How to stream Nintendo Switch on Twitch

Get your Switch onto Twitch.

Nintendo Switch sales figure till June 2021

Image via Nintendo

Streaming can be a huge amount of fun, and if you own a Nintendo Switch, its catalog of potential games for your stream is huge. Full retail releases with big fanbases, plenty of eShop games, and the NES and SNES collections to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers mean that you have a smorgasbord of choice when deciding what game to play on Twitch.

However, unlike streaming games from a PlayStation or Xbox, there is no built-in functionality within the Switch ecosystem to stream to Twitch directly from the console. With this in mind, you will need a computer with which you can broadcast your stream with, and a capture card to bring your gameplay into the software. 

Capture devices

One of the most popular sets of gameplay capture cards comes from the Elgato range, with the HD60 S showing to be one of the best options if you can afford it. However, there are a number of available capture cards on the market with varying levels of quality for you to choose from.

The vast majority of cards work by taking the feed that comes from the HDMI cable in the dock and splitting it to both your television and your PC via a USB port. The capture card will then encode this and send it as a video feed to your computer. However, any capture card that you use will be different in its setup, so be sure to check the included instructions for advice on how to prepare.

Twitch set up
Photo by ELLA DON/Creative Commons

Using your capture software

Once you have started your Switch, and with the console docked and the HDMI set up correctly to the capture card, your computer should be able to see the card as a Video Capture Device, similar to what it would see a webcam as.

On your OBS Studio or Streamlabs OBS client, simply add a Video Capture Device, and in the Device dropdown option, you will see the name of your capture card or USB device. Select this and your preview should then show your Switch screen. From here, you will see a set of audio levels for your capture card to control the game audio to your stream, and the video feed can be stretched as necessary.

If you want to be able to listen to the gameplay through your OBS, you can set this by going to the Audio Mixer, clicking on the gear symbol next to the capture card, and then heading into Advanced Audio Properties. Here, you will see a list of your audio devices. Under Audio Monitoring for the capture card, set this to Monitor Only (mute output), and this should send the audio through to your headphones and onto your stream via the Desktop audio. You will now be ready to stream your Switch to the world.

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