In the age of the internet, connectivity to the online space was supposed to be open and global. After all, it’s called the world wide web, so a free frontier should have been part and parcel, right?
Well, no. Thanks to a whole myriad of issues regarding regulations and technology, where you live matters a huge amount to what you experience, and rarely is this as true as it is for the landscape of interactive entertainment.
From how you play to what you play, this is a complicated puzzle, and one where users might be left with no solution, so in what ways does your location matter?
With platforms like Steam offering more than 50,000 games, players are spoiled for choice. Thanks to regional restrictions, however, not all games are available in all territories.
Some countries like Australia have notoriously strong banning laws, whereas some AAA titles available easily in other countries can’t be found within their borders at all.
Prices can also play a part here since standardization across borders isn’t really a thing. Thankfully, key selling websites can solve this last problem.
More pronounced complications within game availability can even occur within countries in the related landscape of online casino games.
State law and website regulations can make tracking down legal places to play tricky in this regard, but this industry also has aid from dedicated helper websites. One of the most user-friendly for Ohio, for example, is built around collecting and comparing online casino websites and bonuses for users within the state, taking the busy work away from the players.
Internet speed tends to be thought of as bandwidth, but just as important is latency, or lag. This refers to the amount of time it takes for a signal to perform a round trip. Bound by physics, the further players are away from each other and servers the more pronounced latency is going to be.
As British Esports highlight in this article, if you live in a place without a nearby game server, this means you’re going to cross the acceptable 100 m/s of latency threshold. When factoring in player count, this problem is only exacerbated.
There are multiple factors determining whether an online game with other people to play with. Gaming culture plays a key part, with some countries focussing more on some types of games than others, as does local game cost and game age.
The most important factor, however, is population. When factoring in latency, a person in a place like New Zealand is only going to be able to play with the small gaming population in NZ and Australia. Somebody in Korea, on the other hand, is going to be able to game with the enormous gaming population of east Asia.
While it might be a bit drastic to suggest anyone move to get the most from their video games, this is something that pro players have done before. At the very least, ensuring your next home is one with fiber optic internet could be worth considering for gaming’s most diehard.
Truth is, not all countries are made equal for gaming and interactive entertainment, and for those of us who live in the corners of the world, we’d encourage those more fortunate not to take their situations for granted.