Riot's final decision on local servers

Date: 27th Sep, 16

After years of pleading with Riot for South African servers for League of Legends, Riot went as far as to send two members of Riot, down to South Africa, to see how things roll. One thing was for certain - South Africa has a ton of passionate League of Legends players, but unfortunately that’s just not enough to warrant servers down here.


Energy eSports, reigning League of Legends Champions for four consecutive years.


We met with Riot when they were in South Africa, and although extremely impressed with how eSports has developed in South Africa, there were certain criteria that were not met, which were explained yesterday when Riot delivered the final verdict regarding servers, and it’s not what you wanted to hear.


“Throughout our trip, we were excited and humbled by how vibrant the tech and gaming scenes have become since the last time we looked at the region. However, based on what we see in the market combined with our own internal data, we’re still concerned that there wouldn’t be enough concurrent users to support a healthy ecosystem. Nicolo summed it up well in his previous post, but the challenge we face in smaller, isolated regions is simultaneously delivering both low ping AND an awesome overall player experience besides ping. Although a local server would certainly improve latency, our forecasts suggest that the resulting fragmented player base would face a lot of issues with matchmaking and queue times. While there are levers we could pull such as removing game modes and limiting certain queues to peak hours, we’re afraid that the number of compromises we’d have to make could lead to an overall player experience that is more frustrating and less enjoyable than the one we have today.

“All of us at Riot realize this isn’t the news you were hoping to hear, but it’s our honest answer and I promise it’s not a decision we make lightly. Additionally, this doesn’t mean we won’t revisit South Africa again in the future, or that we’re totally giving up on the player experience. Several regions that were once “no” later became “yes,” and we’re always looking at ways to improve operations on the back-end, like optimizing existing server footprints, web traffic routing, etc.”

It’s rather unfortunate as South Africa has had a flourishing League of Legends community since the game’s inception. Many of the players continue to compete, regardless of tournament frequency or prize pool. The plus side to this unfortunate news is that our teams will continue to train and compete on European servers, opening them up to a wider player base of higher skilled players.

League of Legends is growing exponentially each year with the recent number put at 100 million monthly players. With this number continuously increasing, it won’t be long before Riot revisit the idea of setting up shop in South Africa.

by Kyle Wolmarans