Blizzard is finally letting viewers control the camera while watching Overwatch esports

Blizzard is rolling out a beta test for the Overwatch World Cup Viewer, a bit of tech that will let viewers watch the upcoming Overwatch World Cup via the Battle.net client, giving them access to all of the camera tools previously reserved for Overwatch League's professional esports observers. This means viewers will be able to control the camera, switch between first-person and third-person, and choose which player's view they want to watch. 

This is great. I said several months ago that I was disappointed by the Overwatch League All Access Pass's Command Center, which added alternate in-game camera angles and real-time stats, but didn't let the viewer fully control the camera. Overwatch League's broadcast crew does a great job of following the fast-paced action of OWL matches, but sometimes I just want to follow a specific player the entire match, or watch only from the tanks' perspective. With the new OWWC Viewer, I'll finally be able to do just that.

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan says that by beta testing these viewing tools during the Overwatch World Cup, viewers are helping test a technology that the OW team hopes to bring to "all platforms and match types." The obvious implication here is that these tools will be rolled out for the upcoming second Overwatch League season, just as last year's OWWC first introduced the team-specific in-game color schemes that were then used in the inaugural OWL season. 

Perhaps even more exciting, however, is if the tech allows players to watch replays of their own games, a feature that has been sorely lacking from Overwatch thus far. According to Kaplan, that's the plan.

"By testing the beta version of the Overwatch World Cup Viewer, it allows us to work on the technology that will one day allow us to bring these features to all of Overwatch, both PC and console, not only in esports settings but for all of us as individuals," Kaplan said. "Can you imagine going and watching one of your own matches later, but being able to put the camera wherever you want, in that replay view? We think that would be pretty amazing."

Early on, the OWWC Viewer will only be available on PC using a special version of the Overwatch client. The initial version of the tools will let viewers both watch live matches through the game client as well as view replays of past matches. 

The developer update also mentioned that the Overwatch team will not be announcing a new map at BlizzCon this year, as it has done in past years with Oasis and Blizzard World.  He did mention there still will be "amazing announcements" which, almost certainly, means a new hero. 

Finally, Kaplan mentioned that the next Overwatch patch will have buffs for Mercy, Roadhog, Reaper, and Symmetra.