Why Does FIFA 20 Use Game Data Centers?

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    UK Sentinel
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    Taken from EA’s web site:

    What Is A FIFA 20 Game Data Center?
    In our case, a game data center refers to a physical location with hardware and software systems designed to operate FIFA 20 online gameplay.

    Game data centers house the services that allow for online gameplay in the modes listed below, and they also provide some information that is used as part of the matchmaking process for these modes, but don’t do the actual matchmaking itself. The following modes in FIFA 20 use game data centers for online gameplay:

    • FUT Division Rivals
      FUT Champions Weekend League
      FUT Draft
      FUT Friendlies (when not selecting the Play With Friend option)
      VOLTA League
      Co-Op Seasons
      Pro Clubs

    Why Does FIFA 20 Use Game Data Centers?
    Game data centers are used so that someone else’s connection should not impact your own gameplay experience. This is because you are not leveraging a direct connection to another player to facilitate the match.

    In Peer To Peer (P2P) online games, which don’t use game data centers, you connect directly with your opponent. While this can be useful when you’re playing an opponent very close to you physically, or in remote areas with few available opponents, P2P online matches mean that your opponent’s connection matters as well as your own, and can have an impact on your gameplay experience.

    When you play P2P online matches in FIFA, your connection can only be as good as your opponent’s. If you’re playing against someone with poor Wi-Fi, your game will feel similar to theirs as you’re both sending the gameplay information required to play online to each other over that same connection.

    The advantage of playing online with a game data center is that it handles the distribution of gameplay information to all of the involved players. The game and game data center look to collect inputs at a set interval of time, then the game data center sends this information back to everyone else in a match. This happens at the same time for all players, with the players’ individual connections determining when they receive that data.

    So if one player is streaming 4K movies and is trying to play on a weak WiFi signal, their experience may be impacted by these factors, but it shouldn’t impact anyone else in that match. The game data center still sends the information at the same interval.

    The game data center essentially acts as the host of the match and is responsible for distributing gameplay information to the players. In a P2P match, one of the players acts as the host.

    How Do We Decide Where To Place Game Data Centers?
    We work with industry leading enterprise technology partners when it comes to game data centers and we look to place game data centers in high population areas with quality technology vendors.

    They are able to provide us with robust technology that can process data from tens of millions of players. Before implementing a new game data center, we carefully analyze the long term effects it would have on the players in the surrounding region, since simply adding more doesn’t automatically result in a better player experience (more on that in the FAQ section below).


    Where Are Our Current FIFA 20 Game Data Centers?
    FIFA 20 currently has 18 game data centers across the world.


    • Paris
      Stockholm (New)


    • Manama (New)
      Hong Kong


    • Sydney

    North America:

    • Portland
      Washington DC
      Columbus (New)
      Mexico City

    South America:

    • São Paulo


    • Johannesburg


    Frequently Asked Questions
    Why does it seem like some players connect to a specific game data center despite being far from it?
    FIFA 20 will always try to have you play matches on your best game data center when playing online. Although that is often the nearest one, this is not always the case.

    Internet service providers (ISP) generally don’t send data from Point A to Point B directly. They route this data across locations, sometimes even the whole world. This can be a physical networking infrastructure limitation of some ISPs, or part of their business model. These types of decisions are ultimately handled by individual ISPs based on their unique needs and situations.

    So in some cases, your connection to a game data center that’s not your nearest one is the best connection available in the moment. It is also possible for your connection to be routed elsewhere if there are internet issues impacting the route that your network traffic would normally take or if one of our game data centers is experiencing technical problems.

    Why don’t you just add more game data centers?
    Our investigations have shown that simply adding additional game data centers to a region does not necessarily improve the online gameplay experience.

    We look to partner with experienced and reliable vendors that can handle the demands of a game like FIFA 20, and that means that we can only operate physical game data centers in locations where these vendors have a presence.

    Using a vendor that cannot meet the requirements that a game of FIFA’s scale has, such as being able to handle the volume of network traffic our game requires, providing reliable network stability, appropriate redundancy, and operational support, would result in an unreliable experience for our players, which can limit or negate the potential benefits of having a game data center in that location.

    More doesn’t always equal better in this situation, but we are committed to expanding our list of game data centers when we see opportunities to improve the experience for our players when playing online. As mentioned at the top of this Pitch Notes, we have recently added 3 new game data centers.


    Next Steps
    We are continuing to monitor existing game data center performance and evaluate potential opportunities for expansion in the future. This is an involved and ongoing process which we’re carefully pushing forward with, and we hope that this Pitch Notes has given you additional context about our game data centers.

    Thank you everyone that’s given us feedback so far, please continue to do so and we’ll continue to provide connectivity updates as we have them.

    The FIFA Team

    Source: https://www.ea.com/en-gb/games/fifa/fifa-20/news/pitch-notes-fifa20-game-data-center

    In a completely sane world, madness is the only freedom (J.G.Ballard).

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