Australian gamers have long complained that the country’s shoddy Internet is holding them back — especially from accessing international live stream gaming platforms such as Twitch.
While the Australian government bumbles over the rollout of the National Broadband Network, an infrastructure project that’s meant to bring high-speed Internet across the country, Twitch is doing something about it.
On Friday at a town hall meeting at the gaming convention PAX Australia in Melbourne, Twitch announced a number of new initiatives to improve its presence Down Under. They’ll be hiring their first local staff in the form of a community manager, among other roles, but perhaps the most important news to Aussie gamers was that the company has set up a Sydney-based data centre.
At the town hall, Marcus “DJWheat” Graham, director of programming at Twitch, acknowledged Twitch’s quality of service has been extremely lacking for both viewers and those broadcasting their games in the Australia-New Zealand region. It’s been suggested that the latency affecting Twitch, among other issues, was caused by the distances the video streams had to travel to reach Australian computers.
To rectify the problem, Twitch installed the first Australia-based ingest server in Sydney around nine months ago to help broadcasters stream on the platform, DJWheatGraham said. Now they’re also installing a video point of presence in Sydney to improve the viewing experience. Testing has already begun, and it will begin serving traffic in November.
“The other job is working with the [Internet service providers] to improve the Twitch performance in this region,” DJWheat said, “but this is a huge step.”
“It’s no secret that Internet connectivity is not what people would like it to be here,” Chase, Twitch’s PR Director.
In fact, the lacklustre upload speeds may even affect which games Aussies play.
“I know a lot of partner-broadcasters like to play Minecraft, which I hear is because it’s easier with the Internet out here,” Chase said.
“We really want to support it with new infrastructure, so we’re building out these data centres to really help with the quality of service, viewing and broadcasting.”
It certainly seems like a worthwhile move for Twitch. While he couldn’t share exact numbers, Chase said that Australia is punching above its weight in terms of community growth on Twitch. Globally, the company has more than 100 million unique viewers per month.
“You have a lot of gamers here,” he said. “Video game sales are incredible … since this is such a healthy ecosystem, we want to provide them with the best possible broadcasting experience.”
Originally posted on mashable