Microsoft Finally Launches Locally-Hosted Xbox LIVE Services In Australia

It's been a long time coming, but following the launch of local Azure Data Centres in Melbourne and Sydney, Microsoft has officially announced it will be hosting local Xbox LIVE services here in Australia. Starting from today, Australian gamers should feel the benefit of this upgrade, with no update necessary.

Given that Xbox LIVE services use the Azure Centres in other global territories, we've long speculated that Microsoft Australia would follow suit post-launch. The Azure Centres opened in Australia on October 27 and when we spoke to Jeremy Hinton, Xbox Lead for Microsoft Australia, he mentioned the possibility of announcements before the end of 2014. This is the announcement he was alluding to.

"It has been a very exciting year for both Xbox and the industry. We set out to deliver amazing experiences on the Xbox One platform, and are humbled by the support and positive response from Aussie gamers to the updates over the past 12 months," he said in a statement. "Today’s announcement of Australian based Xbox Live servers addresses the most requested feature from local gamers. We are excited to give our fans the best online gaming experience available, just in time for the Holidays."

Microsoft has long discussed the potential of these Azure Centres for the Xbox One, and many defer to it when discussing the future proofing of the console. The press release points to games like Forza Motorsport 5, Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection — but the reality is that Microsoft intends to use the Azure services for more than just locally hosted games. The promise of cloud-based gaming is that certain processes will be sent to the cloud, enabling the Xbox One to use that spare processing power to increase visual fidelity.

We've yet to see that promise delivered upon in any real way, but the Azure Centres have been used, for example, to handle Drivatar information in Forza Motorsport, creating digital representations of each individual players style of driving. The Azure Centres also helped power enemy AI in Titanfall.

It'll be interesting to see how Microsoft uses this technology in the coming years.


Comments

    excuse my stupidity here...but how does this really benefit us?

      instead of connecting to overseas servers we can connect to local ones (aside from specific games hosting their own personal servers, this is supposedly universal across all xbone games).

      If you were asking more specifically then (without experiencing it myself yet) better ping, better connection strength, things like that

      Azure also handles the cloud processing, like the AI in Titanfall for example. Bots on Azure servers behave very differently to the rubbish Australian non-azure server.

      Probably not heaps initially. There's some server-side processing that happens on early launch titles, but I think devs stripped back some of that functionality once MS backflipped on the 'always online' model. The 'Drivatar' function from Forza mentioned in the article is one example.

      Biggest benefit in the short-term probably won't be for gaming - it'll be business and SaaS/cloud stuff. I'd keep an eye on this space once Windows 10 launches though - the rumoured streaming for old 360 and classic XB games (competing with PS Now) would likely be based out of these centres.

    And Halo: MCC is still not playable. Is the Halo 5 beta even going to work?

      Who cares at this point, bought all the halos day one and MCC has really just worn me out. Just couldn't care less about Halo 5 now.

        Lanceuppercut - I could not agree more. The botched launch and ongoing dramas around the MCC has not only soured me to Halo 5 (a game series that I have spent a stupid amount of time online with) but to the Xbox One in general. It's hard to describe, but the system that I once championed is now one I avoid with any multi platform releases...

    Not titanfall? Still the choice of gimped glitchy Australian servers or laggy international Azure?

    Wait, what were the games running on before?

      In the clooooouuudd...

      *slowly arcing arm swipe*

      Last edited 17/12/14 11:36 am

      Azure data centers in other areas. I'd expect that most of Australia was served by the Azure data center in Singapore.

    Sooooo when do we get TV?

    I mean it was only one of the biggest selling points of the box and over a year later we still don't have it?

      I doubt we will see any of that tv functionality come to Aus. Not a big enough market to bother with that stuff. All I really want/need is the HBO Go app.

    I think I am finally going to break down and buy a Xbone, some of the deals they have going on right now are almost too good to pass up.

    What I want to know is, will this finally mean ISPs like TELSTRA will add this to their unmetered traffic?

    Probably not given they dumped Steam. Its almost like they enjoy people paying overuse charges or upgrading their shaped account.

      Best thing about being with iinet, all Xbox online is in their 'Free zone' and doesn't got towards your monthly allowance

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