People have been watching sports on TV for as long as matches have been televised – sports packages are amongst the most popular cable packages and they always have been. Quality and resolution have improved considerably throughout the years, but people have always enjoyed watching.
In recent years, a new kind of sport has joined the likes of football, tennis, and cricket – esports. While many people still argue about whether or not esports are really sports, it’s undeniable that they are popular, and that people love watching – as a matter of fact, where often sports viewership-numbers are stagnating, esports viewer figures increase year-to-year!
Overwatch League gets a new world cup viewer
Here too, the way we watch is changing – most recently, the competitive pro league of popular first-person-shooter Overwatch (OWL) has announced some changes to how fans can watch the games. As of this month, they can choose to view matches through the eyes of their favorite players, or via a top-down view of the map. This gives them more autonomy and a choice between who they want to watch and which part of the match they want to view.
In a completely virtual competition, this is relatively easy to do, but now traditional sports events can be viewed in a similar way. After the Super Bowl already employed something called True View – a tech solution that uses special cameras in order to allow 360-degree replays – other events are adopting the same tech. Most recently, the UK Premier League is adding this to several different stadiums.
Their Etihad, Anfield, and Emirates stadiums are each getting 38 5k high-definition cameras in order to capture as much data as possible – an Intel server then crunches down on it all in order to provide 3D replays from (quite literally) every possible angle. This means that instead of just watching the players from above/the side, it’s possible to see winning goals or special moments through the eyes of the players – a new way of enjoying sports for fans at home.
The audience wants to be closer and control what they watch
At the moment, True View isn’t available in very many places yet, but it’s spreading – in Spain alone, six La Liga clubs have already joined – it’s only a matter of time before others do as well. In the world of esports, the incredibly positive feedback that the OWL’s announcement has caused has already sparked discussions about other esports adopting the same thing – several first- and third- person games would be well-suited for this sort of adaptation.
Shooters like Fortnite, PUBG, and CS:GO are prime examples here, but even games that don’t feature first/third-person views but rather top-down views have potential here – even RTS games like StarCraft 2 could benefit from this. The same goes for sports – imagine watching the Tour de France through the eyes of an individual competitor, or even the Olympics from the view of an athlete – the potential for fans to have a more immersive experience than before is huge.
YouTube: Overwatch World Cup Viewer Explained
Photo credit: All images used are owned by Blizzard and have been made available for editorial usage.
Source: Blizzard press release