Hyper-casual mobile game publisher and social instant-play gaming company, Storms today announced an exclusive partnership with Halfbrick Studios an Australia based indie game developer, to convert popular mobile hit games Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride into social instant games’ format with original core gameplay and assets. While smartphone penetration rate continues to rise in the developing world, mobile …

Hyper-casual mobile game (HCG) publisher and social instant-play gaming company, Storms today announced an exclusive partnership with Halfbrick Studios an Australia based indie game developer, to convert popular mobile hit games Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride into social instant games’ format with original core gameplay and assets.

While smartphone penetration rate continues to rise in the developing world, mobile internet connectivity access levels remain below a third [1] for the emerging markets. Storms’ mission of making mobile games accessible to 7 billion mobile users worldwide [2] means that for the first time, the poorly connected demographic within emerging markets get to access top marquee games, whereas the young and older demographics from developed markets with digital literacy gaps can play games on a web platform without having the need to download from app stores.

The team is also in the works of incorporating a social element for both Halfbrick classics within its instant gaming ecosystem to further enrich gaming communities’ overall experience. For the first time ever, Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joy Ride fans will get to participate in friendly tournament modes to compete on their scores. Both games will be made available in April 2021 on Storms’ social instant gaming Android app and web platform, as well as exclusive partner platforms in emerging markets.

David Yin , CEO of Storms , said , “2020 was a year that brought gaming to the forefront for game developers around the world. As we continue to advance into 2021, collaborations such as this partnership with Halfbrick Studios are critical cornerstones for Storms to make game experience inclusive. We are extremely proud to elevate emerging markets’ mobile gaming experience to the highest standards through frictionless gaming on marquee titles combined with social play elements.”

“Slicing” A New Space for Social Instant Games

Halfbrick Studios is well acquainted in the gaming scene as the creator of the massively popular Fruit Ninja, a mobile app game that launched in 2010 and became a cultural phenomenon with downloads exceeding 1 billion before its fifth birthday. According to mobile consultancy App Annie , Fruit Ninja is the number one most downloaded iOS gaming app across 141 countries in the Casual category and the title has also led to a Fruit Ninja comic miniseries from Dynamite in 2017.

Building on the success of Fruit Ninja, the studio released Jetpack Joyride in 2011 which has subsequently grown to 750 million+ downloads . The runner action video game was also highly reviewed with a 9/10 score rating on GameRankings, Eurogamer , IGN and PocketGamer . It was subsequently awarded for the Best Action/Arcade game, Best Overall Game on PocketGamer and Apple Design Award during WWDC 2012.

Shainiel Deo, CEO and Founder of Halfbrick Studios , reaffirms the studio’s interest in linking hands with Storms and says, “This joint-partnership with Storms to develop next-gen instant games is a game-changer to original games’ player longevity, and reinforces our mission to make mobile games easier to discover and to play.”

For those who are interested in being the first to have a social gaming experience on the two Halfbrick classics titles, check out Storms’ official website and LinkedIn for the latest updates.

About Storms

Storms is a gaming startup invested in by Singtel, AIS & SK Telecom, with a focus on strategic initiatives ranging from hyper casual games publishing to social instant-play games and games consultancy. The Storms team is made up of gaming veterans who are passionate about making gaming inclusive for billions from the emerging markets, and dedicated to fuel the growth of indie and mid-size game studios to excel in global markets.

For more information, visit https://storms.com/ .

About Halfbrick Studios

Halfbrick is a professional game development studio based in Brisbane, Australia . Founded in 2001, Halfbrick has been on the forefront of the Australian game development industry for many years from humble beginnings developing licensed titles for platforms such as GBA, DS and PSP, the company has expanded its portfolio to include a wide range of hugely successful, independently released games on multiple platforms. With the success of Fruit Ninja and Jackpack Joy Ride, Halfbrick has catapulted to become one of the most well-known indie developers in the world.

For more information, visit https://www.halfbrick.com/ .

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SOURCE Storms

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Gold isn't all that glitters in the land down under — silver in Australia is a major industry, and the country is home to both large and small players.

When it comes to precious metals, Australia has long punched above its weight — the nation was born riding the wave of a gold rush.

Gold isn't all that glitters through — Australia is also a major global producer of silver. It's among the 10 top producers, and was ranked seventh in 2020, with 1,300 tonnes coming from the many operational mines in the country. By comparison, the world's top producer, Mexico, produced 6,300 tonnes that same year.

Other key players in the silver market are Peru, China and Russia, which produce more silver than Australia, and the US, Argentina and Bolivia, which produce less.


Australia is sitting on quite a lot of the precious metal, with the world's second largest reserves, behind only Peru.

According to Geoscience Australia, one of the country's first mines was a silver-lead mine near Adelaide. Since then, the entire continent has been combed over with a fine-toothed comb, with deposits identified in every state and territory and active mines in every jurisdiction but one (Victoria).

Overall, Australia is well explored when it comes to silver, and since the mid-1800s it's had a constant stream of silver production. Aside from that, the country boasts metals-processing facilities in South Australia that separate the precious metal from its commonly mined counterpart metals, lead and zinc.

Silver companies in Australia

Those looking at the Australian silver market have options. There are plenty of big players with interests in Australian silver, and many smaller players for investors to consider researching too.

Most silver comes from mines dedicated to other metals — Glencore's (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) Mount Isa in Queensland produces mainly copper, zinc and lead, but silver is separated by the company's integrated processing streams. Glencore also operates the McArthur mine in the Northern Territory, which is primarily zinc, but between its copper and zinc assets, Glencore produced 7,404,000 ounces of silver in Australia in 2020 — over 200 tonnes.

Elsewhere, BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT) produces a lot of silver as well at the Olympic Dam operation in South Australia. Perhaps best known for the production of uranium and copper, it also yields significant silver resources to the tune of 984,000 ounces in 2020 (or almost 28 tonnes).

According to Geoscience Australia data from 2016, over 20 mines in Australia produced silver in that year, while there are dozens of other resources identified in each state.

A primary producer of silver is the Cannington mine in Queensland, where South32 (ASX:S32,OTC Pink:SHTLF), a company that was spun off from BHP in 2015, mines silver and lead. Cannington is a big one, producing 11,792,000 ounces in 2020, or 334 tonnes of silver.

Tasmania boasts the Rosebery mine, which has seen 85 years of continuous operations and is currently owned by MMG (ASX:MMG,HKEX:1208). Rosebery, like all the others here, is polymetallic, and besides silver also produces copper, zinc, lead and gold. MMG also has the Dugald River mine in Queensland which also produced silver.

Getting into smaller companies, there are those like New Century Resources (ASX:NCZ) which restarted the Century mine in the Northern Territory for zinc and silver.

The future of silver in Australia

So, you get the picture — there's a lot of silver to be mined in Australia by way of mining everything else.

It's worth noting that because silver operates both as a precious and an industrial metal, and is mined most often alongside base metals, it can be pulled in many directions. However, it traditionally follows (and lags behind) its precious metal sibling, gold, making it a valuable investment commodity to keep an eye on.

Looking forward, the future of the commodity in the land down under — especially given Australia's significant reserves and operator diversity — is as bright as you'd like it, and depends on what investors are most interested in, given the by-product nature of the metal.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Australia took a stand against Facebook and Google earlier this year, and the move could have long-term implications for tech investors.

It was a ban that sent Australians wild and had the whole world watching.

Back in February, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stopped users in Australia from posting news in a week-long blackout, reacting to proposed legislation that would have forced the social media behemoth to pay publishers for content.

What prompted Facebook to "friend" Australia again, and what are the potential long-term implications of the squabble? Read on to learn what tech-focused investors in Australia should know about the situation.


Australia squares off against Facebook

On February 25 of this year, Australia's federal government passed the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. It was developed after extensive analysis by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and is aimed at ensuring that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for their content.

It stipulates that digital platforms such as Facebook and Google (both named in the documentation) must pay news outlets whose content they feature — for example, if content is shared on Facebook or shows up in Google search results. The idea is that this will help to sustain journalism in Australia.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook and Google didn't react well to the code, which was first introduced in 2020.

Google didn't make any moves after it passed, but Facebook quickly made it impossible for Australian users to share news content, and pages for both local and international news organisations went blank — a major concern given the COVID-19 and wildfire concerns that were circulating at the time.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was scathing about Facebook's decision — which he ironically shared in a Facebook post — declaring the tech giant's actions "as arrogant as they were disappointing." He added, "These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them."

Despite strong feelings from both Australia and Facebook, the dispute was resolved fairly quickly, with the country agreeing to make four amendments to the legislation and Facebook restoring Australian's access to news.

Implications for Big Tech and news organisations

Both Australia and Facebook have claimed victory in the dispute, with a Facebook representative saying the company will be able to decide if news appears on the platform — meaning it won't automatically have to negotiate with any news businesses. Changes were also made to the arbitration process.

Tech experts have pointed out that larger news companies may ultimately benefit from the changes, but smaller ones could be pushed to the side. Major publishers that have struck agreements with tech giants, such as News Corp, Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC,OTC Pink:NNMTF), Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and Guardian Australia, may be able to increase their market share while smaller independent players lose out.

A business that is in full support of the laws is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). During the conflict, President Brad Smith came out loudly in favour of Australia's law, and advised that his company is willing to step up with search engine Bing should Google and/or Facebook pull out of the Australian market.

"In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed forward with legislation two years in the making to redress the competitive imbalance between the tech sector and an independent press. The ideas are straightforward. Dominant tech properties like Facebook and Google will need to invest in transparency, including by explaining how they display news content," he said in a blog post.

"The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead."

Global reach and tech investor impact

Six months down the road from Australia's landmark legislation, it's tough to say what the long-term impact may be.

That said, market watchers do believe the country is part of a new precedent of forcing Big Tech into paying for journalism — something giants Facebook and Google are not used to.

Countries looking to pursue similar legislation include Canada, where Facebook agreed in May to pay 14 publishers to link to their articles on its COVID-19 and climate science pages, as well as other unspecified use cases. Canada is pursuing other avenues too. Meanwhile, in France, Google said it will pay publishers for news content after the country took up new EU copyright laws that make digital platforms liable for infringements.

For investors, the takeaway is perhaps that while companies like Facebook and Google may seem too big too fail, they too can fall subject to new regulations that can change how they do business. As nations around the world look to take back control from these mega companies, it's important to be aware of possible effects on their bottom lines.

Don't forget to follow @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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