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Getting our head in the game


Posted on October 29, 2019

3 min read

It’s easy to look at video games and think that they’re a niche pastime, but gaming is a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry that brings people together for the better. Gaming is an important part of our growth and our multi-year T22 program. Here’s why.

Xbox All Access gives Telstra fixed and post-paid mobile customers the ability to choose from two different gaming packages: a $27 monthly fee that includes an Xbox One S, access to over 100 games on Xbox Games Pass and multiplayer support with Xbox Live Gold. Alternatively, more enthusiastic gamers can opt for the awesome Xbox One X with 4K gaming capabilities, as well as access to Xbox Games Pass and Xbox Live Gold for just $38 per month.

Gaming by the numbers

When I was young, gaming was already a big deal. The 1980s were the golden age of gaming, and characters that I fell in love with then are still having amazing new adventures as I watch my kids play in 2019 and beyond.

As I’ve grxwn up, so has the gaming industry as a whole. What was once regarded as a novelty industry now reports nearly $7 billion in Australian retail and online sales in a single year. It’s not slowing down, either.

The sale of video games in Australia grew at a rate of 15 per cent per year between 2013 and 2018, according to the latest research from the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA). That’s big business by anyone’s measure. Comparatively, Australians are spending more on games per year than they spend on other household items, including seafood ($2.6 billion spent per year), tea and coffee ($1.6 billion per year), and even public transport ($2.7 billion per year).

And it’s no wonder: gaming is a medium that not only delights its users, but also one that can educate and promote a better lifestyle. The IGEA in partnership with Nielsen and Bond University conducted one of the nation’s most comprehensive surveys into behaviours around gaming for its annual Digital Australia report this year. The findings show that gaming and wellbeing are deeply intertwined:

  • 85% of respondents said that video games can help their thinking skills;
  • 74% of respondents said that games can help their emotional wellbeing;
  • 83% of respondents say video games can be effective in reducing stress, and
  • More than half of the parents who responded said that their children’s schools use video games for education.

In an age where we’re working hard to close the skills gap in this country to promote STEM careers for economic growth, using games as educational tools is invaluable. 61 per cent of parents surveyed believe that video games can be effective for learning STEM subjects, and those benefits continue outside the classroom. Parents surveyed believe that games give their kids more creativity and greater confidence in themselves, for example. When you look at numbers that show gaming’s positive impacts to the economy, the wellbeing of Australians and the future of our nation, it’s easy to see why we’re so keen on jumping into the market through our exclusive partnership with Microsoft.

We’re working hard through our T22 strategy to build a connected future where all Australians can thrive. Looking at how Australians responded to the IGEA’s ground-breaking gaming study shows that it’s truly the people who use it that bring meaning to the technology we roll out, as they use it to learn and to grow. Gaming also represents us delivering on the promises of T22 to grow and modernise our business with new offerings for our customers. Earlier this year we launched new, simplified plans that give customers the ability to customise their home or mobile package with technology add-ons and subscriptions available on flexible terms. Xbox All Access is the latest entertainment option for Telstra customers to add to their plans.

The right tech, the right time

Marrying our incredible technology with Microsoft’s for our customers’ benefit is also a no-brainer. As gaming moves to the cloud, companies like ours will have a competitive advantage thanks to fast new networks and a depth of cutting-edge tech. As our consumer 5G network also continues to evolve, it’s set to deliver faster download speeds and lower latency, and combined with servers around the country, will play a big role in untethering the gaming experience across any device, in and out of the home.

Xbox All Access with Telstra will do for gaming what Netflix and Spotify did for the content streaming market. We have lowered the barrier to entry to great gaming experiences with a single monthly fee and as online mobile gaming matures, we expect to see an explosion of even more content from developers. In the coming weeks, you’ll hear from our incredible Networks team about how we’ve optimised our offering to support better speeds for gamers in Australia looking to both play online and get games to their screens faster. We’re making gaming better for all of our customers, and diversifying our offering with an upcoming in-home gaming optimisation product.

As the gaming industry continues to grow and evolve from fixed hardware to gaming in the cloud, the importance of fast network speed and low latency is critical to customers getting the most out of their gaming experience. We are focused on continuous improvement of these measures across our mobile and fixed networks. We are thrilled to be bringing Xbox All Access to Aussie gamers through our work here at Telstra. The future of gaming is online and in the cloud, and we are working with Australia’s favourite network to deliver our ambition for gamers across the country.