The eSports Effect: The Importance of Spectatorship

READS: 853
Updated: February 22, 2014
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

This post is brought to you by Where eSports means business.

By: Michael ‘Zorion’ Poropat

Spectatorship in eSports and Competitive Gaming

The ability to spectate a game or event is one of the most important aspects of eSports but is often overlooked. In the early ages of eSports, games were not designed with spectators in mind. While first-person shooters like Counter Strike gave a first-person view other games such as StarCraft or WarCraft 3 provided an innate spectator viewing angle. Many people don’t think about viewing angle is a major part of why came is successful. I feel, however, that StarCraft and WarCraft were wildly successful almost entirely because of their viewing angle and the way in which viewers really spectate.

Unlike first-person shooters fans of StarCraft WarCraft and other real-time strategy games were able to see the game from a top-down perspective. From this angle they could not only see everything that each player was doing, but they can also view entire armies, map areas and confrontations between two massive armies in its entirety. They have the ability to look at anything in the game they wish, and are not restricted by a camera locked onto players’ heads. This allows them to be fully it involved and immersed in the action and not miss anything.

The reason why this isn’t seen in first-person shooters is simply because it would be too difficult and confusing to implement. First-person shooters are just that, first-person, and the people who play them and watch them, do so in first big person. To watch a first-person shooter in a third person perspective or even from a top-down camera would be an interesting experience that I think should be experimented with. It would be similar to watching real-time strategy knowing that each unit is being controlled by a separate person and not being able to see exactly where or what they’re looking at. In a perfect world I would imagine a first-person shooter spectator to be able to view not only a top-down angle but also the ability to look through the scopes of both players that they are fighting with this means you can have the top half of the screen as the top-down, the bottom left part of the for the first-person view of player one and the bottom right part of the screen for the first-person view of player two.

Now that eSports is large and growing, games are being developed specifically for eSports and for the purpose of being spectated. With this comes more design ideas for how games can be spectated. Many games, of all genres, have considered using free-roaming cameras while others have fixed camera set up so that you can see the entire action no matter what happens, almost like you’re watching a board game, a third (and obvious) option would multiple first-person cameras. In my opinion the best type of viewing angle you can have for a game, for multiple reasons, is a free-roaming camera from a top-down perspective. The addition of other cameras, as we mentioned above, such as a first-person camera for certain players or even just a third person camera from different angles are extremely valuable and should definitely be implemented in the majority of games. However the top-down angle is more superior to any than any other angle out there.

Since you can move around the top down camera, it gives you this two-pronged effect of spectatorship. First you’re able as to, as a player of the game, spectate your friends or other games and use this tool to spectate the game the way to you want to. Second it allows for professionally organized tournaments to have real cameraman, just like in real sports where someone can direct the camera and show you everything that is being done all of the only important aspects and moves of the game. This is usually done and, should usually be done, by professional player themselves or a very experienced player. Spectating is not an easy thing to do, as any NFL or NBA cameraman will tell you, and their efforts should be well respected and appreciated.

<span style=”color: #000000;”>The combination of being able to free-roam and the ability to see large areas or perspectives that the players cannot is a really valuable experience. For example, there are only 3 people remaining in an elimination CoD match. You are looking down the barrel of the lone player’s gun and he is staring at a 4<sup>th</sup> story window with a sniper rifle. An opposing player pops into the window and is immediately shot by the sniper making the players remaining even at 1. If you had a third person perspective, you could see that there is someone creeping up behind him while he is lining up that shot and he gets knifed in the back for the last kill in an elimination round seconds after firing the tying shot. Without that third person view, you diminish the intensity and excitement of that scene.</span>

Overall spectatorship is a very large and very important part of eSports and should be considered with great weight when designing a game or organizing a tournament. Many developers have realized this and have taken steps to add better spectatorship to their games. League of Legends, for example, actually gives organized tournaments a different version of its game that they can spectate with and have more options for viewing angles and game setups. It’s a really important factor and I’m glad a lot of developers are now implementing it into their games and it should continue to be implemented. If you’re thinking about making game, this should be one of your most important factors. Even if the game is fun, if no one wants to watch it will not succeed as an eSport.

This post was brought to you by Where eSports means business.

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five − 2 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>