Hi FIFA fans,
In this Pitch Notes, we wanted to take the time to address some of the most common questions we see around FIFA 20 game data centers.
This Pitch Notes is the latest update in our series of connectivity and responsiveness articles. You can read more about our main areas of investigation here, and our previous update can be seen here. Also, as you may have already seen, we added 3 new FIFA 20 game data centers in February, and and we continue to review our data to see if there are additional opportunities to improve the player experience through additional game data centers.
Now before we get into game data center specifics, it’s important to understand what a game data center actually is, and why FIFA 20 uses them. So let’s jump right in.
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 Friendlies (when not selecting the Play With Friend option)
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.
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.
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
For more deep dives on FIFA from members of the game team, check out the Pitch Notes Page.
Why does the UK not have a data centre?
I would love a poll on this matter but sadly the Gods have not bestowed me such superpower.
This is bs, must have messaged over a 100 players since Fifa 17 started using dedicated servers. Nine times out of ten my opponents are playing on an unstable wi-fi connection when my experienced is awful. I messaged numerous players after games, saying GG, asking them how the connection was on their end, what type of connection they were using.
Going by what my opponents said, the experience is far worse for a low ping player who is using a stable ethernet cable. I've had extremely unresponsive games while using an ethernet cable, yet my opponent who was playing on a wi-fi connection will say the connection was brilliant on his end.
You've one in Ireland, it's close enough. Trust me it won't make a difference with an even lower ping. I've a ping of 10ms, the gameplay was atrocious last weekend.
I'd agree but I nearly always end up on the Paris server, either that or a lot of French players are on the Dublin server
Been there since November I believe
So if I’m playing someone from Mexico. Do they connect to Mexico server and me too Portland server? Or am I getting shafted and getting linked to Mexico server since I never get 5 bars. I should be getting 5 bars imo since Portland server is close to me.
Presumably Amazon gets more tax breaks by having their DC in Ireland ( a bunch of tech companies are based there for that reason).
..When there's hundreds of posts on the forum every week about EA not listening to their community and not answering questions.
Is the expansion of "gamecenters" affirmation that EA is expanding the "lag compensation" connection model?
If so, could the developers in the next pitch notes respond to concerns by customers that lag compensation is creating a competitive disadvantage for players with strong wired internet connections?
That's what I made of that anyway 😂