The Cancellation Of Titanfall For SA Is A Concern For The Future
I would like to say right off the bat that I’m not here to discuss the actual cancellation of Titanfall, and the what and why of it. That was already thoroughly covered in another article. What I want to talk about today is rather the possible implications of this cancellation, or in other words why it’s a worry for us gamers here in South Africa. At least, why it’s worrying me right now.
Whatever the actual reason for the cancellation, EA later announced that South African’s internet infrastructure basically wasn’t suited for Titanfall. Well here’s the official statement:
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“After conducting recent online tests for Titanfall, we found that the performance rates in South Africa were not as high as we need to guarantee a great experience, so we have decided not to release Titanfall there at this time. We understand this is a disappointment for local fans and will keep them posted on any future plans regarding the release of Titanfall in South Africa.”
Africa has no local Azure server, so we would be required to connect internationally. Titanfall naturally runs on Microsoft’s much-hyped Azure servers, and the power of the cloud. Alright I couldn’t resist that one. Weirdly though, many SA gamers were reporting that they had an enjoyable time with the Titanfall beta, despite the latency. The game ran quite even though gamers most likely had pings of 200-300ms when connected to EU servers. Yet, the ‘official’ statement was that South African’s infrastructure is not suited for Titanfall and as such it won’t release in our country.
This is where my big worry comes in. See, for me it’s not about Titanfall. While I feel for all the gamers out there who were dying to play it, I think there’s a bigger picture to look at. And it goes like this.
If South Africa is not a fit playground for Titanfall, what about all the games still to come?
We are at the beginning of the new consoles’ lifecycles. Make no mistake, Microsoft will make more games that utilise their Azure servers. And the chances of Africa getting one is pretty much close to zip for the foreseeable future. So if Titanfall could be cancelled here because of the infrastructure, does that mean future games will be too? Will this become a trend of some kind? It would surely be a tragedy if South Africa became excluded from the party. Although Titanfall is still on course for release on Xbox One in South Africa, and it was the PC and Xbox 360 versions which were cancelled.
This is a really bad thing because while South Africa may not have the best internet, there is certainly a passion for eSports here. The PC and Xbox 360 sectors are large, and there are especially big communities for Battlefield and Call of Duty and Dota and such. Now, SA gamers aren’t even being given the chance to get competitively engaged with Titanfall on those platforms, which are still core here. So we’re not just being denied the game itself, but the eSports side of it too and all that comes with that.
I’m not exactly spelling out some doomsday scenario. For all we know, the only reason Titanfall was ever cancelled here was because EA did not want to face the risks of a legal case once the Consumer Protection Act was thrown into the mix. That could literally be the only reason. We don’t know. It could really just be an isolated thing that will have no bearing on future game releases.
But right now I can’t shake the uncertainty and the worry that future games making use of the Azure servers may be in doubt when it comes to launching in South Africa as well. We’ve only just started the generation and make no mistake, losing out on Titanfall is a pretty massive deal. It’s the Xbox One system seller after all, as well as the “next big shooter”.
Perhaps I’m making something big out of a truly isolated incident that probably won’t repeat, but I genuinely don’t know what this spells for future titles, or what other publishers and developers will take away from the whole situation. And that gives me more than enough reason to be concerned.