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NTT DoCoMo places bets on Genvid

In another show of telco enthusiasm for online gaming, NTT DoCoMo Ventures (NDV), the venture capital arm of NTT Group's mobile operation, invested an undisclosed sum in esports outfit Genvid Technologies.

Based in the US, and co-founded by video game industry veterans, Genvid makes a bold pitch. It reckons it can provide game developers worldwide with the "most powerful interactive streaming capabilities available."

Where Genvid sees itself different from the esports crowd is the ability to allow spectator participation. Rather than just watch players – which people are apparently doing in increasingly large numbers – Genvid says its high-tech and open source approach allows viewers to participate and "directly affect the game experience and outcome."

As a result, claims Genvid, developers can benefit from new revenue streams and ways to monetize their games through livestream broadcasting on popular platforms.

NDV was clearly impressed. It also no doubt saw scope for growth through licensing opportunities with new gaming platforms, as well as supporting NTT Group's own livestreaming and VR platforms.

Let's all pool together
Collaboration and scale – nothing like wooing app developers with potentially large audiences – seems to be the name of the esports game for ambitious digital telcos.

Earlier this month, three of NTT's Asian neighbours -- SK Telecom, Singtel and Thailand's AIS -- clubbed together to form a regional gaming joint venture (JV).

Each brings something different to the party. According to the press release, the JV benefits from "Singtel's deep regional knowledge, digital and telco assets; SK Telecom's expertise as a pioneer in Korean entertainment and gaming; and AIS' experience in esports and digital content."

Operators are also looking to boost network scale and make it easier for gaming developers to work with them through standardized and interconnected multi-access edge computing platforms. Edge computing, with its promise of ultra-low latencies for 5G customers, could be – that's right – an esports game-changer.

China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, EE, KDDI, Orange, Singtel, SK Telecom, Telefonica and TIM recently joined forces – with the support of the GSMA – to develop an interoperable platform to make edge compute capabilities widely and easily available.

In a related announcement a few days later, China Unicom, Telefónica, KT and Telstra agreed to collaborate on the "Multi-Operator MEC Experience." This agreement is part of the GSMA Operator Platform initiative, which aims at designing a solution for operators to expose and monetize network capabilities. The initial focus of Operator Platform is edge computing.

For more on this topic, see:

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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