Updated: 11/12/2023 by Computer Hope
Super Mario Bros, with a side-scrolling POV.

In general, POV, short for point of view, refers to the perspective from which something is seen or viewed. For example, in a novel, it is the narrator's position in relation to the story being told (i.e., first person or third person).

With computers, it usually refers to the camera angle relative to a player's character in a game. For example, in an FPS (first-person shooter) game, the player experiences the game through the eyes of their character, a first-person view. In an MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game), like World of Warcraft, most players prefer a third-person view where they follow closely behind their character. From this perspective, it's easier to navigate obstacles and see approaching enemies.

Different POVs

Below is a list of the various POVs in gaming.

  • First-person - The player sees the game world through the eyes of the character they control. This perspective is common in shooters like Call of Duty or immersive games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
  • Third-person - The camera is positioned behind and slightly above the character. Players control the character indirectly and can see the character and the surrounding environment. Games from series such as Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto famously use this perspective.
  • Top-down or Bird's-eye View - The camera is positioned above the game environment, allowing players to see the entire area. This POV is common in strategy games like StarCraft or MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas) like League of Legends.
  • Side-scrolling POV - The game environment moves horizontally, and players move their characters from left to right or vice versa. Classic platformers like Super Mario Bros. use this perspective.

Computer acronyms, FPS, MOBA, Platform, Video terms