Wednesday, 31 March 2021 21:59

Telstra is working with Niantic to bring 5G AR gaming to life


Australia's biggest telco says it is "always looking for ways to bring 5G to life in more places, and to show off what it is truly capable of," and it's why Telstra is "teaming up with Augmented Reality (AR) gaming developer, Niantic, to bring a new multiplayer game to Australia."

Kim Krogh Andersen, Telstra's Group Executive of Product & Technology, has written a blog post at the Telstra Exchange blog on bringing 5G augmented reality gaming to life.

Andersen explains that Telstra has partnered with Niantic, the creator of globally popular AR games like Pokémon Go, Ingress and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, has debuted "a new AR experience called Codename: Urban Legends to show off large-scale multiplayer on a superfast 5G networks like ours."

We're told that "Codename: Urban Legends is a new immersive multiplayer game demo that sees you and your team explore the world and battle against foes", and here's a teaser video embedded below to show what it looks like.

Andersen explains: "If you ever played Pokémon Go, you will know that having the right network is key to enjoying a smooth gaming experience. And when you combine this with a multiplayer experience, it is crucial you are playing on a high capacity, high-speed network like our 5G one to ensure you get a great experience."

"This is why Niantic teamed up with us exclusively in Australia: Our 5G technology makes us the natural choice. We will look drive further technology like mmWave, network slicing, enhanced mobile broadband and edge compute to bring Australian gamers an ultra-low latency, super-fast experience in more places than our competitors.

"We are on track to cover 75% of Australia’s population with 5G coverage by the end of June and have no doubt this is another reason why Niantic asked us to join its Alliance. Our technology leadership helps drive an immersive real-world multiplayer AR experience that truly shows off the potential of 5G.

"As part of this Codename: Urban Legends announcement, we are excited to also join Niantic’s Planet-Scale AR Alliance alongside some of the global telco leaders to work on future AR projects together.

"Gaming is massive in Australia and we know AR experiences will be popular among both casual and dedicated gamers, just like Niantic’s past entertainment experiences, especially when played on Australia’s largest and best 5G."

The Niantic Labs announcement talks about how Telstra is definitely its partner in Australia, but it is also working with Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom and Verizon, with Telstra the newest member of the Alliance.

Niantic explains the "potential of AR and 5G", stating:

"Ever since 5G’s inception, people have wondered what the “killer app” will be – the software that demonstrates and drives demand for new hardware. At Niantic, we believe AR gaming will be 5G’s killer app, because it’s an ideal showcase for high bandwidth, low latency, and massive simultaneous device connectivity, delivering experiences that were impossible or impractical on 4G and Wi-Fi.

"5G devices and AR apps will benefit from network-level changes, including bigger data pipes and distributed cloud computing, using servers located closer to more users. These networked computers – also known as multi-access edge computing (MEC) or edge servers – will be able to manage AR content on a massive scale.

"Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom, and Verizon are already network testing Codename: Urban Legends and seeing impressive results. On top of improvements in latency of up to 10 times and the ability to handle up to 10 times as many simultaneous players, 5G will enable even more capabilities over time that enhance the gameplay experience, such as longer battery life.

"Codename: Urban Legends is a demonstration of the kinds of new AR experiences that will be made available to Niantic explorers via the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance. Keep your eyes on the Niantic blog as we have more details to share. For more information about the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance, its mission, and current partners, check out our alliance announcement blog." 

Here’s what Niantic's Codename: Urban Legends launch partners have to say:

Dr. Alex Choi, Senior VP of Head of Strategy & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom: "We’re really excited to partner with Niantic and the Planet-Scale AR Alliance to enable real-time immersive multiplayer AR gaming with our advanced 5G and MEC network enabled by MobiledgeX. Edge enablement is crucial to our ability to deliver trusted, secure user experiences that demand high bandwidth, low latency, and real time spatial awareness regardless of the application or industry being served.”

Nikko Acosta, Senior VP, Product Management and Content Business Group of Globe: “Globe is a pioneer and leader of 5G technology in the country today. Together with Niantic, we aim to revolutionize the world of mobile gaming with faster speeds, ultra low latency and improved HD video streaming, among others. Earlier this month, we started testing Codename: Urban Legends on our multi-access edge computing platform to deliver near-real time, next level experiences - this is a first for such a project in South East Asia.”

Erin McPherson, Vice President, Consumer Content and Partnerships, Verizon: "Verizon built 5G Ultra Wideband for gamers, with ultra-fast speeds and ultra-low lag that unlocks amazing interactive experiences. Codename: Urban Legends is just the type of creative AR multiplayer game we envisioned benefiting from our leading network, and our customers will be able to see and feel the difference 5G Ultra Wideband brings when playing the game."

"Additionally, we welcomed our newest member to the Niantic Planet-Scale AR Alliance, Telstra, who is joining existing partners Deutsche Telekom, EE, Globe Telecom, Orange, SK Telecom, SoftBank Corp., TELUS and Verizon", explained Niantic, with Andersen quoted saying the same message as already quoted above, and which can be seen at the Niantec annoucenment.

Here's what Niantic says 5G means to it:


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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