Lots of interesting developments….HoloLens, Minecraft, Google & STEM, video games, the internet….
HoloLens by Microsoft
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in L.A. in June, Microsoft demonstrated its upcoming HoloLens, an Augmented Reality (AR) headset that allows players to visualise and manipulate digital images overlaid on the real world and to explore games in full 3D. Microsoft describes HoloLens as a “see-through holographic computer” that allows holograms to integrate with our world – an experience they call “mixed reality”. They believe it will unlock new ways to create, communicate, work and play.
In the demo, the player enters the world of Minecraft, playing first on a wall and then building a 3D world on a coffee table….awesome! He uses an Xbox controller and then voice commands and hand gestures. He can look around and through his creations by simply moving around in real space. HoloLens will probably be available in 2016, along with other Virtual Reality (VR) headsets – Sony’s Morpheus, Oculus Rift (owned by Facebook) and Valve.
Impressive 3 min. video – playing Minecraft with HoloLens: http://www.engadget.com/2015/06/15/microsoft-minecraft-hololens/
The possibilities of HoloLens – 2 min. video: https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us
Minecraft in education: can we change the way we learn?
The global phenomenon Minecraft, begun in 2009, has been owned by Microsoft since Sept 2014. More than 70 million copies have been sold across all platforms. Microsoft is now creating an online portal for teachers. “Minecraft in education is students visiting an ancient civilization and creating a setting for a story. It is exploring math concepts using Minecraft blocks. It is practicing collaboration, problem solving, digital citizenship and leadership skills while designing experiments and demonstrating mastery. Minecraft in education is teachers inspired by their students to explore and create, and students motivated to learn.”
http://education.minecraft.net (not fully running yet)
Minecon: the biggest Minecraft fan convention
10 000 players attended Minecon in London earlier in July. Whilst there are many younger players, the average age is 29. Guests included Stampy, a famous Minecraft YouTuber who now has Wonder Quest, an online animated Minecraft series, and Mindcrack, a community of online Minecraft players.
Google pledges $1 million to boost STEM in Aust.
Google will work with 3 Australian not-for-profits to inspire under-represented students to careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. Cash grants will deliver hands-on training and career programs. Aust. Indigenous Mentoring Experience will develop STEM content for Year 7 & 8 indigenous students; First Robotics Aust. will take robotics programs into 150 schools; Engineers Without Borders Aust. will give hands-on training to 5000 young people, focusing on young women.
Keep up with Google with their blog: http://google-au.blogspot.com.au/
Bond University Digital Australia report 2016 (DA16)
This report has been released annually since 2010 for the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association. Gaming is a massively popular activity for people of all ages and a growing industry. 68% of Australians play video games, with an average age of 33 years. 47% of gamers are female. Half of video game players are avid video game watchers as well. The International Defense of the Ancients 2 Championship (DotA2 – an online battle game) takes place next week in Seattle with many professional gamers and $22 million in prize money. Many will pay to watch the top players battle it out.
Gamers on Twitch.tv and YouTube
People are more than willing to watch others play video games – and will even pay to do it. Twitch.tv (owned by Amazon) has 100 million visitors per month who watch others play video games online and “e-sports” (the big video game competitions). Sarah Pike has a full-time job as a gamer on Twitch.tv. Viewers pay $6.70 a month to watch her play games like Call of Duty – she keeps half of that. She also gets donations and tips. Fans even order home delivered meals for her when she’s playing. 9 million viewers a month watch Elliott Watkins play Team Fortress on YouTube. He gets between 60c and $1 for every 1000 views…..$108 000p.a.
Global Internet Report 2015
The second report by the Internet Society focuses on mobile networks and devices, because they “will be instrumental in bringing the next billion people online”(Brown). More than 90% of the world’s population is covered by at least one mobile network, with 3 billion internet users. The time spent using apps exceeds the time spent using browsers on mobile devices. 84% of tablets and 72% of mobile phones are Android. Tablet sales will exceed PC sales within a year. There is widespread concern about the mass sharing of personal data arising from location-sharing apps. Neutrality, copyright and low-cost access are also issues. Governments must ensure that enough spectrum is available nationally and internationally to support the growth of mobile usage. By 2019, 71% of the world’s population will be using mobile networks.