EA South Africa has signalled the mothership, and received a response to our concerns about the quality of Titanfall multiplayer in South Africa.
This arises from the fact that Microsoft has no Windows Azure server hardware deployed in South Africa, and because Titanfall uses Azure to host its dedicated servers, we might be in for a laggy experience as SA gamers have to connect to international locations.
Will Respawn Entertainment / EA South Africa be striking a deal with a local ISP, gaming service provider, or data centre host to provide Titanfall dedicated servers physically located in South Africa?
EA, Respawn and Microsoft have been testing Titanfall all over the world, including South Africa, and we’re confident that players worldwide will have a great experience when the game launches in March. Of course, we’ll always be looking to improve that experience over time – whether that’s through local resources or other enhancements – but we have no other news on that today.
To recap the potential problem:
Titanfall, developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA, will be a 6v6 multiplayer-only affair that makes use of Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing network to host dedicated server instances for the game.
Microsoft South Africa has confirmed that there are no physical server deployments for the Azure network in South Africa. This means that SA-based Titanfall players will be connecting to servers hosted internationally, and our best bet will be the EU region.
The performance of the game will boil down to a number of factors, but at the core is that pesky speed of light limitation that sees data transmitted via fibre optics restricted to a sedentary pace (299,792,458 meters/second or approximately 133ms to travel once around the globe).
Other factors playing into latency include the quality and stability of terrestrial networks connecting various players to the dedicated servers and Internet points-of-presence. Couple that with the Source Engine netcode which has repeatedly been called into question during Titanfall’s development, and we could have a lag-fest on our hands.
Or, if Respawn has optimised their game to the best possible extent, it might be perfectly playable despite a slight latency disadvantage. If SA players group up they will all be experiencing a similar level of latency and therefore matches should be quite even, stable Internet connections permitting.
However, I don’t think we’ll be seeing Azure deployments any time soon. Whether EA and/or Microsoft step up to offer another solution remains to be seen.
Are you interested in playing Titanfall? Check out some gameplay footage below and let us know in the comments.