Online Spectating: Good Or Bad idea?

In the world of gaming there are those times where we get a little tired of playing. We put down the controller and just relax, maybe check out a couple of matches here or there without having to play anything. No? Just me?  Well let me ask you a question; is spectator mode a feature that should be welcome in today’s games?

Let’s think about it. We’ve had some games implement features like this before. From friendly sport to fighters, we’ve been given the option to stream live (and catch replays of) matches/races/games. Spectating may not be for everyone but I believe that it certainly has its place and can be a simple addition to games (especially sports titles). With EA’s MMA taking a huge step into the ‘spectator field’ by having entire fights downloadable from their leaderboards; why not carry it over to their other titles? On this EA community forum UK fans seem to love the idea of watching matches themselves.  When taking into account things like Online leagues and franchises it would only make sense to give people the option of watching games (or highlights) live or on playback.

How cool would it be to see someone get that last goal? Grab themselves a late lead only to have it crumble in their fingertips? I know this is sounding primarily like a take on sports features, but those are really the games that need it the most. Many other games don’t have those moments that need to be captured right then and there like sports games do. With that said, I’m all for having online spectator modes all across the board. The more I can be even lazier and sit down and watch other people play the better!

C'mon, even a game about ping pong had an option for spectators!

When it comes to features like this there’s always been sort of a clamor in various communities about it, but it’s an overall harmless feature. Players should have the option to allow spectators in their games. If I’m playing a game of Madden against a brand new opponent then of course I wouldn’t want anyone to jump in and watch along, but if I’m playing a friend or with friends in a team up match then I’d be more inclined to do so.

Above: A game that needs to take a page out of EA's book next year

What do you think? Would spectating matches be too much to take on for the servers? Would it be something that you’re interested in seeing be implemented one day? How would it even work? There are plenty of questions to be asked about such a spin on online gaming, but I’m sure that one day we can have these (and more) answered with a very careful and proper solution.

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  • OnLive allows this feature and I love it. I think it’s a great way to follow your friends and at the same time learn how to play the game better by watching what they are doing.

  • Most games are having that put in nowadays. It’s not that big a feature to be honest, and although I like having the ability to spectate when I like, I would rarely use it.