Overwatch has been continually updating itself to accommodate the Overwatch League and its esports presence in general. Today, Blizzard announced one of the biggest steps forward in regards to spectating the game. Starting in the first few days of November, a beta will begin for the new Overwatch spectator tools that will allow viewers to watch the Overwatch World Cup live within the game with the advanced tools and replay features that the esports observers have. Even though it will start with just the Overwatch World Cup, Game Director Jeff Kaplan also said this was the first step into integrating this technology into regular Overwatch for everyone to experience.
Kaplan detailed these ambitious plans in the newest Developer Update. It’s called the “Overwatch World Cup Viewer” and it will go into beta exclusively in the Battle.net client (read: PC only) around BlizzCon, which will start on November 2 and end the following day. These tools will allow players to watch the matches in real-time with a spectator point of view “just like [the] professional esports observers do.”
Players will be able to move the cameras, go into a first-person perspective, use a free camera, and more. Replays will also available after the matches, allowing users to go in and change the speed to get a deeper look at specific play. The top-down view will also be available, which shows who is using what ability, their ultimate status, and so on.
But this isn’t where this feature ends. Kaplan stated how this is just the first step in enabling these tools for normal everyday matches.
“It will allow us to work on the technology that will one day allow us to bring these features to all of Overwatch both PC and console and not only in [an] esports setting but to all of us as individuals,” said Kaplan. “Can you imagine going and watching one of your own matches later but being able to put the camera wherever you want?”
Kaplan also did some general housekeeping in addition to the Overwatch spectator tools. Blizzard will not be announcing a new Overwatch map at BlizzCon this year because of how the studio feels that news gets lost in the shuffle every year. However, he assured the audience the team is working on map content but we will see it at a later date. As for heroes, Roadhog, Mercy, Reaper, and Symmetra are also getting balance changes in the next patch.