NZ gaming company Beyond showcases 5G mobile, VR interplay in world first

Last week the winners of Spark's 5G Starter Fund launched their technology prototypes, designed to showcase how important 5G will be across Aotearoa and the world.

One of the lucky businesses was Beyond, a Wellington-based virtual reality game studio, that is said to be leading the way in the esports market.

It has developed a world first: the ability for mobile gamers to join and assist virtual reality players in free-roam VR game Oddball. This allows those without a headset to participate from anywhere via their 5G mobile phone.

Oddball, first released in February 2020, allows up to eight players to face off, launching balls and fart bombs at one another to secure points.

"We're really excited to be able to add this mobile game and these players in," said Beyond CEO Jessica Manins.

"It adds a lot more fun, it's really family friendly, it's not violent so it's a real accessible game."

To stand a chance of sharing in the $625,000 of funding, the business had to show how their solution demonstrated 5G could bring positive outcomes to communities across New Zealand, something that's still being learned, said Spark Product Director Tessa Tierney.

"These types of events and collaborations are really what's needed to unlock innovation and productivity across the world and definitely in New Zealand," she said.

"Being able to visualise for people what the technology can do is important in telling stories and to be able to interact with it is a whole other level again."

"Each winner is set to make history by being amongst the first in the country to embrace the powerful potential of our 5G network to revolutionise their respective industries," said Spark's Technology Director, Mark Beder.

"From democratising eyecare, developing world-first immersive gaming experiences and taking the manufacturing industry to new, robotic heights, Spark is proud to support these four Kiwi businesses to deliver transformative solutions for New Zealand and New Zealanders."