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Exclusive: 5G’s Arrival – How MediaTek Innovations are Igniting Africa’s Mobile Gaming Revolution

Smart handheld gadgets have revolutionized our lives, and the gaming industry is no exception. With the rise of smartphones, mobile gaming has become one of the most lucrative and popular gaming industry segments, and it continues to thrive at a remarkable rate. Rami Osman breaks down the technologies behind lowering the cost of digital devices in an iGaming AFRIKA exclusive and exciting session with Adalla Allan. Rami Osman MediaTek Gaming Innovations

Smartphones have made gaming more accessible, more portable, and more social than ever before. According to a recent report by Modor Intelligence, an Indian research firm, Africa Gaming Market size is estimated at USD 1.92 billion in 2023, and is expected to reach USD 3.33 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 11.62 percent during the forecast period (2023-2028). Africa’s overall share of internet users has grown drastically. In 2022, around 13 percent of internet users worldwide were from Africa, whereas in 2017, only 9.1 percent of internet users were located in Africa. Moreover,  the Internet penetration in Africa is about 40 percent. This rise in the total number of internet users and Internet penetration in Africa significantly augments the market’s growth.

The report also shows that the growing mobile penetration in the African region had accelerated since 2019 when during the year, about 272 million Sub-Saharan Africans started using mobile, according to GSMA. Moreover, this number is expected to increase to 475 million by 2025, amongst which more than a quarter of these connections will be on a 4G network. “This high usage of mobile phones with 5G networks is expected to drive the market significantly. 5G is one of the major drivers for the growth of the smartphone, leading to the surge in competitive gaming in the region,” The report says. 

 According to Ericsson Mobility Report, in the Middle East & Africa region, the total number of subscribers for 5G services may reach 60 million by 2024, representing about 3 per cent of all mobile subscriptions in the region. GSMA also estimates there may be around 50 million 5G connections across the MENA region, of which 20 million connections could be in the Arab States alone by 2025. 

Boosting market growth

Further, the Modor Intelligence report also mentions that the launching of various gaming smartphones by several regional companies is increasing the market’s overall growth rate. For instance, last year, MediaTek, a fables semiconductor company, reiterated its commitment to providing new technology solutions to enable the rollout of future-ready smartphones in the South African market. The company announced the launch of its premium gaming chip, MediaTek Helio G95, along with its offerings across the spectrum, including G90T, G85, G80, G70, G35, and G25 chips. The products were aimed at the premium 4G gaming smartphone segment. The company has also associated with various smartphone brands such as Oppo, Xiaomi, and Infinix to launch up to ten premium, feature-rich smartphones powered by the MediaTek Helio G series last year.

 Rami Osman, the MediaTek MEA Head of Marketing and Corporate Sales, says that at the moment, MediaTek is one of the world’s leading chipset maker coming world’s 5th largest fables IC design company( by revenue), and 9th largest semiconductor company worldwide in 2022( by revenue). MediaTek  power 2 billion devices every year across various segments, made a group revenue of $ 18.5billion in 2022,  serving a population of over 1.8 billion people. MediaTek makes chipsets in Smartphones, Feature phones, Arm-based chromebooks, Android tablets, Smart speakers, Connectivity, broadband & networking, Smart & digital TVs and Optical drives.

5G capabilities

“Every Dimensity smartphone chip features a fully integrated 5G modem for best performance and power-efficiency. We’ve been at the forefront of 5G capabilities and we continue to lead the industry on Dual 5G SIM, sub-6GHz carrier aggregation and power efficiency technologies.The chips we make are used for many purposes, such as powering smartphones, feature phones, televisions, and even routers, to mention a few. MediaTek provides chips for the aforementioned devices,” he starts.” More than 20 per cent of the World is using the MediaTek chip, we stand out in the market as we give manufacturers the reference designs.” Rami Osman MediaTek Gaming Innovations

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 “Dimensity Flagship 5G family is a smartphone chip like no other we have ever designed: It is the one which gives flagship phones these high-end features they have which makes them the most expensive phones in the market. The Dimensity Flagship series is available as 9000, 9000+, 9200 and the most recent one which is 9300. It is a milestone of innovation that packs the best, most advanced technology and features on the planet. It’s super powerful, yet immensely power efficient thanks to the world’s most advanced TSMC N4 (4nm-class) technology. It offers the best of 5G speeds, brilliant gaming technologies and professional grade imaging and videography to advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and the latest computing architecture. The Dimensity 9000 has all the features and the speeds to satisfy the most discerning tech enthusiast,” he says.

Osman also mentions the Dimensity Premium 5G family chips series that include the Dimensity 8000, 8100 and 8200. It features the latest generations of Imagiq that allows one to stream on up to three cameras at once, capture 4K videos in vibrant HDR and let class-leading AI-camera technologies do the hard work for perfect pictures behind the scenes. They also have the MediaTek Dimensity 7000 family series made for ordinary phones which features 5G-integrated chips with high-end technologies & impressive power efficiency that are optimized for superb gaming, exceptional cameras, and cutting-edge HDR multimedia experiences. Osman reveals that the Dimensity 9000 recently reached the highest benchmark in the world through the Asus ROG 6G Ultimate which has become the record flagship performance in the world.  

Rami’s tech experience

Rami holds a background in Electronic Engineering in Software Development and a Master’s in Business in 2011-2012 from the London Business School. He divulges that in his over 20 years of experience, he has worked with tech giant companies before he got to Mediatek including Microsoft and Qualcomm. Rami narrates the journey of chipsets from the time he got into the tech industry. “When I got to this industry in the 1990s, we were still at the 2nd generation of mobile phones common as 2G or Edge, then we transitioned to the 3G also known as wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) . The 3G meant that phones would now move from the small screens. It was also a time when Google took the Android operating system (OS) and developed it further. At that moment is when Mediatek came into prominence after getting to make chips for smartphones from the initial MP3 and DVD players,” he says.

Rami says that MediaTek enabled many smartphone manufacturing companies to grow as one could easily get an amazing big-screen phone at a cheaper price. As the world is adapting to 5G, Rami says that Mediatek is now looking at lowering the cost of 5G phones which are still not pocket-friendly in the market. He also reveals that the shift from 4G to 5G will take time as countries are slowly adapting to 5G. “Mediatek is playing a role of negotiating between the government and the telcos. 5G will migrate all the internet of things(IoT) tech as home and office connectivity is what is coming in Africa also referred to as fixed wireless access.  We are working with the telco service providers in East Africa to give affordable boxes that connect to power,” he says.

As many users always look to have outstanding gaming features while going for a smartphone, most of these phones are expensive and  Rami points out that this is the greatest challenge as per the feedback they have been receiving from telcos.  Ram reveals that they are working with smartphone companies on producing cheaper phones which hold powerful gaming features. “The gaming functions are on the pricey flagship phones that cost over $600 but many gamers are young people (aged around 5-17)  and they cannot afford these expensive phones. So we came up with Mediatek A-Series that are cheaper, B-series are for premium with features such as a good quality camera. Then we have the dimensity series which is the flagship phone that comes with high-end qualities leading to its high cost that an ordinary gaming teen cannot afford. So we thought of adding  a software optimization feature called HyperEngine to the graphic processor unit (GPU). This feature was born when we were looking for an option that will help us improve the affordable phones without increasing the smartphone price.”

The HyperEngine feature Rami Osman MediaTek Gaming Innovations

Rami adds that the HyperEngine came with a few enhancements including the response rate of the screen that optimizes, also when the user receives a call they don’t lose the game it is saved automatically thanks to the HyperEngine. “ The other outstanding feature that Hyperengine has enabled smartphones is the ability to respond fast as these phones are not just gaming phones. It boosts every aspect of smartphone gaming because every millisecond matters. In its 5th generation, gamers benefit from low-latency 5G and Wi-Fi connections with intelligent multi-network balancing; attuned resource management that boosts and sustains FPS while also maximizing battery life; and new AI-based imaging enhancements to make use of MediaTek’s powerful APU,” he says.

Rami also mentions the MediaTek Intelligent Display Sync 2.0, which is a dynamic technology that intelligently adjusts the display refresh rate according to the game frame rate detected, ensuring you get smooth viewing experiences in the most intense action or in need of the most responsive scenarios, rather than when you’re watching a cut-scene, selecting loadout or changing map. “Gamers get to relish the most immediate GPU-to-display pipeline ever, ensuring an edge on the competition where millisecond reaction times make the difference. On occasions where the GPU cannot generate FPS to meet the maximum display refresh rate, MediaTek Intelligent Display 2.0 Sync will adjust the refresh rate in real-time to meet GPU performance, while also managing the GPU-to-display pipeline to virtually eliminate inter-frame latency,” he says.

 MediaTek chip also power the PlayStation VR2 which was launched to the market early this year. The chip holds features like  4K HDR OLED 4000 x 2040 HDR display with 110° FoV with the resolution per eye coming in at 2000×2040 pixels with a panel refresh rate of 90/120Hz, four cameras for headset and controller tracking​ with an IR camera for eye tracking-through, among other features.  Unlike rival headsets including the Meta Quest 2, the second-gen PlayStation VR isn’t standalone, and instead requires the PlayStation 5 to power games and other experiences over a wired connection.

Key Highlights

  • HyperEngine came with a few enhancements including the response rate of the screen that optimizes, also when the user receives a call they don’t lose the game it is saved automatically .
  • MediaTek’s aim to make 5G more affordable, their negotiations with governments and telcos, and their vision for IoT connectivity in Africa.
  • MediaTek is empowering young gamers by introducing affordable smartphone series like the A-Series and their innovative software optimization, HyperEngine, catering to the gaming needs of younger demographics. Rami Osman MediaTek Gaming Innovations

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