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Brislen on Tech

Paul Brislen, Editor. 08 September 2017, 5:26 pm

Game on

In order to prep for this story I thought about all the games I've played over the years. There was the first game ever (a friend's parents owned a pub in North Wales and they had the first Space Invaders machine any of us had ever seen. Instant addiction) through to the game I play the most (1010! on my phone) through to the most embarrassing (I no longer have the twitch-like reflexes to play Modern Warfare or any of the first person shooters but that doesn't stop me falling off buildings regularly).

A friend of mine is a historian and he likes to play Medieval: Total War for the realism and of course by "like" I really mean "hate" because he once found himself wondering what that weird light was coming in from the street and realised he'd played all night long. That was BC of course: before children.

Games are big business and while many of us have grown up with them and can change between working and playing, between passively watching TV and actively hunting down our IT manager at lunchtime, for some folks the idea of gaming being normalised is all a bit too much.

Thankfully here in New Zealand we have a flourishing game development industry and not only is it a growth market ($100 million this year, up more than 12% year on year) it's also a massive export opportunity.

This is exactly the kind of weightless economy business we were thinking about when we first talked about the Knowledge Wave way back in the old days. New Zealand can and should stand tall in the world of digital content because we have so much to gain and so little to lose. Exports from New Zealand were always cost prohibitive because of the distances involved but with digital goods of course we're only a click away.

And of course, with digital content the sky is the limit. What is $100 million today could readily become $1 billion in the next decade and frankly I can't wait although my laggy reflexes will need to get their act together first.

Techblog - Ready player one: Games development grows in NZ

NZGDA - NZ Game Development Revenues Hit $100M

NZ Herald - NZ game development revenue hits $100m

NewstalkZB - Kiwi video game industry booming

RNZ - NZ game studios aim for the big bucks

 

Game Dev.jpg 

Yeah, nah...

 

Telco gets a bit more exciting

Hot on the heels of last week's RBI and UFB announcements comes news that telcos want you to use your mobile more for data.

2Degrees and Spark both have new data offerings in the market. Spark hit out first with a cheeky Unlimited data bundle for $79.99 a month, although the "unlimited" comes with an asterisk (no tethering and a soft cap at around 25GB of traffic) which always alarms the Commerce Commission but I think will pass the test this time round.

But then, 2Degrees hit back with a 25GB bundle for $70 a month but without any hotspot, tethering or speed restrictions.

The best you can get from Vodafone (as far as I can tell from the website) is 15GB/month for $99 which puts Big Red well behind the game and which has prompted IDC Research's suggestion that they'll come to market sooner rather than later with something new. I remember when Vodafone used to lead the market, not bring up the rear but times, they have changed.

And speaking of change, there are only three constants in life: birth, death and taxes. Well, I have a fourth and that is that in years that end in a number, someone will write a story about Vodafone Group selling off Vodafone New Zealand. I've lost track of the number of times I've seen the "sale imminent" banner (not to mention the BREAKING NEWS rubbish but that's another rant for another time) and so far it's all come to naught.

This time round it's a sale with a twist. Vodafone Group will float 50% of Vodafone New Zealand on the NZX according to "sources close to the typewriter", which sounds entirely plausible.

Typically companies float so as to raise capital for future investments and expansion. Vodafone New Zealand really doesn't need to do that as it goes to its shareholder (Vodafone Group) and asks for the money needed whenever it needs to. Consequently we have seen 3G coverage pushed out to a large percentage of the population closely followed by a similar investment in 4G and in fixed line assets from TelstraClear.

So why would Vodafone Group sell off half? Is it to provide a cash injection for something Group related? Is it to provide future funding for 4.5G expansion? Is it just for fun?

Answers on a postcard, or as is more likely in this day and age, a TXT message.

NBR - Vodafone to float on the NZX

NBR - Vodafone tipped to jump in as unlimited mobile data fight intensifies

Stuff - Few takers for $15 subsidised internet deal

Stuff - Uncapped mobile plans more affordable


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