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A Weekend at Digital Nationz 2014

Digital Nationz Media Pass

Thanks to LG New Zealand, I was invited to attend this year’s DIGITAL NATIONZ as a media guest at Vector Arena in Auckland. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the Media Preview Day on Friday, but was able to enter the show one hour before everyone else entered, at 9AM. Upon arrival, I was given my media passes and a quick tour was then given to me which was kind of them. The media also got access to a special media room at the back of the arena for productivity work, snacks, and social time with other media personnel.

Luckily for me, I was able to skip this long queue to get into DIGITAL NATIONZ:

Digital Nationz Line

As I was one of the early guests at DIGITAL NATIONZ, I got to try out, and gaze my eyes upon, a lot of gizmos, gadgets and unreleased games before the crowd started getting big. The Xbox area was near the middle of the arena and was an R16 restricted area too. This was no problem for me as I just had my 16th birthday no less than a week ago! The Xbox area was mainly green-lit, which matched the Xbox theme colour and there were at least over 25 Xbox One consoles, each with their own separate 32-42″ TVs, headphones and controller. HALO and Sunset Overdrive were the two main games being played at the stations.

Digital Nationz Xbox Area
Inside the R16 Xbox Area
Digital Nationz Xbox Area 1
Playing a game inside the Xbox area

As an early guest at the Xbox area, we managed to gather a small team to have a try at Sunset Overdrive, and I can tell you that it is one hellava action-packed game! It took me a while to get used to the buttons on the controller, and which button did what, and until I got the hang of that, did the game really start getting interesting for me!

Just on the outside skirts of the Xbox area was more Xbox consoles that were playing the game Forza Horizon 2. Me and a mate decided that the game was just not realistic enough to the actual race cars and that some other titles e.g Gran Turismo had better realism than this.

Digital Nationz Forza Horizon 2 Xbox
Forza Horizon 2 on Xbox

Just for your information, these titles are not available for consumers to buy yet, so we were lucky to be able to play a demo version of these titles.

Along the PlayStation side of things, there were R18 games like Far Cry 4, Alien Isolation and some kid-friendly games like the many racing car games that I cannot remember what they were called! I did not spend much time at the PlayStation side because the line was getting too long for me to bother to wait.

Along the front entrance of the main bowl floor was where the Logitech G LAN competitions were taking place. This was the place where the League of Legend gamers took it out to see which team could battle it out for first place. Of course, there were Logitech prize packs given out for winners of the competition. There were quite a lot of gaming headsets, mechanical keyboards, mice and connect-to-console steering wheels on display and as prizes.

Digital Nationz Logitech G LAN Competitions

Moving beyond that, also close to the entrance of the bowl floor, is the PlayTech station. They had a couple of guys demonstrate liquid nitrogen cooling of heat sinks and computer modding etc. PlayTech also had a couple of gaming stations, again for League of Legend players.

Between the PlayTech area and the Xbox area was the demonstration of the Sphero products, which included the newly-announced Jumping Sumo (a Parrot mini-drone) at CES2014, Sphero 2.0 and some flying drones.

Digital Nationz Sphero Demo 1
Demo of Sphero 2.0

Near the back of the bowl floor was the LG station. LG had a couple of curved displays on display (no pun intended), which included its 34″ 21:9 curved Ultra-Wide monitor which was also a QHD display, and some curved LED TVs as well.

Digital Nationz LG Area
The LG Area

LG also had a small area that showcased its 3D TVs with a 3D version of Toy Story being played, and a small stand section with a couple of its flagship smartphones, the LG G3.

LG also had a humongous screen that was used to play an arcade-like game on arcade-like controls. Not quite sure what the game was, but it was a duel-fight between two people/characters.

Digital Nationz LG Screen
LG’s humongous screen!

Of course, FIFA 14/15 was also being played on a couple of Xbox consoles on LG TV sets, in the LG area.

If the above was all a little bit too modern for you, along the sides of the bowl floor was a whole section, dedicated to nostalgic devices. You won’t believe what devices were being showcased there, and that some of them even worked, enough to be played on! Some of these devices included the GameBoys and even the Atari Jaguar console!

Digital Nationz Computer Museum

Digital Nationz Atari Jaguar
Digital Nationz Atari Jaguar Console
Digital Nationz Gameboy
Remember these GameBoys?

At the back of the bowl floor at Vector Arena, was where all the speaking sessions were taking place. A small row of seats were offered for the audience along with standing booths as well. When I went past a couple of times, they had quite an audience there which must have been very pleasing!

Digital Nationz Speaker Sessions Digital Nationz Speaker Sessions 1

Now all that was just on the inside of the bowl floor at Vector Arena. Outside the bowl floor, and on the second level of Vector Arena had a couple more goody stores, but these were mainly stores selling gaming and electrical items, which included some cheaper Chinese models of the popular flying drone, the AR Drone.

On the second floor was where there were mainly workshops, and a lot of them seemed to be 3D printing and printers. When walking up the stairs to the second floor, you could smell the smell of burning, from all the printing of 3D models. Nevertheless, the printed models were very much like the authentic deal, and were very impressive to watch. At one point, they even managed to scan a live human, and managed to print that out as a mini 3D figurine! Every part of 3D printing was very impressive, until it came to the price of one of those printers and printing materials!

Now I’ve sort of saved the most anticipated thing of Digital Nationz for last. The Oculus Rifts! To be honest, I was kind of disappointed in them. The lag, delay and blur of the wearable augmented reality devices made the overall experience appalling. At one point, I was asked to wear the Oculus Rift and then colour in the BigPipe logo circle (a major sponsor in this event), however because of the fog that immediately presented itself when I wore it, I was unable to even find the outlines of the circle that I was supposed to colour in!

Digital Nationz Oculus Rift Area
Oculus Rifts, BigPipe Broadband and Media Design School’s area
Digital Nationz Oculus Rift BigPipe Circle
My horrendous colouring-in of the BigPipe Circle!

Digital Nationz Oculus Rift Demo 2

Another use of the Oculus Rift that I tried out was in a flying virtual reality game. This required moving your head in the direction you wanted the character to fly in.

Digital Nationz Showgrounds 1
Digital Nationz Showgrounds Area (Side stadium view)
Digital Nationz Showgrounds 2
Digital Nationz Showgrounds Area (Front View)

Overall, DIGITAL NATIONZ 2014 has been a great experience for me. The new unreleased games that I was able to play were great, and finally being able to use and try out the Oculus Rifts was overwhelming. The experience of the Oculus Rifts were on the other hand a bit underwhelming. It was also great to be able to see some 3D printing in action, and to actually see and feel how realistic the model figurines were! There could have possibly been a bit more big companies at the show but overall it was a great experience.

If you didn’t go this year, perhaps think about going to Digital Nationz next year, if they still plan on doing it again. You will enjoy it!

Digital Nationz Showgrounds
Panoramic shot of the Digital Nationz showgrounds inside Vector Arena