Halo 5 appears to be having issues in Australia, with some players reporting difficulties getting online and high latencies. Considering that Microsoft has opened Azure Centres in both Victoria and Sydney, this is strange.
When Microsoft announced Azure data centres were being placed in both New South Wales and Victoria, Xbox owners hoped this would be the end of online difficulties for games like Halo. The Azure data centres served multiple purposes within the Microsoft business, but for video games it essentially meant local servers would be available for every Microsoft published game with an online component.
Perfect for a game like Halo 5, a competitive shooter dependent on the quality of online connections.
But since a recent update six weeks ago, many Halo players have reported difficulties getting online, and high latencies when they're able to actually get a match.
Todd is one of those players. Todd has been having difficulties connecting the Azure data centres. He initially detailed his issues in this post.
Todd is a dedicated Halo player, an ex-moderator at 343's official Halo Waypoint forums. Todd noticed he was hitting 200+ latencies when trying to connect to Microsoft's Azure data centres, despite having sub 20 pings on two separate speed tests using two different internet service providers. Todd informed us that he actually lives just 35km from the Azure data centre, ruling out any issue with distance. According to Todd Halo 5 has been unplayable for him and many of his online friends.
Here's footage of Todd trying to connect earlier this week.
Yesterday this video was posted on YouTube titled "How it's like to play with an Australian in Halo 5:Guardians" (sic).
Todd informed us he's having no issue with other games. He's playing Destiny and Overwatch with next to no issues.
Todd is not alone. Others are reporting similar issues. Most within his Halo group are having similar issues and since putting his experience out there, more have come forward complaining of similar problems.
What's the issue? It's difficult to say but it does look to be exclusive the Azure data centres. Todd, for his part, believes that a recent Halo 5 update, put in place six weeks ago, might be to blame. In March 343 Industries added region locking to Halo 5. This was a controversial move that reportedly made matchmaking difficult for players in multiple different regions. 343 Industries, for its part has been asking for feedback on this move and is constantly attempting to improve matchmaking for those negatively affected.
We approached Microsoft locally for comment, and received this statement in response:
We continuously collect and study data regarding our online performance, and regularly fine tune the game to ensure the best experience for players worldwide. When changes are made to improve performance for certain users, it can sometimes have a detrimental impact for other users. We are currently investigating performance in Australia and will make all efforts to make improvements. Additionally, in this month’s “Memories of Reach” content update, we’re adding matchmaking search preferences to give players more options to find online matches.
Is it an problem with the update? Or with the Azure data centres? At this point it's difficult to say but many Australians are currently finding it extremely difficult to play Halo 5 as it was supposed to be played.