Entertainment |

Share your gaming rituals to win one of our $2000 gaming grants

By Luke Hopewell January 20, 2021

We’ve been sharing rituals used by pro gamers that help secure the big W. Now it’s your turn: share your pre-game rituals with us to win one of our Gaming Grants, thanks to Telstra Game Optimiser.

Whether it’s a lean in; dim the lights; a special seating position or a special beverage, most of us have rituals when it comes to playing games. Our pre-game rituals can help power the comeback when you are 2-0 down, or ensure that you dominate from the start of a match. Whatever you do to secure a win, it could net you one of our $2000 Gaming Grants to help further improve your performance.

You could spend it on a new gaming or streaming set-up; a better TV or monitor; a pro-gaming coach to help you level up or even a custom fridge full of energy drinks and snacks. It’s yours to spend it however you want to up your game.

The Gaming Grants come courtesy of Telstra Game Optimiser: our new add-on that gives you the power to prioritise traffic to gaming devices in your home network. It helps maintain your low ping to reduce lag and improve your gaming experience.

How to enter

We have THREE (3) $2000 Gaming Grants to give away thanks to Telstra Game Optimiser.

All you have to do to be in with a chance to win one is to share with us, in writing, still or video content, your most creative ‘ritual’ for preparing to play video games by:

  • posting a response to the Telstra Game Optimiser promotional post on Telstra’s social channels (including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook); or
  • posting a response to the Telstra Game Optimiser promotional post on iamfallfromgrace’s social channels (including Instagram and Twitter); or
  • posting on your own Instagram, Twitter or YouTube page or account, tagging @telstra and including the hashtag #UpMyGame in that post

Multiple entries per person will be accepted, and entries are accepted at the time of receipt by us or posting. However, you are only eligible to win one prize.

Make sure you read the full terms and conditions that apply to this promotion, and get your entries in before 29 January 2021.

To get started with Telstra Game Optimiser, check out how it works and get your first month on us.

Entertainment |

CES 2021: what’s next for gaming?

By Luke Hopewell January 19, 2021

Just because next-gen consoles launched in 2020 doesn’t mean the gaming innovations are over yet. We’ve been at the virtual CES 2021 to find the best in gaming for your next round.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is all happening online this year. Nevertheless, the gadgets and announcements have been coming thick and fast.

New form factors

Consoles like the Switch showed us that gaming is no longer constrained to a controller, mouse or keyboard. It’s all about new and immersive platforms that can work anywhere.

That’s what Lenovo and NEC want to do with the LaVie Mini: create a PC gaming device that works exactly like everyone’s favourite Nintendo portable. Powered by an Intel 11th Gen Core processor and featuring a 1920 x 1200 8-inch display, this may be the portable gaming PC of the future.

And if you want to really shake up your gaming experience, maybe something like Razer’s Project Brooklyn is for you?

Project Brooklyn is an all-in-one gaming station that allows you to slide into a purpose-built gaming chair, complete with integrated tray table and curved monitor. Both the aforementioned accessories slide into place to suit you, and it’s truly immersive.

Next-gen visuals

It’s all about the refresh rate on high-end monitors. 120Hz is great for making everything buttery smooth, but what if you had 360Hz to make everything look like real life before your eyes?

That’s what Asus has with its new ROG Swift 360Hz: a 24.5-inch display that updates its image 360 times per second. That’s six times as often as a 60Hz monitor for smoother gameplay.

Asus also announced the 43-inch ROG Strix XG43UQ which has 4K, 144Hz and HDMI 2.1, so if you have recently purchased a next-gen gaming console like the Xbox Series X, this is the display you want to play it on.

The world’s best-looking gaming laptops from Razer are also getting powerful updates. Both a 15- and 17-inch model are getting great spec bumps for this year, with NVIDIA G-Sync compatible 1440p QHD displays and new graphics chips onboard.

Elsewhere in the gaming laptop world, Asus; Lenovo Legion, and MSI are all getting their big boosts of their own.

Faster experiences with 5G

5G will make good on the promise of a truly connected entertainment experience, delivering speeds and network capacity we’d only previously dreamed of. We predict that when 5G reaches its peak it could be 10x faster than the current 5G speeds enabling a download of a HD movie in around a second. 5G also improves latency (lag time) helping you play games faster and improve video calls and other entertainment technologies.

Telstra 5G is getting better every single day. As more and more sites come online, we’re bringing the promise of future gaming to Aussies in more places than ever before.

In a world where every millisecond counts, the ultra-low latency capabilities of 5G will greatly enhance the experience on mobile devices. And as gaming platforms and with cloud gaming machines host content at the mobile edge, the quality of mobile games is set to skyrocket.

We’re working to build experiences on the back of our incredible 5G this year, including a massive upgrade to the future of the Marvel Stadium experience, and a partnership with Fortress to build out great gaming moments.

Check out where our 5G is live right now, and where it’s set to be deployed next on our Mobile Coverage Maps, and learn more about Telstra 5G on our website.

Entertainment |

Keeping your kids safe gaming online

By Louisa Harris-Baxter December 24, 2020

More than a few kids will be looking forward to finding a new video game console wrapped up as a birthday or Christmas present this year. Gaming is a hugely popular activity, and it’s important to understand the risks and benefits of playing games online.

While the new Xbox consoles are a tonne of fun and a great way to keep entertained over the holidays, most gaming these days happens online – and this means it’s important to know what your kids are up to and how to help keep them safe.

If you haven’t spent much time with a controller in your hands recently, you might be surprised to find out how diverse and interactive the world of gaming is these days. It’s natural to worry about how much time your kids spend in the world of online gaming (the pain of getting them to the dinner table is real), but when we roll up our sleeves and get involved, online games can be a way for the whole family to play and work together.

You may have listened to your kids talk at length about Games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla ,which transports players to the Viking age with axes and longboats, but you can also take your family on a journey around the world in Microsoft Flight Simulator, or have some mad-cap culinary fun as a team in Overcooked. Gaming really can be a family activity, and getting involved is one of the best ways to help keep your kids safe online

The latest gaming data shows that over 80% of Australian teenagers have played video games online before, and of those who do, almost all of them think they’ll play even more going forward. A big reason for this is new advancements in technology, such as virtual reality, a new generation of consoles and being able to access games instantly without downloading over the internet.

Nearly half of those teenagers surveyed also see the future of gaming as multiplayer, social, and co-operative – all things that are innately positive, but mean that when they’re online, they’ll be interacting with other people – which may carry some risk.

All the new games and advancements in technology can be a bit overwhelming to keep up with, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the wide world of gaming out there. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to give yourself peace of mind while your kids are playing online – and help keep them safe.

Here are four basic tips to follow to help keep your kids safer online. If you want to know more, visit the eSafety Commissioner’s online gaming page or read their research on how kids game online.

You might notice that the common advice is to keep clear lines of communication open between you and your kids. It’s crucial that you talk about these things openly and regularly – if you can empower your kids to make wise decisions for themselves, you’ll be setting them up for success whether they’re gaming or doing anything else online.

Know what your kids are playing

The best thing you can do to keep on top of things is understand the type of games your kids are playing.

This means keeping gaming consoles in the living room where you can keep an eye out, and paying attention to the parental rating of each game to make sure it’s not too violent and that it doesn’t contain themes, language or images that your kids aren’t ready for.

Online reviews are a great way to get a quick read on whether a game is appropriate. Common-sense media is a great source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families and schools, and has a ‘what parents need to know’ section to their reviews that takes out the guess work.

Help keep their identity safe

While kids mostly want to play online with their friends, the next best thing – and a central part of some online games – is to play with strangers around the world.

Here’s the reality: when you’re playing an online game, you can’t be completely sure who you are playing with. Because of that, it’s important to set parental controls for younger gamers, and make sure older kids play with things like screen names instead of their real names, and not to share information such as their city, age or even gender.

It’s easiest to educate them about this early – you can even help them choose a screen name! Using a screen name can help keep them safe without impacting their gaming experience.

Take an interest

My daughter could talk for hours about the games and tv shows she’s passionate about. Taking an interest isn’t just a great way to bond with your kids, it’s a great way to help keep them safe.

More than just knowing what your kids are playing, if you know who they spend most of their time playing with, how they play and act online and how others interact with them, it can help put you on the front foot in making sure nothing bad happens.

One of the best ways to do this is simply to sit down every now and then and play a few games with them – you’ll get a better picture of what they’re actually doing, plus they’ll feel more comfortable talking about issues if they pop up.

Teach them basic computer safety

No matter where your child or teenager is gaming – whether it’s on a smartphone, game console or a PC – let your kids know that the same risks are there that would apply if they were browsing any other part of the internet.

This means things like not clicking on random links sent by strangers, not downloading files, or ever sharing passwords, login details or personal information over gaming chats. As digital natives, kids take this sort of information in their stride, and agreeing on your gaming rules and expectations together up front can help to build trust, avoid angst, and minimise unsafe behaviour down the track.

It might seem a bit daunting letting your kids play a game online – it’s a far cry from the multi-player Mario Cart we grew up with – but taking the time to engage with the games your kids are playing, and basic computer safety tips and tools will help you to keep your kids as safe as possible, while still letting them have a great time playing the latest games online this summer.

Entertainment |

Gaming rituals from a pro to improve your performance

By Tristan Wright December 18, 2020

We all know the feeling. It’s the end of a round. Down to the wire. The dying seconds of a game that’s yours to lose. You’re on a knife-edge. The room closes in around you and you’re laser focussed. Your winning rituals have taken over, and suddenly you’re on rails to victory.

Believe it or not, many of us have our own personal gaming rituals. For some it’s leaning forward when you need to stage an epic comeback. For others it’s a playlist of verified bangers that get you in the mood for victory.

To ensure you can drive your squad to success, we spoke to a real pro. IAmFallFromGrace is an Australian Twitch streamer and pro-gamer. With 100,000 followers on Twitch watching her game from all over the world, Grace knows a thing or two about what it takes to win regularly.

For Grace, it all starts with her setup. If you’ve ever viewed her stream, or watched any of her incredible set-up tours, you know that she’s meticulous.

“I have to set the perfect scene, and set up my stream. I turn on all the lights in my background, power up my PC, put on my headset and turn on my camera. I’ll usually do some wrist and neck rolls to warm up before I focus into the game,” she says of getting started.

Like most of us, Grace does the instinctual lean in ritual while she games,

I get very immersed in games and sometimes my body takes over,” Grace says. “I don’t even realise I’m doing it half of the time until my chat calls me out on it or I notice it on my preview window,” she tells us.

But for Grace, every game is different and comes with its own set of rituals for success.

“Game-to-game there are definitely differences. If I’m preparing for an aggressive push in a Battle Royale I’ll usually take a big deep breath and try to slow my heart rate. The adrenaline in that style of game is immense.

“When it comes to a more relaxed story game or puzzle platformer, there’s not much adrenaline going on but if there is a lot of dialogue, I’ll bring my microphone in nice and close and narrate for my audience.”

“It’s all about getting into the zone. Gaming requires a lot of mental focus and stamina.”

Grace isn’t the only one getting in the zone with rituals. We spoke to hundreds of Fortress Melbourne members, and found that we all engage in some form of ritualistic gaming behaviour to help us clench the big W.

Fortress players know how to get in the zone. They know what it takes for a big win, and they all have their own rituals to get them there. The biggest ritual for Fortress players is having a drink handy to stay hydrated during a session. Almost half of the gamers we spoke to with rituals said that ensuring a drink is nearby is key for a clutch session. Of those who told us they needed libations during play, only 5% said they needed their drink to be alcoholic.

Interestingly, not everyone loves a snack as much. Only 17% of respondents told us they needed munchies nearby to ensure a good game.

Much like Grace, Fortress gamers also must have their environment just right to play effectively. 25% of respondents said they needed their furniture, software, settings and more to be just so in order to enjoy a gaming session.

Importantly, Fortress gamers also value the ritual of taking a break between rounds. Those we spoke to often referred to requiring regular movement or mental check-ins throughout a gaming session.

One ritual that can save your game faster than a checkpoint is ensuring your modem is humming at top performance. That’s where Telstra Game Optimiser comes in.

We’ve already taken steps to optimise our network for gaming, but for the vast majority of Australian console and PC gamers, the big opportunity is within your own home network with Telstra Game Optimiser.

Game Optimiser is our new gaming add-on that gives you the power to prioritise traffic to gaming devices in your home network, and helps curb lag spikes by letting you choose what bandwidth your device needs. It plays the key role in maintaining your low ping to reduce lag, improving gaming performance.

It helps you choose servers to improve latency for the game you’re playing. It works for more than just games, too – you can use Game Optimiser’s network monitor to spot bandwidth-hogging programs and devices, helping your ping be uninterrupted by a pesky system update or unexpected download.

With Game Optimiser, we’re seeing a 75% reduction in ping spikes, when playing on a typical shared household network. And in the initial beta, 66% of Battle Royale gamers had overall improvement in their gaming experience, with 72% quoting improvements in the reliability of their connection.

After a successful series of early betas for Game Optimiser, it’s ready to drive your squad to the chicken dinner you deserve. You can road test Game Optimiser on us for one month, then it’s $10 per month after that.

Things you need to know

Eligible Telstra nbn customers will be able to add on Telstra Games Optimiser with a one-month free trial, then the subscription is $10 per month, plus your existing nbn plan charges.

One-month free-trial for new Game Optimiser Customers. Monthly charging will start at the end of your trial period. Cancel at any time and receive a pro-rata refund for the month. Requires Gen Smart 2 Smart Modems. Incompatible with Fixed Wireless connections, nbn Basic and Ultrafast speed plans.

Entertainment |

Immortals Fenyx Rising review: how to become a gaming god

By Joshua Appadoo December 3, 2020

It’s time to experience Greek mythology how it was supposed to be experienced! Many games in recent history have tried to bring the player back in time to travel the pathways of Olympus and battle with the gods – but few have done quite as well as Immortals Fenyx Rising.

During my time with Immortals Fenyx Rising, I found one thing that wasn’t there during gameplay – frustration! Regardless of if I was stuck on a puzzle for too long, couldn’t quite defeat a boss, or if I just had no idea what I was doing, ‘burnout’ didn’t set in. There’s a good reason for this: the fact that I could view the gorgeous emerald fields and gargantuan stone statues in the distance made it all worthwhile as I traversed the Golden Isle. It’s really hard to get angry while you’re looking at vistas as good as these!

One of the biggest highlights of the gameplay of Immortals for me was listening to Zeus and Prometheus converse in your ear as you go about your quests and tasks. Zeus is voiced by Daniel Matmor, who has lent his talents to the gaming industry in titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Far Cry 2, and Prometheus is voiced by Elias Toufexis in games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

It’s convincing, too; you can see straight away neither of these actors are unfamiliar with Greece’s history and mythos. Apart from their larger pieces of dialogue throughout the story – which are done beautifully – they just tickle your eardrum with little tidbits of arguments and petty squabbles between the two. It’s charming, really, and sometimes funny enough to make even Medusa crack!

I hope you love exploring, because Fenyx Rising has collectibles and secrets to spare! Once I was able to climb atop some of the towering statues and get my bearings, I could see just how much land there was to cover. From experiencing the ruins of Greek monuments, delving through vaults for upgrades to your abilities, or uncovering above ground puzzles to unlock better equipment to grow stronger, I was hard pressed to complete everything – there’s a phenomenal amount of activities on offer.

Do not let Immortals Fenyx Rising’s cartoonish nature make you think this is a game only for children, though. There really is something for everyone here and it is absolutely a title you shouldn’t let pass by! In a world of games where everything seems dark and dismal, Fenyx Rising manages to illuminate its experience with simple yet engaging gameplay and a worthwhile narrative.

Check out the Immortals Fenyx Rising website for more info on the game and how to get your hands on it. I played Immortals on my Xbox Series X.