How to Stream Nintendo Switch Video Games on Twitch

Streaming Nintendo Switch games on Twitch is easier than you think

Streaming Nintendo Switch video games on Twitch is a popular hobby for people of all ages and a business for professional streamers looking to earn money from their favorite pastime. Since there's no Twitch app currently available for the Nintendo Switch, broadcasting there isn't as simple as streaming from an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, but it's entirely possible with the right equipment.

Person streaming a Mario game on Twitch with a Switch connected to a monitor
Lifewire / Bailey Mariner

This guide applies to Nintendo Switch version 9.1.0 and higher.

What You'll Need to Twitch Stream on the Nintendo Switch

Since there's no Twitch app on the Switch, you will need to broadcast via free streaming software and a video capture card. We use OBS Studio and an Elgato HD60 S in the instructions listed below.

Here's everything you need for this Twitch streaming method:

  • A computer: Any Windows or macOS computer is fine, but one with more processing power will let you stream at a higher resolution.
  • OBS Studio: You can download this software for free from its official website for Windows and macOS computers.
  • Elgato Game Capture HD60 S: Most capture devices that support 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second work fine with OBS Studio, however, those made by Elgato are very well-made, easy to install, and relatively affordable. The Elgato Game Capture HD60 S is one of the more popular capture devices used by Twitch streamers.
  • Webcam: This is optional for a basic stream, but it's necessary if you want to incorporate footage of yourself while playing.
  • A microphone or headset: These are also optional, but they can improve audio quality significantly during your stream.

Connecting Your Nintendo Switch Console to Your Computer

Before you begin streaming on Twitch, you need to connect your Nintendo Switch console to your computer. You will still be able to view your gameplay on your television set as usual with this setup. These instructions are for the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S but they will also work for other similar capture devices.

  1. Make sure your Nintendo Switch is in the dock. Find the HDMI cable that runs from it to your TV. Unplug the end that's connected to your TV and plug it into your Elgato Game Capture HD60 S.

  2. Plug the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S' USB cable into your computer. This will feed the game footage to OBS Studio.

  3. Find the HDMI cable that came with the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S, then connect it to the HDMI Out port on the device. Plug the other end of this cable into the HDMI In port on your television set.

Now when you play Nintendo Switch games on your TV, your computer also receives a copy of the video and audio thanks to the connected USB cable.

How to Twitch Stream the Nintendo Switch With OBS Studio

The first thing you need to do after installing OBS Studio on your computer is to link it to your Twitch account. Here's how:

  1. Log into the official Twitch website and go to your Dashboard.

    Screenshot of the Twitch homepage with the profile menu displayed
  2. Select your Profile icon, then select Account Settings.

    Screenshot of the Twitch dashboard. A menu with the Account Settings option is on the right.
  3. Select the Channel and Videos tab.

    Screenshot of the Twitch account settings
  4. You will see a section called Primary Stream Key. Press the Copy button to copy your key to the clipboard.

    Screenshot of Twitch Stream Key & Preferences window
  5. In OBS Studio, go to FIle > Settings > Stream and make sure Twitch is selected. Then, and paste the key into the available field and press OK.

    Screenshot of a Twitch stream key entered in OBS Studio

OBS Studio will now broadcast to Twitch whenever you stream. Next, you need to import your Nintendo Switch as a media source.

  1. Right-click anywhere in OBS Studio and select Add > Video Capture Device.

    The Create/Select Source window in OBS is where you can add a video capture card
  2. Name this new layer something descriptive. Every media source you add to OBS Studio will need its own unique layer.

  3. From the dropdown menu, find your capture device and select it. Press Okay.

  4. A box showing the live footage from your Nintendo Switch should appear in OBS Studio. You can now resize it and move it with your mouse to get it the way you like.

  5. If you have a webcam you want to use to capture footage of yourself while playing, make sure it's connected to your computer and repeat the steps above, this time making sure to select your webcam from the Video Capture Device dropdown menu. Like the Nintendo Switch footage, the webcam window can be resized and moved with your mouse.

  6. You can also use a microphone or headset with OBS Studio. The program should automatically detect them once they're plugged in and their volume levels can be adjusted via the volume sliders at the bottom of the screen.

  7. When you're ready to begin broadcasting, press the Start Streaming button in the lower-right of OBS Studio. Good luck!

A Warning About Nintendo and Copyright

While companies such as Microsoft and Sony encourage users to stream their respective Xbox One and PlayStation 4 video games on services like Twitch and YouTube, Nintendo is notorious for its attempts to protect its brands. It often files takedown requests on video websites on the basis of copyright infringement.

Luckily for Twitch streamers, Nintendo mainly focuses on taking down YouTube videos of its games and usually lets streamers do what they like. If you plan to upload full videos or small clips of your Twitch streams to YouTube after your broadcast has ended, though, it's highly recommended to sign up for the Nintendo Creators Program. It essentially shares any revenue your YouTube videos earn with Nintendo after they're published. Joining this program doesn't guarantee your videos will be protected from being taken down by Nintendo, but it does decrease the chances of this happening significantly due to them being officially registered with the company.

Nintendo's strict content policy is one of the reasons many video game streamers choose to broadcast gameplay of Xbox One and/or PlayStation 4 titles instead of those on the Nintendo Switch. Both of those rival consoles are completely open when it comes to streaming and require no registration of any kind with the related companies.