- Intel Core i5 or AMD A10-7800 CPU
- 512GB storage
- 8GB RAM
You might also wonder if laptops are good enough for recording gameplay.
The components used to build a laptop are so much more advanced than before.
And while they might not match a high-performance gaming PC, they are a great choice if you want to combine quality with portability.
The Acer Nitro 5 is a great example of a cheap laptop that you can use for gaming in full HD.
It’s sleek, has a fantastic cooling system, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphic processor.
It stands up to lots of other laptops for both gaming and video editing. It will definitely help you boost the overall quality of your channel.
When you’re figuring out your budget, at least $500 can get you what you need. This can go up to around $1000 if you’re planning on recording in 4k.
Finally, in terms of internet, you should aim for a stable connection at a minimum of 5Mbps.
Of course, this will depend on what kind of games you’re playing.
If you’re into competitive gaming, anything less than 20Mbps won’t be enough. You’ll risk lagging at critical points of the game.
Your subscribers definitely won’t be interested in watching you lose because of a bad connection.
Capture cards are devices that are built into your computer or can be plugged in externally, usually with a USB connection.
They allow you to record the video and audio that is appearing on your screen by converting them to the right format.
This is what makes them so essential for gaming. The content you want to upload has to be recorded somehow, and it’s with a capture card.
Another bonus of capture cards is that you can usually plug in extra video and audio inputs. So you can have multicam footage and your commentary recorded along with the main visuals.
You can pick up a basic but good capture card for between $50 and $100. For better quality recordings, you’ll likely need to spend $200 or more.
What you’ll need to look out for between these price ranges is the latency (how long the signal takes to pass from your system to your screen through the capture card), and the capture and passthrough resolutions.
You might be playing in 4k60, but the device might only record at 1080p60.
The Elgato HD60 X capture card is an example of a great device with a reasonable price. It can record in 4k at 30fps or 1440p at 60fps.
You can use it with so many devices, like a Windows computer or a PlayStation, stream to loads of platforms like YouTube and Twitch, and use it with apps like OBS, XSplit, and Streamyard.
Whether you’re recording or streaming, the HD60 X is a great choice. But here are some other options if you’re not convinced:
- AVerMediaLive Gamer Extreme 3
- Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+
- NZXT Signal 4K30
- EVGA XR1 Lite
- AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt
Once you have your computer and capture card, you can start gaming.
But to share your videos on YouTube, you’ll need different kinds of software to record, edit, and publish content.
There are lots of great free programs which will give you all the basics you need and many paid versions for taking your channel that extra mile. Here are some examples:
- Free recording software - OBS Studio
- Free editing software - DaVinci Resolve
- Free thumbnail creator - Canva Free
- Paid recording software - OneStream Live
- Paid editing software - Adobe Premiere Pro
- Paid thumbnail creator - Canva Pro
OBS Studio is a free option for recording and streaming straight to YouTube, Twitch, and more. You can use it offline, so it’s a great choice for all kinds of gamers. It even gives you some basic production tools like filters and transitions.
Once you’ve recorded your gameplay, edit the video with DaVinci Resolve.
It’s a free software that lets you trim the video down to the size you want, add transitions and text, correct colors, and so much more.
Before you upload the video to YouTube, you’ll need to create an engaging thumbnail that will make your content stick out from the masses.
You can try Canva Free for this. It’s a really easy tool to use and even has YouTube thumbnail presets.
OneStream Live is the streaming software to get when you’re ready to level up. It’s not cheap ($89/month) but has so many features that free options don’t have.
For example, you can stream to 40 platforms at the same time, combine it with other tools like OBS and Zoom, and give access to team members with one account.
You can edit your videos with Adobe Premiere Pro, one of the best video editors on the market. It’s used by professional editors everywhere and has all the features you’ll need and then some.
You can even integrate it with other Adobe programs if you get the Creative Suite package for $54.99 per month.
If you do go for the Creative Suite, you can do all of your graphic design there. Or you can use Canva Pro, the upgraded version of Canva Free.
It’s also really simple to use but has so many more features. You’ll have a library of over 100 million stock videos, images, and templates, scheduled social media coverage, brand kits for boosting your brand recognition more easily, and loads more.
You really need to invest in good audio to make it as a pro gamer.
Most viewers will tolerate lower video quality, but they won’t listen to bad audio.
The best option would be to invest in a USB microphone, but a headset is a good choice also.
You can immerse yourself further into your games with high-quality sound being shot straight into your ears, and your audience will appreciate your commentary more if they can hear it well.
Normal headphones won’t cut it. You need a mic that is well-positioned in front of your mouth to capture the best sound. That’s why a gaming headset is the way to go.
Lower quality headsets are available from around $40.
You can spend around $300 if you have the budget, but ones for about $150-200 will give you a good balance between price and quality.
The Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless SE headset has 7.1 surround sound speakers for great clarity and depth.
They have a low latency level, so there won’t be any delays between what you see and what you hear, and more importantly, what your audience sees and hears.
Finally, they have memory foam earpads that adapt to your ears and make you as comfortable as possible, and are wireless, so you won’t have to deal with cables getting in your way while you play.
The Virtuoso RGB headset is an amazing choice, but here are some other options for different budgets:
- EPOS H3PRO Hybrid
- Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX
- Corsair HS65 Surround
- Razer Barracuda X
- Audio-Technica ATH-G1
You’ve seen all the essentials for YouTube gaming videos.
A computer or laptop, capture card, recording, editing, and graphic programs, and a headset are what you need to start creating great content.
But to really get into amazing content, you need to boost your equipment further.
These next items are what split the hobby gamers from the pros.
You saw before that a headset is a good investment for your gaming kit. However, a USB microphone can take your audio a step above a headset’s small mic. And they aren’t even too expensive.
There are lots of great USB mics available for less than $150. The cheapest for good quality will be around $50.
The Blue Yeti Nano is a great USB microphone that is quite cheap but has amazing quality.
It’s a condenser mic with both cardioid and omnidirectional patterns, so it’s sensitive but can avoid picking up too much sound from behind it. This can reduce room noise.
It has one simple control on the front for increasing the volume. And it comes with a desktop stand for quick placement, but you can use it with an adjustable microphone arm.
Here are some other great USB microphones that will add a lot of value to your gaming setup:
- Neat Bumblebee II
- HyperX Quadcast S
- RØDE NT-USB Mini
- Razer Seiren V2 Pro
- NZXT Capsule
DSLR, Smartphone, or Webcam
Many gaming channels are faceless and that works perfectly well.
However, the top gaming YouTubers are on-camera at all times so their fans can see them react to the gameplay instead of just hearing them.
The best DSLRs have amazing quality but are expensive. Cheap ones aren’t good enough for high-quality gaming videos. They can also be bulky, and you’ll need to invest in a tripod to position one correctly.
Smartphones are a great choice, especially seeing as you probably already have one with a decent camera.
If your camera isn’t that good, you’ll need to invest in a much better one, and that can cost hundreds. You’ll also need to buy a mount so that it’s pointed at you from the best angle.
The best option overall for gamers is a webcam.
They aren’t as versatile as DSLRs or smartphones because they need to be plugged into a computer.
But, seeing as you’re using a computer already, this isn’t a problem. They’re generally cheap, can give you amazing quality, and are really compact.
You can get pretty good webcams for around $30, but for high-quality gaming you’ll need to spend between $60 and $200.
The Elgato Facecam is a perfect example of a webcam for gamers. It has a Sony CMOS sensor, so you can be sure that your recordings will always be clear. You can film in 1080p at 60fps, which is great for shots of you while you play. And - the best feature for marathon gamers - the advanced heatsink system so it always stays cool, no matter how long you’re streaming for.
The Elgato Facecam has a great price to quality ratio, but there are plenty of other options available. For example:
- Logitech C922x Pro Stream
- AVerMedia PW515
- Logitech BRIO
- Insta360 Link
- Razer Kiyo
Lighting is another factor that isn’t essential but can really make your videos stand out.
You don’t need to make a huge investment for a rig right away.
Starting off with a simple ring light will help you stand out from your background and make your face more pronounced. This way, your audience can enjoy your reactions even more.
You can move on to more lighting options if you have a bigger budget. LED strips around your gaming room to add color to your background can look amazing.
You can get bigger lights and LED panels for lighting you from in front and slightly above which can look great too.
You’ll have to buy extra stands for these lights, and you’ll need more free space. But if you’re able to, they can add a lot of value to your channel.
All of the devices and programs so far can really bring your gaming channel to new levels.
There are always more gadgets to buy to show how much of a pro you are.
You might not feel like you need these bonus items, but they’re here just in case you want to browse a bit more.
An added benefit of getting all these items is that they can help you grow your community and channel.
Your audience will want to know what gear you use and where you got it so they can do the same.
Keeping up to date with new equipment releases is essential for the most successful gamers.
Gaming chairs are well-designed pieces of kit for keeping you comfortable, alert, and even healthy.
You need to spend a lot of time gaming to become a professional, so you can’t be hunched over in an armchair.
The Secretlab Titan Evo 2020 and the AndaSeat Kaiser 3 XL are just two examples of amazing gaming chairs.
Most competitive games require a mouse with superfast reaction times. You might be fast enough, but if your mouse isn’t, you won’t ever make it to the top.
The Razer DeathAdder V2 and SteelSeries Prime Wireless Pro are two solid mice that can help you achieve greatness.
You’ll need a good mousepad that gives you fluid movement while gaming. You don’t want to miss a round-winning shot because your mouse got stuck.
The SteelSeries QcK Gaming and Razer Goliathus Chroma are both great mousepads that can take your gaming to the next level.
Just like a good mouse, a good keyboard has to be fast and comfortable to use.
Ones with RGB lighting work incredibly well for gaming. You can change the color schemes to make each section of the board stand out as you want it too.
Corsair and Steelseries both make amazing RGB keyboards, including the K70 RGB Pro and the APEX TKL Pro, respectively.
The more you buy, the more space you’ll need to fit everything. Getting a great desk can help you feel more comfortable in your gaming room.
Two desks that stand out as being great for gaming are the Secretlab Magnus Pro XL and the Flexispot EN1B.
There’s something for everyone in this guide, no matter what level gamer you are. There are all the essentials, from computers and production software to headsets.
When you’re ready to take the leap to pro gaming, you’ll need a USB mic, a great webcam, and some lighting.
And don’t forget some bonus gadgets, like a gaming chair, mouse, mousepad, keyboard, and desk.
Your audience will notice when you make changes to your equipment and channel.
You’ll have a better chance of getting noticed by other great gamers and even sponsors when your channel gets more attention from an expanding audience.
So don’t be afraid to take the leap from hobby gamer to pro. You know what you need to get.
Now all you have to do is reach out and take it.
What piece of gear is essential to your gaming setup? Feel free to share with other readers in the comments.