How To Live Stream Nintendo Switch Gameplay on Twitch

Streaming Nintendo Switch gameplay on Twitch is a great way to showcase your gaming skills and build an audience. However, the Switch does not have built-in streaming capabilities like other consoles. To stream Switch games, you’ll need to use a capture card and streaming software on a computer.

What You Need

Here is the equipment you’ll need:

  • Nintendo Switch and Dock: The Switch needs to be docked to output HDMI video that can be captured.
  • Capture Card: A device that records HDMI video input and transfers it to your computer. Popular options include the Elgato HD60 S{:target=”_blank”} and Razer Ripsaw HD{:target=”_blank”}.
  • Computer: A Windows or Mac computer for running the capture card software and streaming app. Doesn’t need to be high-end.
  • Streaming Software: Apps like OBS Studio{:target=”_blank”} and Streamlabs{:target=”_blank”} compose your stream layout and handle uploading to Twitch.
  • HDMI Cables: To connect your Switch dock to the capture card, and the capture card to a TV.
  • High Speed Internet Connection: Ideally an ethernet connection instead of WiFi.
  • Twitch Account: Sign up for free at{:target=”_blank”}.

Step 1: Connect the Capture Card

Connect your equipment:

  1. Dock your Nintendo Switch.
  2. Unplug the HDMI cable from the dock to your TV and plug it into the “IN” port on your capture card instead.
  3. Connect another HDMI cable from the “OUT” port on your capture card to your TV.
  4. Connect the capture card’s USB cable to your computer.

The video feed will now be sent from your Switch to the capture card and onto both your TV and computer.

Step 2: Configure Streaming Software

On Windows:

  1. Download and install OBS Studio{:target=”_blank”}.
  2. In OBS, click Settings > Stream and select Twitch as the service.
  3. Go to your Twitch Dashboard{:target=”_blank”} > Settings > Channel & Videos > Primary Stream Key > Show Key.
  4. Copy and paste the stream key into OBS > Settings > Stream.

On Mac:

  1. Download and install Streamlabs{:target=”_blank”} or OBS Studio.
  2. Click Settings > Stream and select Twitch from the dropdown menu.
  3. Follow steps 3-4 above to connect your Twitch account in Streamlabs.

Step 3: Set Up Your Scene in OBS

  1. In OBS, right click on the Sources box and click Add > Video Capture Device.
  2. Select your capture card and click OK. You should now see the Switch gameplay feed in OBS.
  3. Right click the feed and click Transform > Fit to Screen to resize it.
  4. Add overlays, webcam feeds, etc. to customize your stream layout.
  5. Click Start Streaming when ready!

Tips for Streaming Nintendo Switch Games

Here are some tips for having the best stream quality and experience while broadcasting Switch gameplay:

Use Wired Internet for Stability

For live streaming, a wired internet connection provides more stable speeds and less chance of disruption compared to WiFi. Use an ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to the router.

Position Lighting on Your Face

Have a desk lamp, ring light, or other lighting source pointed at your face if using a webcam. This ensures you are properly lit up instead of appearing dark on stream.

Promote Your Stream

Let people know when you’ll be streaming on Twitter, Discord servers related to the game, and other platforms. Making a schedule also helps build an audience.

Interact With Viewers

Welcome new followers, answer questions in chat, and engage viewers to build community. This leads to more followers and subscribers.

Add New Overlays

Customize your stream with animated overlays, special effects, green screens, and more to stand out. Sites like Own3D{:target=”_blank”} have templates.

Check Video Quality

View your Twitch stream on a second device like a laptop or tablet to check the video feed and audio levels. Make adjustments in OBS as needed.

Use a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

The Pro Controller provides buttons that are easier to reach without looking compared to Joy-Cons. This helps you stay focused on the stream and gameplay.

Streaming Without a Capture Card

If you don’t have a capture card, you can still stream Switch gameplay without one in two ways:

Use the Xbox One Trick

  1. Connect your docked Nintendo Switch to an Xbox One using HDMI.
  2. On the Xbox One, open the Broadcast & capture tab.
  3. Select Start broadcasting and choose Twitch as the destination.
  4. Broadcast your Switch gameplay just like any Xbox game!

Downsides are you still need extra hardware (an Xbox One) and can’t add overlays or webcam video.

Stream Directly From the Switch

The Twitch app{:target=”_blank”} is available on Nintendo Switch. While you can’t broadcast gameplay, it allows you to:

  • Stream live video of yourself talking about your gameplay using the built-in camera.
  • Monitor Twitch chat while playing Switch games.
  • Watch other streamers on the go.

So while direct gameplay streaming isn’t possible, you can still engage with your Twitch community.

Tips for Growing Your Twitch Channel

Building a popular Twitch channel takes time and effort. Here are tips to grow your audience:

Stream Consistently

Stream to a reliable schedule so fans know when to watch you. This also boosts you in Twitch search results.

Interact With Viewers

Reading chat messages and engaging viewers makes them more likely to return to your streams.

Raid Other Streamers

When ending your stream, use the raid feature to send your viewers to another channel. This exposes you to new audiences.

Join a Supportive Community

Collaborate and make connections with other small streamers in your game niche to support each other.

Post Clips to YouTube

Edit and upload highlights from your streams to YouTube. This helps reach more potential fans.

The most important tip is to have fun! Passion and positivity translates through the stream.

Troubleshooting: No Capture Card Video Input

If OBS displays no signal coming from your capture card, try these troubleshooting steps:

  • Confirm all cables are securely connected at both ends. Try different cables if possible.
  • Ensure your HDMI cables are plugged into the correct IN/OUT ports on the capture card.
  • Try connecting the dock’s HDMI cable to the TV instead to isolate if the issue is the console or capture card.
  • Reinstall the capture card driver and streaming software.
  • Restart the computer, Switch console, capture card, and any connected devices.
  • Google “[your capture card model] no signal” for specific troubleshooting tips.

Still not working? Contact the manufacturer’s customer support for further assistance.

FAQs About Streaming Nintendo Switch Games

Do you need a capture card to stream Nintendo Switch games?

Yes, a capture card is necessary to stream Switch gameplay to services like Twitch and YouTube. The console itself cannot natively stream video.

What is the best capture card for streaming Nintendo Switch?

The Elgato HD60 S and Razer Ripsaw HD are two excellent, affordable options that work great with the Switch. The newer HD60 S+ and 4K models also work.

Can you use a Mac to stream Nintendo Switch games?

Yes, you can use a Mac to record and stream gameplay just like a Windows PC. Software options include OBS Studio and Streamlabs OBS.

Does Nintendo Switch support Bluetooth headphones?

Yes, wireless Bluetooth headphones and headsets can connect directly to the Switch for audio when playing in handheld or tabletop mode.

Can you stream copyrighted music on Twitch?

No, streaming copyrighted music is against DMCA rules. Twitch mutes 30 minute segments when it detects songs you don’t have rights to.

I hope this comprehensive guide helps you successfully set up live streaming for your Nintendo Switch games on Twitch! Let me know if you have any other questions.