The full version of Minecraft came out in 2011. It was gaining traction a couple of years before that. It became a global hit once it went mainstream.
Eventually, Minecraft caught the eye of Microsoft. It started with a tweet by the game’s creator, Markus “Notch” Persson. Notch asked on Twitter if anyone wanted to buy his shares in Mojang, the developer company he founded.
A little while later, a Microsoft representative asked Notch about the seriousness of his very public offer. In 2014, the tech giant closed the deal to the tune of $2.5 billion. Not bad for a game developed by one person.
Minecraft’s popularity among players and spectators persists to this day. It’s the most-watched game on YouTube in 2020, with over 200 billion views.
The mining and crafting game (did we just blow your mind?) is also a favorite among live stream audiences. On Twitch, the most popular Minecraft streamers get hundreds of thousands of viewers per stream.
That said, Minecraft is still a viable game for live streaming. The strong interest remains, together with a sizable audience. If you’re looking to strike that still very hot iron, here’s how to stream Minecraft live on major platforms. We’ll cover major gaming devices, so don’t worry.
Streaming from consoles to Twitch is pretty simple. It requires a little backend tinkering. The rest is just a matter of hitting a few buttons on the controller. Meanwhile, streaming to YouTube from Xbox consoles is a bit complicated. But we’ll guide you through.
Here’s how to link Minecraft to Twitch on your consoles.
PlayStation 4 and 5 (Twitch, YouTube)
- Link and verify/authenticate your accounts to the Twitch or YouTube apps on your console.
- PlayStation consoles integrate with YouTube natively, unlike Xbox.
- Twitch requires a verification code. So have your phone with the Twitch app installed or a computer handy.
- Go to “Settings” then “Captures and Broadcasts”.
- On the Broadcasts side tab, select the video quality.
- If your internet sustains upload speeds of 15 to 20Mbps, we recommend 1080p at 60 or 30fps. If you get around 5 to 10Mbps, then stick with the 720p qualities.
- In “Audio”, turn voice chat on or off if you like. It’s for multiplayer sessions.
- In “Camera”, choose whether you want your facecam visible or not. Once turned on, your camera will appear on the right side. Adjust the camera settings accordingly.
- PlayStation doesn’t allow third-party USB cameras. You need official Sony HD cameras for your respective console.
- In “Overlays”, choose whether or not you want the chat from Twitch or YouTube over your gameplay. The “Display Activity” will show if you have new viewers. Then choose where you want these overlays.
- Exit out to your main dashboard.
- Start the Minecraft session you want to broadcast.
- Press the Share button on the controller.
- Select “Broadcast” Gameplay.
- Select the platform you want to stream to.
- Title your stream. Review your audio-video quality and overlay settings.
- Choose “Select Broadcasting”, and start your Minecraft live stream.
- End your stream by pressing the Share button again. Go to Broadcast Settings, and then select “Stop Broadcasting”.
- Press the Create button on the controller.
- Select “Broadcast”.
- Select the platform you want to stream to.
- Title your stream. Review your audio-video quality and overlay settings.
- Select “Go Live”.
- To end your stream, press the Create button again. Then go to Broadcast, and select “Stop Broadcasting”.
- There’s also a “Pause Broadcast” option under the Create selections if you want a breather.
Xbox One and Series X/S (Twitch)
- Go to Privacy and set “Others can see if you’re online” to “Everybody”.
- Under “Game Content”, set “You can broadcast gameplay” to “Allow”.
- Set “You can share content made using Kinect” or other cameras to “Allow”. This is if you’re using a facecam.
- Xbox consoles allow USB cameras from other manufacturers.
- Download and install the Twitch Xbox app from the Microsoft Store.
- Log in to your Twitch account through the app on the console. Verify/authenticate your account if prompted.
- Start Minecraft up to the point where you want to start streaming.
- Run Twitch and go to “Broadcast”. From there, adjust the audio-video settings. Choose “Automatic” for the bitrate.
- Put a title and description. Twitch should automatically detect Minecraft as the game you’re currently playing. Then select “Start Streaming” to go live. You can also start streaming before running a game.
- To stop streaming, press the Xbox button on the controller and go back to the Twitch app. Select “Stop Streaming/Broadcasting”.
- Viewers will not see your dashboard. They will only see gameplay and your camera feed if you have one.
Xbox Consoles (YouTube) & Nintendo Switch (Twitch, YouTube)
Xbox doesn’t natively stream to YouTube, while the Switch has no streaming capabilities at all. That’s why streaming to YouTube using these consoles requires additional equipment. You’ll need a capture card and a computer aside from your TV or monitor.
For a good starter capture card, we recommend the Elgato HD60 S, which streams videos up to 1080p at 60fps.
Here’s how to stream using a capture card.
- 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.
- 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 automatically install its drivers, download them from the manufacturer’s website and install.
- Download and install OBS Studio.
- Give OBS administrator access. Otherwise, you might encounter connectivity issues.
- Run OBS and cancel the “Auto-Configuration Wizard”. Go to “Settings”.
- In “Videos”, set both “Base” and “Output” resolutions to 1080p. Click “Apply” then “OK”.
- Turn on your console and monitor. The capture card should now split audio and video signals from the console to the computer and display.
- Run Minecraft on your console/handheld.
- In OBS, rename the auto-added scene by right-clicking and selecting “Rename”. Rename it to something manageable, like “Game and Facecam”.
- On the “Sources” panel, add a video source by clicking the “+” sign or right-clicking, then “Add”. Select “Video Capture Device”. If the capture card is installed properly, it should show up in the “Device” list on the “Properties” window. Select your capture card as a source then click “OK”.
- Your console/handheld’s display should now show up on OBS’s preview screen. If it doesn’t, quit OBS, move the USB cable to another USB 3.0 port on your computer. Restart OBS.
- If you’re using a webcam, in the “Sources” panel again, add another “Video Capture Device” source and select your webcam.
- Resize and crop your webcam by clicking and dragging the red border. Hold down the alt key when cropping. Drag your camera to wherever you want it on the screen.
- If you want to use a mic, OBS should auto-detect it. It will appear on the Audio Mixer panel. You can also add your mic manually by going to “Settings”, then “Audio”. Select your microphone from “Mic/Auxiliary Audio”.
- OBS’s mic input is just for your live commentary. The program does not pick up group chat audio from your console by default.
- Set your audio levels.
- Open a browser window, and log in to your streaming platform. Set up your broadcast settings, then generate a stream key.
You can also click “Get Stream Key.” OBS will open your platform’s dashboard for you if you’re logged in.
Twitch integrates with OBS, so we recommend connecting your account for the convenience of not having to log in and pasting keys every time you stream.
- Copy the stream key. Go back to OBS and into “Settings”. On the “Stream” tab, select your platform (Twitch or YouTube). Then paste the steam key. Click “Apply” then “OK”.
- Confirm your video layout and audio settings, then ready up Minecraft.
- Click “Start Streaming.” Also, click “Start Recording” if you want a copy of your show in its native quality.
- Go back to your platform’s dashboard and go live!
There are workarounds for streaming from Xbox consoles without a capture card. And there are ways for OBS to receive group chat through additional hardware and software. But those are for another time.
From a Desktop or Laptop
Minecraft live streaming from a Windows, macOS, or Linux computer is very similar to streaming using a capture card.
Here are the minor adjustments.
- Instead of “Video Capture Device” as the gameplay source on OBS, select “Game Capture”.
- In the properties, select either “Capture any fullscreen application” or “Capture specific window” under “Mode”. If you choose “Capture specific window,” pick out your Minecraft game window.
The rest of the steps are the same as streaming from Xbox consoles and the Switch using OBS.
Here are the minimum system requirements for running Minecraft.
- CPU: Intel Core i3-3210 3.2 GHz / AMD A8-7600 APU 3.1 GHz or equivalent
- RAM: At least 4GB
- GPU (Integrated): Intel HD Graphics 4000 or AMD Radeon R5 series
- GPU (Discrete): Nvidia GeForce 400 Series or AMD Radeon HD 7000 series
- Storage: At least 1GB
- Windows: Windows 7 and up
- macOS: Any 64-bit OS X using 10.9 Maverick or newer
- Linux: Any 64-bit distributions from 2014 onwards
Offline play is possible after downloading and installing all the required files.
Minecraft Live Streaming Tips
With the technicalities of streaming sorted out, you’re ready for your live Minecraft debut. We’ve listed a few tips below for putting out a good Minecraft stream.
1. Mind Your Manners
More like “mine” your manners, right? Please, don’t leave.
The average age of Minecraft players worldwide is 24. However, the game is for ages eight and up. The accessibility of this game attracts audiences from a vast assortment of demographics. You will get viewers both young and of age. It depends on the age restriction you put on your stream, of course. If you set it to “for everyone”, avoid involving adult themes in your content.
Parents praise Minecraft’s single-player mode for how it encourages creativity and its lack of overt violence. They turn wary when other parties join in. We’re talking about multiplayer and watching the game from streaming platforms. Even if you maintain a wholesome commentary, your chat might have other ideas.
That’s why Twitch has moderation and safety mechanisms. You can configure your chat to block certain words or phrases. You can also disallow the posting of links. Using these tools in combination with your direct efforts will foster a positive experience for you and your viewers.
2. Survival, Creative, or Adventure
If you’re playing Minecraft for the first time, maybe start the basic modes. The two main ones are:
- Survival. It’s essentially the story mode. You build up resources from nothing. You maintain your health and hunger meters. There are NPCs, and enemies come out at night.
- Creative. You’re on godmode with unlimited resources. Mining is not necessary, and you can fly. Creative unlocks all the rare resources as well. As the name suggests, creative mode encourages building whatever you want. Most of the mega-structures you may have seen were constructed in this mode.
The game’s community is so massive, even first-time gameplays will garner an audience. But prepare for over-enthusiastic viewers. This leads us to our next tip.
3. Be Ready for Backseat Gamers
This is true for most games, but more so with Minecraft.
The game is a way of life for many of its players. Some viewers might respond negatively if you don’t play the game the way they do. We recommend establishing early on that you’re new at the game. Let them know whether or not you’re open to suggestions.
Some people like watching Minecraft freshmen figure things out for themselves. And then some get enraged that you’re doing things wrong. Don’t hesitate to call out or reprimand unruly people in your chat. Make sure your reaction is within reason though. Distinguish constructive from abusive comments.
4. Set Goals for Your Stream
A chill game of Minecraft is fine. But its novelty may wear off eventually for both you and your viewers. Liven up your stream by setting goals and attempting to reach them. For example, say that you’ll try to survive three nights out with just a wooden sword. Maybe attempt to recreate a famous landmark within a time limit.
Minecraft is a sandbox game. This means your choices for self-imposed goals are near limitless. Viewers enjoy seeing progress or challenges won. The excitement of watching a no-armor resource run at night will have them at the edge of their seat.
5. Play with Friends or Strangers
Minecraft is also a multiplayer game. Join friends or let them join you.
This is possible in the vanilla game modes (survival, creative). But to truly unleash the power of Minecraft multiplayer, you have to try adventure maps or join servers.
Adventure maps are user-created. They normally don’t involve much of the usual mining and crafting mechanics. Each map has a theme. Some turn the game into an RPG, with an actual story. There are maps that focus on puzzles and mini-games.
There are even super creative map-makers out there who recreate other games as Minecraft adventure maps. You can play Skyrim or Pokemon in Minecraft!
Adventure maps are available on consoles, PC, macOS, and Linux. In order to join, you have to download and install the maps and they need to run natively from your machine. In multiplayer, each player must have the same map with the same version.
Meanwhile, joining servers doesn’t require downloading maps. All you need to do is select “Start” at the title screen, then go to “Servers”. You will find a list of popular servers. You can also add ones that aren’t on the list. Simply type in the IP address.
You can even create your own. Just remember that your machine is the host. If you quit and turn your game off, your Minecraft world will disappear. And the players in it will get kicked out.
Minecraft servers offer a large variety of modes that are far from the vanilla game. Some servers are for games, while others are more social. As a streamer, Minecraft multiplayer is a great way of interacting with your viewers. You can invite your top donors and play with them as a reward.
6. Get Mods
Minecraft is moddable. Modding is an excellent way of spicing up your stream’s visuals and gameplay.
Install texture and shader packs and make Minecraft look like an entirely different game. These mods can give the usually blocky models an HD washover. Shader mods allow for realistic lighting, even ray-tracing. It depends on your hardware.
With mods, you can alter the way the game plays. You can make enemies stronger and more intelligent, or set item pick-ups throughout the map.
There are also skin mods for your player model. Want to look like Link or Zelda while punching a tree for wood? No problem!
Mods can up the quality of your live stream by incorporating improvements and new elements over the base game. They’re something new to offer your audience.
Best Platform for Minecraft Streaming
Streaming platforms have been at it since live broadcasts were made available online to consumers. Gaming, in particular, is a fierce battleground.
Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. Twitch is centered on gaming content from the get-go. And it’s the go-to platform for the entertainment genre for millions of people. YouTube and Facebook also launched their gaming branches as a way to attract creators and viewers.
While Twitch has a tight-knit community of users and streamers, your content has the potential to reach a wider audience if you stream on YouTube or Facebook.
Twitch has a pool of in-house features that focus on audience engagement. Alerts and notifications are enabled or disabled from the Twitch backend. YouTube and Facebook Gaming, on the other hand, have chat and a tipping mechanic.
Similarly, Twitch offers some aesthetic improvements natively. You can add banners and other HUD elements. YouTube and Facebook Gaming largely rely on streaming software for customizations.
It boils down to what you require from a streaming service. Without meaty mods, any of these platforms will stream Minecraft with ease because the base game is not a resource-heavy application.
If you value features and an audience that’s more geared toward gaming, Twitch may be the better choice. If you think you’ll benefit more from exposure to an exponentially larger viewer base, then YouTube and Facebook Gaming win over Twitch.
An Influential Game Still Worth Playing
Minecraft is not the first survival and crafting game, but it solidified the genre’s place in modern gaming. The game still draws in the crowds to this day because it’s simple, charming, and educational. It’s also culturally impactful and a literal game-changer. It has redefined the sandbox model and influenced many developers and their games.
With over 200 million copies sold, there’s no doubt that Minecraft is still worth playing and streaming. And if the addition of Minecraft Steve and friends to Super Smash Bros Ultimate isn’t hard proof that the game still has fuel to burn, then we don’t know what is.