The Grand Theft Auto Series has been a gaming staple since its MS-DOS days. The first installment was developed by DMA Designs—now Rockstar North. It’s a top-down crime simulator with a linear storyline and some open-world elements. The game used a mix of 2D and 3D graphics.
Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) is the most recent addition to the series. It puts you in control of three protagonists throughout various points of the game. The trio gets into all sorts of shenanigans in the bustling city of Los Santos, a fictionalized version of Los Angeles.
GTA V is widely praised for its story and sheer size. It’s an open-world game that offers a lot more than an enthralling narrative. Los Santos is packed with quests, mini-games, and interesting side characters.
For a game that came out in 2013, GTA V more than holds up. New players get hooked on this amazing game every day. It’s the second best-selling game of all time, just after Minecraft. People can’t get enough of it. On Twitch alone, viewers spend almost 35 million hours watching GTA V live streams per week!
There’s no better time than now to get into this gaming masterpiece with a live audience. So, we’re here to teach you how to get your GTA 5 live streaming game off the ground.
Grand Theft Auto V System Requirements
First off, here are the minimum requirements to run the game:
- OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5GHz
- Memory: 4GB
- Video Card: NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)
- Storage: 65GB
Rockstar recommends these system specifications:
- OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1
- Processor: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHZ (4 CPUs) / AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4GHZ (8 CPUs)
- Memory: 8GB
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD7870 2GB
- Storage: 65GB
Online play requires an internet connection and a Rockstar Games Social Club account.
How to Live Stream Grand Theft Auto V
This game is best enjoyed on PC. We’ll walk you through how to stream GTA V using the most popular live streaming software, OBS Studio.
- Set up your accounts and profiles on your preferred streaming platform (Twitch, YouTube)
- Make sure you’ve done every verification/authentication step. If you’re on YouTube for the first time, there’s a 24-hour waiting period after verifying your account before you can start streaming.
- Download and install OBS Studio.
- Right-click on OBS’s shortcut, and go to the Compatibility tab. Check “Run this program as an administrator.” Hit “Apply” then “OK”.
- Run OBS but cancel the setup wizard. Go to “Settings”.
- Go to “Output” and select “Advanced” under “Output Mode”.
- On the “Streaming” tab, select your dedicated GPU (Nvidia, AMD) for the encoder.
- Set the bitrate anywhere from 4500 to 6000 Kbps. This is the recommended bitrate for a 1080p at 60fps video quality stream. Your internet upload has to maintain a speed of at least 6 Mbps.
- Hit “Apply”.
- Go to “Audio”. Select your microphone from the “Mic/Auxiliary Audio” dropdown menu. Click “Apply”.
- This is for your live commentary audio feed. Leave it disabled if you’re not using a mic.
- Move on to Video, and set both Base and Output resolutions to 1080p. Click “Apply” then “OK”.
- Welcome to the OBS Studio dashboard! It’s time to lay out your scenes. These are videos that OBS will send to your streaming platform.
On the Scene box, in the lower-left corner, rename the pre-loaded scene to something like “gameplay” or “game and facecam”.
- Run GTA V on Story Mode.
- We recommend reading ahead to our GTA V streaming tips below to configure the best graphics settings for broadcasting the game.
- On the “Sources” box, click the plus (+) sign and select “Game Capture”.
- In properties, select “Capture any fullscreen application” under “Mode” then “OK”.
- OBS should auto-detect GTA V as a fullscreen program and show the game on the preview screen. This is assuming that GTA is the only fullscreen application currently running on your computer.
- If you don’t see the game, double-click “Game Capture” on the “Sources” panel. Select “Capture specific window” from “Mode”. Then choose the window where GTA V is running from the “Window” dropdown. Then hit “OK”.
- Once your gameplay loads onto the preview section, you can add your facecam feed. This is optional, of course.
- Add another source for your gameplay scene. Select “Video Capture Device”. From the “Device” dropdown, select your webcam or virtual camera if you’re using one.
- On the “Sources” box, drag “Video Capture Device” up so that it comes before “Game Capture” on the list. This ensures that your facecam will stay over your gameplay feed.
- Resize your facecam by clicking and dragging the red border. Crop it by doing the same thing but this time, hold down the alt key while dragging.
- Drag your facecam to wherever you want it on the screen. We suggest placing it in the upper left corner so it doesn’t obstruct any of GTA V’s major HUD elements, but the choice is yours.
- Your PC’s audio should appear on the “Audio Mixer” panel next to “Sources”. Note that this will capture the sounds from all the sound-producing applications you’re running. It won’t just be the game. We recommend disabling Windows’ system sounds.
- If you have a mic, it should also appear on the mixer box. This is where you control each audio output’s volume. Don’t worry if you’re not sure how loud or quiet your audio levels are. Your viewers won’t hesitate to let you know.
- Once your audio-video (A/V) sources are sorted out on OBS, it’s time to link them to your streaming platforms.
- On YouTube, click the “Create” icon in the upper right corner of the homepage, then “Go live”. On the “Stream” tab on the right side, configure your personal broadcast preferences. Then copy the stream key.
- Back to OBS, go to settings, then Stream. Choose “YouTube - RTMPS” from “Service”, then paste your YouTube stream key on the field. Click “Apply” then “OK”.
- For Twitch, go to OBS’s settings, Stream, then select Twitch from “Service”. Connect OBS to your Twitch account. Give the necessary permissions. Click “Apply” then “OK”.
- You’re back on OBS’s main dashboard. Once you’re happy with your A/V settings and layout, you’re ready for your GTA V live stream. Click “Start Streaming.”
- Your broadcast should begin immediately on Twitch if you’ve successfully linked accounts.
On YouTube, click “Go live” on YouTube Studio once it starts receiving the feed from OBS.
- Have fun streaming GTA V!
GTA V Streaming Tips for New Players
Playing GTA V live for an audience requires several adjustments from playing it on your own. Here are a few tips to make your live stream better for you and your viewers.
Configure GTA V’s Graphics Settings
For a game its age, GTA V is still visually stunning. Even new and costlier PC setups may find running the game at its full graphical glory challenging. We recommend the following graphics settings for a smoother GTA V live stream.
First, run GTA, and go to Settings and then Graphics.
- Choose MSAA (Multisample Anti-Aliasing) over FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing), and set it at 2x or 4x. This should improve the game’s frame rate or frames per second (FPS). Just leave FXAA off.
- Turning Vsync on caps the frame rate according to your display’s refresh rate. If your monitor has a 60hz refresh rate, the game will not allow the frame rate to go beyond 60fps.
If your graphics card is putting out more frames than your monitor can handle, you get screen-tearing. If you have a powerful enough monitor and GPU, then, by all means, turn Vsync off.
- Keep Population Density and Variety to about half or three-fourths of the bars for a noticeable FPS boost.
- Lowering the grass quality makes for a more stable frame rate output. Keep texture and water quality on “Normal” or “High”.
- Shader quality controls lighting. So, it uses up a good chunk of resources. Try it on “Normal” if your game is not as smooth as you want it to be.
- Reflection MSAA determines the smoothness of surfaces that reflect light. Turning it off doesn’t affect graphics quality that much but gives a slight FPS boost.
- Keep “Reflection Quality” on “High” because those expensive GTA whips need to shine!
- Set the “Distance Scaling” bar at a third or half. It’s the game’s draw distance, which isn’t all that important.
- In “Advanced Graphics”, turn off “Long Shadows” and “High Resolution Shadows”. Then bring “Extended Shadows Distance” down to zero. Doing this will give you more frames at little cost to your gameplay experience.
- Leave the rest of the “Graphics” and “Advanced Graphics” settings on Normal or High.
You may notice that our recommendations focus on maximizing FPS as opposed to graphical fidelity. This is because a higher frame rate means a smoother-looking and running game.
When you stream, the platform applies compression to your A/V, resulting in some quality loss. So, placing all of your game’s individual graphics settings at max quality tends to mean little once it goes through the compression process. Your audience will still experience quality dips, and it’s neither your nor the game’s fault.
Most live stream viewers aren’t as bothered by mid-tier graphics. You’ll be alright sacrificing fidelity while keeping stuttering and screen-tearing at a minimum.
Also, consider that the streaming software shares computing resources with your game. Maxing out graphics while streaming might hard-crash your PC from overheating.
Don’t Get Claimed
Music is a huge part of the GTA series. The game uses music that spans many genres. Some radio DJs are even voiced by celebrities, like Cara Delevingne, Pam Grier, and Kenny Loggins. Yes, the Kenny Loggins.
Unfortunately, copyrighted music is the bane of content creators. Megacorporations are quick to claim content that uses their properties. Why Twitch or YouTube hasn’t struck a deal with recording companies so creators can use their intellectual property (IP) freely is anyone’s guess.
One solution is by going into the game, heading to “Settings”, then “Audio”, and then setting “Radio Station” to “Radio Off”. This disables music from playing whenever you get into a car.
The ambient sounds of Los Santos City and Blaine County are nice. But driving around without tunes gets old fast. The good news is you can use your own music in-game!
Just follow this path on your PC:
This PC > Documents > Rockstar Games > GTA V > User Music
Paste copyright-free music in the “User Music” folder. You don’t have to copy the actual files. Just paste shortcuts there, and the game will recognize them. This way, you save on disk space. Note that GTA V’s music player only accepts MP3 files.
To play them in-game, go back to the “Audio” settings, and “Perform Quick/Full Scan for Music”. Once the scan is complete, set “Radio Station” to “Self Radio”.
Set your “Self Radio Mode” to “Random”, “Sequential”, or “Radio”. Radio mode plays your music with a couple of hilarious Self Radio DJs and commercials in between tracks. We highly recommend Radio mode.
But where do you get copyright-free music? YouTube’s Audio Library has a large selection of free-to-use tracks from different genres. And they’re pretty decent. Just download and place them in your User Music folder.
Your live stream won’t get claimed mid-broadcast on Twitch. It’s your VODs (video-on-demand) you have to worry about. Getting claimed on Twitch will have your VODs taken down.
YouTube, on the other hand, scans live streams for copyrighted materials. If you get content ID’d mid-stream, YouTube may give you a warning or stop your broadcast altogether. If you somehow made it past this, your VOD may get claimed and your earnings from views will go to the copyright holders.
Mod Your Game
The GTA series’ modding community is one of the most prolific in modern gaming. Adding mods to the vanilla game makes for an entertaining live stream.
Do you want to slice through the freeway as a Harry Potter elf riding Ghost Rider’s bike? There’s a mod for that. How about playing as the Incredible Hulk dressed as 90s Mark Wahlberg? Maybe you want a gun that shoots out an entire train. There are mods for those, too!
There are quality-of-life and graphics improvements mods as well. Exercise caution when using the latter. Remember, higher-quality graphics are resource hogs.
Mod installations vary from creator to creator. Thankfully, most of them come with instructions. They are an excellent means of spicing up your live stream. You can layer mod upon mod to game-breaking and, often, hysterical ends.
Jump Into GTA Online
GTA Online (GTA O) comes free with the base game. It’s GTA’s multiplayer mode that shares the main story’s universe.
If you think Story Mode is large, then Online will blow your mind. It’s so massive that we’ll have a standalone tutorial for tips on live streaming it. But we’ll touch on a few major points here.
You create a character for GTA O. Then you start as a Los Santos newcomer—a lowly scrub out to make a name for themselves. You build up your criminal empire by doing heists and running questionable businesses.
Soon enough, you’re buying real estate, designer vehicles, and a research facility that gives you control over an orbital laser. Just normal stuff.
If selling stolen goods and breaking out convicts have become stale for you, there’s a bunch of activities spread across the map. You can race with other players, play golf, or just chill in a nightclub, to name a few.
GTA Online also allows you to create a crew. Your crew can be the exclusive club for you and your loyal viewers. Like most multiplayer games, GTA Online is a good way of interacting and bonding with your audience.
To Restrict or Not to Restrict
GTA V is rated M for mature. It’s rife with strong language, violence, sexual content, and references to drug and alcohol use.
If you’re playing the Story Mode, we recommend age-gating your stream for adult content. If you’re planning on goofing around the map with mods, then it may be safe to leave it open for everyone. Just don’t accidentally trigger story beats.
Best Platform for GTA V Streaming
As far as view count goes, YouTube wins over Twitch. In 2020, GTA V-related content got 70 billion views! It’s the 4th most-watched game on the platform, besting Fortnite by 3 billion. It’s not defined how many of those were live-streamed content. But that figure is still nothing to leer at.
We understand that comparing Twitch to YouTube by views alone isn’t fair. After all, streamers don’t earn from VOD views on Twitch, unlike on YouTube. Both platforms have first and third-party monetization mechanics for live broadcasts. If you’re just starting, it’s a matter of attracting viewers and keeping them around.
Based on the 2020 statistics above, YouTube offers more potential for growth in terms of GTA V live streaming. You can always advertise your Twitch channel to your YouTube audience.
Playing GTA V is a rollercoaster of an experience. The story’s realized characters and wild plot will put you on a chokehold, and you won’t let go until you tell them you love them. Factor in the way the game allows you to make your own fun and you have a recipe for a really good time, not just for you but also for your live stream audience.