Game spectatorship: The Pupil and the Interested
During my ongoing literature review I often discover interesting facts about things I’ve never thought about. Sometimes I can connect these facts with my own observations: The result is mostly a completely new idea why things are as they are. Maybe these ideas are new to you, too. Therefore I’ll share my new science based knowledge with you!
This week: This is the second part of the video game / e-sport spectator series. This time, I’ll focus on the „pupil“ and „inspired“ spectator personas .
The Pupil has already deep knowledge about the game and is, in most cases, also a passionated player. The Pupil tries to improve its own gameplay by spectating the gameplay of others. For that purpose, the Pupil prefers spectating from the point-of-view (pov) of the performing player. Furthermore, the Pupil likes to analyze critical situations by watching them in detail.
As mentioned last week, there’re four different ways of spectating a game: Spectator mode, watching over the player’s shoulder, live broadcasts and watching recorded videos.
The spectator mode can be useful for the Pupil, if an option for displaying the actions of the performing player is available. Using the spectator mode allows the Pupil to follow the gameplay of a player in real-time. While spectating the game, the Pupil has the opportunity of observing the timing of actions and how the player is reacting to unknown situations. Additionally, the Pupil is in control of the camera and can watch the action from the perspective which suits them best.
On the other hand, the real-time aspect doesn’t allow the spectator to watch the gameplay again. In order to gain new knowledge about the game, the Pupil likes to pause the gameplay or to watch critical situations again in order to analyze them.
Watching over the player’s shoulder might be one of the best options to learn. During this process, the Pupil can take advantage of directly asking questions about the player’s gameplay, actions and choices. Additionally, the Pupil has the same pov as the player does.
The Pupil can’t pause the action but the opportunity of asking questions can easily compensate the missing replay function.
Live broadcasts are quite similar to the spectator mode. The spectator can watch the gameplay in real-time. In contrast to the spectator mode, the spectator has no option to control the camera. Instead the spectator has to accept the influence of the commentator. The real-time broadcast of the gameplay has the same disadvantage for the Pupil as the spectator mode: The Pupil has no direct option to pause or replay critical situations. However, the commentator might also give useful insights into the player’s strategy.
Watching recorded videos has, apart from watching over the player’s shoulder, the best opportunities for the Pupil to improve the own gameplay. Due to the fact that the gameplay is recorded, the spectator is able to pause and replay every situation as often as desired. Thus the Pupil can analyze every situation in detail. However it’s still important that the gameplay is recorded from the pov of the player and the player’s interface is shown.
The inspired can be separated into two different forms: The first form, the inspired spectator, is playing the game as well. While spectating other’s gameplay, inspired spectators develop the desire to play the game themselves.
The other form of the inspired spectator is not yet playing the game, but is interested in playing it in the near future. In this case, the inspired spectator is watching other’s gameplay to decide if the game is worth buying. I define this type of spectator as the interested spectator.
In this article, I’ll mainly focus on the interested spectator.
Due to the fact that the spectator mode is implemented in the game itself, the spectator mode isn’t available for the Interested.
Watching over the player’s shoulder is, as already mentioned, a great way to get new information about the game. The spectator has the same pov as the player and can directly ask questions. In this case, the Interested can get all the information to decide whether to buy the game or not.
Additionally, the player can inform the Interested about issues with the game and thus give a recommendation.
Live broadcasts can be helpful for the Interested as well. The real-time aspect allows the Interested to observe the pace and the flow of the gameplay.
However, live broadcasts focus in most cases on tournaments. The tournament players are experts of the game and do perfom at a very high skill level. The commentator mostly focusses on the strategies of the players and uses the camera control to show the biggest actions of the gameplay. Thus the impressions of the gameplay might be blurred for the Interested.
Watching recorded videos has the best opportunities for the Interested to inform about the game. Video portals like youtube offer a broad variety of videos. Using such a video portal allows the Interested to easily skip between different videos in order to gain as much insights into the gameplay as possible.
Next week, it’ll be all about the ways of spectating a game. Mostly, I’ll focus on recorded videos and watching over the player’s shoulder.
 Cheung, Gifford; Huang, Jeff (2011): Starcraft from the stands: understanding the game spectator, in: CHI 2011 Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems, pp. 763 – 772.