The latest update to the Oculus Integration for Unity includes a beta release of a spectator camera capability which will allow developers to show a third-person view to spectators watching on a smartphone or web browser.

Today if a friend wants to watch the action going on inside your Quest game, you can cast your first-person view to your smartphone (through the Oculus app), to a TV (with Chromecast), or to a web browser (through the Casting page). Though this offers a window into the virtual world for spectators, the first-person view from a VR headset isn’t always the best way to see what’s going on because of the cropped field-of-view and motion of the player’s head.

To improve spectating, some VR games on PC and console show the action from a third-person view, which shows clearer context about what’s happening in the scene and eliminates the shaking head motion. Soon, developers on Quest will be able to add the same kind of feature to their games.

After being initially announced late last year, now the v29 update to the Oculus Integration for Unity includes a beta version of the spectator camera function, including a sample for developers to build from.

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The feature can also be used in tandem with the typical first-person view, allowing the developer or user to switch from one to another as they please from within the application.

The feature may also open the door to developers being able to add a stabilized first-person view, as spectator views in some PC and console VR games have done. Oculus also previously showed a version of the feature where the spectator could even control the orientation of the third-person camera though the smartphone, though it isn’t clear if that functionality is included in this beta release.

Oculus notes that rendering the extra third-person view will have an impact on app performance, so we’d expect the feature to be limited to applications which are highly optimized and already run well on Quest, or developers could choose to enable the feature only on Quest 2 thanks to its additional power.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Oh wow, I should experiment with it!

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    I would have thought this would be a game engine level thing.

    • Mary Dickey

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  • Adrian Meredith

    So the quest is doing the rendering? Would be nice to get the phone to do it but I guess that would take too long

    • guest

      The Quest is pretty much a cellphone without the radio, so its likely this is running somewhere else, perhaps some vapor-assed cloud thing that expects an internet connection like it was hot and cold running water!

    • benz145

      Yeah the headset is doing the rendering for sure. To do it on the phone, the phone would need a copy of the application which isn’t really sensible.

      • guest

        Developers will always max out the capacity of the platform…

  • K E

    This will be a great feature. I’ve tried to watch some VR streams on Twitch but the constant first-person camera shake does indeed get really annoying.
    It would be even better to have a spectator mode that is rendered on the viewer’s computer. But this is a good first step.

    • Marlene Long

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  • Wild Dog

    This is kind of interesting, but honestly I keep finding RoadtoVR’s weekly lineup underwhelming.

  • Geoff

    Chromecast casting works about 30% of the time for me on either my Q1 or Q2. Spoils the mood when at a party and it works pre-party with just me but as soon as others turn up it decides to throw a curveball. All VR excitement is kinda lost when you have to start faffing with it again, restarting the HMD, unplugging the Chromecast, it works for 5 mins then stops working again. I gave up on it. Tested on 2 x Chromecast dongles and a NVidia Shield Pro.