One of Microsoft's main selling points with the Xbox One was its integration with Azure Servers dotted around the globe, the idea being that the console would be able to use the computational power of the cloud to increase the performance of certain games. Microsoft also plans to use those servers to host online games. This week Microsoft Australia's Pip Marlow announced that the long promised servers in Australia (for Melbourne and Sydney) were mere months away from launch.
These Azure centres were announced last year and the long term promise was a 2014 launch date. In a blog post Marlow stated the following:
I still can’t give you the final date for general availability but I can share that it is just around the corner, a matter of months away.
She also mentioned that the Azure centres were currently in preview with some private partners. We can only assume those private partners would be businesses, as this is the primary function of the centres.
But their launch in Australia will have a beneficial impact in Australia, particularly when it comes to online games. You may recall that Titanfall's launch in Australia was plagued with difficulties -- high pings, difficulties finding games -- and this was a direct impact of Australia having no local servers. EA and Respawn themselves fixed that problem by launching their own servers locally, but having Azure centres in Melbourne and Sydney would negate that need.
Hopefully we'll get them in time for the Halo Master Chief Collection.