Online esports and casual gaming platform operator Emerge Gaming says it is the first in the Southern Hemisphere to live stream a AAA game to a mobile device over a 5G network.

The news pushed shares up nearly 16 per cent to an intra-day high of 22c on Wednesday morning.

The milestone comes thanks to a partnership with South African telecommunications giant MTN to coincide with the country-wide launch of its 5G network.

Emerge streamed the game via its GameCloud platform to an off-the-shelf Huawei P40 Pro smartphone.

Following the successful demonstration, Emerge CEO Gregory Stevens said the “new generation technology” combined with 5G would pave the way for the integration of next-gen services such as virtual and augmented reality, ultra HD video streaming and advanced AI.

“The future of gaming is the streaming of immersive and interactive high quality 3D graphic content delivered in high definition video and with 5.1 surround sound to smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. No downloads, no hardware and no patches,” Stevens said.

Emerge’s partnership with MTN for this 5G rollout follows a string of successive milestones for the company, including the validation and successful testing of GameCloud across Singapore and Indonesia last year and its launch ahead of Google Stadia as one of the first movers in a $140bn global gaming industry.

Developed by Cloudzen Pte Ltd, GameCloud was touted as the “Netflix of Gaming” and was launched to market for commercial distribution by Emerge Gaming in February last year.

Historically, AAA games were typically the domain of the latest in-video game consoles or sophisticated PC setups that could handle large download and storage capacity to power the full capacity of the game.

According to Emerge CEO Gregory Stevens, the opportunity afforded by cloud infrastructure has seen a “dramatic shift in the world of gaming” that has transformed e-sports competitions, e-commerce, advertising and social engagement worldwide.

With GameCloud, Emerge Gaming’s vision was to address latency, speed and connectivity issues to drive forward a mass market adoption and accessibility to AAA games across mobile devices, Stevens told Stockhead.

“GameCloud offers this via simple and instant streaming of hundreds of high-quality 3D games for mobile devices … the applications are endless, from changing the way we play games online … [to] create a truly unique in-game experience for the user,” Stevens said.

MTN is betting big with cloud gaming, with SA chief digital officer Ernst Fonternel claiming it will “do to gaming what video-on-demand has done to TV.”

The company has successfully completed 5G trials and tests in the last two years with telecoms equipment makers including Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp.

“Cloud gaming means top line games are available, all the time, in the cloud. No console required, your device becomes the controller and with 5G, the speed and reliability of the signal means you never need to download a game, because your personal data is always there waiting for you,” Fonternel added.

“Cloud gaming will do to gaming what video-on-demand has done to TV, it’s a complete game-changer only this is a game-changer that will be delivered by 5G.”

Emerge revealed last week that it had partnered with MTN to integrate its mobile competition and gaming platform as an exclusive branded esports platform called MTN Arena.

The platform, which reaches 29 million mobile gamers across South Africa, will see MTN market and operate Emerge’s ArcadeX platform, offering its customers access to casual gaming competitions where they can enter competitions and win prizes while playing their favourite social games.