Facebook users could upload and share pre-recorded videos on the platform for almost as long as it existed. In 2015, Facebook entered the live streaming market through Facebook Live. It was a court dominated by YouTube and Twitch since the early 2010s.
Three years later, Facebook launched Facebook Gaming to hone in on the live stream gaming content niche. Some may say that the social media giant is late in the game. But with almost 3 billion active users per month, Facebook is an extremely gainful platform for content creators despite seemingly falling behind.
If you’re deciding on which live stream gaming space to break into, you can do a lot worse than the biggest social network in the world. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to broadcast your gameplay on Facebook from your PC or console.
How to Stream Video Games on Facebook Live From Your PC
Streaming games on Facebook using your computer requires streaming software. For this tutorial, we’ll use OBS Studio.
- Create a Facebook account, and set up your profile however you want.
- Download and install OBS Studio.
- Give OBS administrator access on Windows. This is vital to establishing good communication between OBS and Windows.
- Run OBS but don’t go through the setup wizard. Click cancel instead, then go to “Settings”.
- In “Settings”, go to “Stream” then select “Facebook Live” from “Service”.
A notification will pop up saying you’re limited to streaming at a 720p resolution. It’s because you’re not part of Facebook’s Level Up program. We’ll talk more about this later. Just click “Yes”.
- Leave “Ignore streaming service setting recommendations” unchecked.
- Click “Get Stream Key”. If you’re logged in to your Facebook account on a browser, OBS will redirect you to Facebook Live Producer. It’s Facebook’s live streaming studio.
Similarly, you can get there by going to your Facebook homepage and clicking on “Live video” at the top of your feed. It’s the red sideways camera icon.
- Once in Live Producer, select “Use stream key” from the “Get started” options.
- In “Setup options”, enable “Use a persistent stream key”. This will be your only key when game streaming on Facebook. You must keep this piece of information secure. Anyone with your stream key can broadcast on your Facebook page.
- “Use a backup stream” means Facebook will save a copy of your stream on your profile. You can’t delete it. It’s up to you if you want to enable it.
According to some users, Facebook breaks the video files into segments when there are dips in the internet connection. So, keep that in mind.
- The options in “Settings” are self-explanatory. They’re up to your personal preference.
- Title your stream and give it a description.
- Select your audience preference (public, private, friends, etc.).
- Choose where you want to post your stream (your timeline, group, page, and so on).
- Copy your Facebook stream key. Go back to “Stream” on OBS and paste it there.
- Go to “Output” and select “Advanced” under “Output Mode”.
- On the “Streaming” tab, select your dedicated GPU (Nvidia, AMD) for the encoder. Your CPU is already spinning multiple plates on sticks. Tasking it with the encoding of your live stream may result in a hard crash.
- Set the bitrate to 4000 Kbps. This is the recommended bitrate for 720p resolution at 30fps. Your internet upload has to maintain a speed of at least 3 Mbps. But for a healthy buffer, the recommended upload speed is 6 Mbps.
- Set “Rate Control” to “CBR” (Constant Bit Rate). This will help in putting out a more stable stream.
- Playtest your bitrate. Increase it by 1000 and see if there are issues. Facebook’s live streaming studio isn’t as advanced as Twitch or Facebook. So, the recommended maximum bitrate is a conservative 6000.
- Hit “Apply”.
- Go to “Audio”. Select your microphone from the “Mic/Auxiliary Audio” dropdown menu. Click “Apply”.
- This is optional. But most live streamers commentate on their gameplay, so you’ll likely use a mic.
- Close the settings window. You’re now on OBS’s main interface and ready to set up your scenes.
Rename the pre-loaded scene on the “Scenes” panel in the lower right to something manageable, like, “Gameplay and facecam”.
- Run your game in either fullscreen or borderless windowed mode.
- On the “Sources” box next to “Scenes”, click the plus (+) sign then pick “Game Capture”.
- In properties, select “Capture any fullscreen application” from “Mode” then “OK”.
- OBS should detect the game as a fullscreen program and show the game on the preview display. Make sure that it’s the only fullscreen app running currently on your system.
- If OBS can’t identify the game as a fullscreen app, double-click “Game Capture” on the “Sources” panel. Select “Capture specific window” from “Mode”. Select the game’s window from the “Window” dropdown. Hit “OK”.
- Adding a facecam
- Add another source for your gameplay scene. Select “Video Capture Device”. From the “Device” dropdown, select your webcam.
- On the “Sources” box, drag “Video Capture Device” up so that it comes before “Game Capture” on the list.
- Alternatively, highlight your webcam on “Sources”, then click the up or down arrow. This ensures that your facecam will stay over the gameplay on the scene.
- Resize your facecam by clicking and dragging the red border. Crop it by holding down the alt key while dragging.
- Position your facecam to wherever you want it on the preview screen.
- Like having a microphone for live commentary, a facecam is also optional. But we strongly recommend having it because it boosts engagement.
- Your computer’s audio should appear on the “Audio Mixer” panel next to “Sources”. We recommend disabling Windows’ system sounds, so your stream doesn’t get interrupted by Windows system alerts.
- To do this, right-click the “Speakers” icon on your taskbar, then “Open volume mixer.” Mute all the apps that aren’t important to your live stream session by clicking on the speaker icon below each application.
- If installed properly, your microphone should also appear on the “Audio Mixer” box to the left of “Sources”. This is where you control each audio output’s volume levels.
- If your camera has a built-in microphone, mute it from the audio mixer panel. A separate, dedicated microphone normally has better sound quality overall.
- Use headphones or earphones instead of speakers to avoid feedback loops with the mic.
- Check your sound levels. Make sure nothing peaks and everything sounds clean and clear.
- Get your game to the point where you want it streamed.
- Once you’re satisfied with your scene layouts and audio levels and quality, click “Start Streaming” on the OBS’s main interface.
- Click “Start Recording” if you want a copy of your live stream in its native quality. This is useful if you want to upload a high-quality version of your broadcast elsewhere, like YouTube. It’s also useful for editing a supercut of your sessions’ highlights.
- Go to your Facebook Live Producer and, if everything works, you’ll see your stream on a small preview window. A delay of about 10 seconds is normal.
- Click “Go live” on the bottom of the left side panel. And you’re live streaming on Facebook!
How to Live Stream Console Games on Facebook
Current and previous-gen consoles can’t stream to Facebook directly as of the writing of this guide. You’ll need a capture card and a decently specced PC.
The Elgato HD60 S is a serviceable entry-level capture card. It’s external and streams videos up to 1080p at 60fps.
Here’s how to use a capture card to stream games to Facebook.
- Using a high-quality HDMI cable, connect the console’s HDMI out to the capture card’s HDMI in.
- Connect the capture card’s HDMI out to your TV or monitor using a second cable.
Connect the capture card to your computer via USB.
- Be sure that you use a USB 3.0 port or later on your computer or the signal will not come through.
Turn on your computer. If the capture card doesn’t install its drivers automatically, download them from the manufacturer’s website and install.
- With any new hardware, it’s always best to install the latest driver version from the maker’s website. On-board drivers are usually outdated.
From this point, the process is very similar to the above process. You’ll still use OBS Studio. Here are the few changes you must know or apply.
- In step number 21, instead of “Game Capture”, Select “Video Capture Device” as the source of your gameplay. OBS will detect the capture card. It should show up on the “Device” list on the “Properties” window if it’s installed properly. Select your capture card as a source then hit “OK”.
- Xbox and Playstation both support webcams natively. Xbox accepts most USB cameras, while Playstation uses proprietary webcams, specifically for their consoles. We recommend just using your PC camera. It’s more manageable for this setup.
- OBS will not pick up your group voice chat if you’re playing with friends on your live stream. There are ways around this issue using audio splitters and other additional hardware and software. But that’s for another guide.
Those are the main differences. You should be able to stream games on Facebook from your console by performing the majority of the steps involved in broadcasting games straight from your PC.
There’s also a way to stream PS4 to Facebook without a capture card. It’s through PS Remote Play. We’ll have a separate tutorial for capture card alternatives. So, watch out for that.
Streaming on Facebook in High Definition (1080p)
Like we mentioned, if you’re not on Facebook’s Level Up program, you’re locked in at 720p, which isn’t a bad resolution for streaming, all things considered.
To qualify for the program, your Facebook account must be a Gaming Creator Page. You can convert your personal account into a creator page easily. Then you need to maintain at least 100 followers. You must also stream on two days for at least four hours total within 14 days.
Leveling up gives you access to Facebook’s various monetization tools and, of course, you get to stream in HD. Arguably, Facebook’s requirements aren’t as demanding as Twitch or YouTube’s conditions. We highly recommend looking into the Level Up program if you’re serious about growing your brand on the platform. Who knows? Maybe you’ll reach the milestone without even trying.