Being a gamer and living in Hawaii sounds like paradise, right? Turns out gaming is a lot like real estate: what matters is location, location, location.
A story published on The Outline gives a bit more detail on the struggles of Hawaiian gamers. Being on an island thousands of miles from the nearest game server has its downsides — for reference, the nearest common server location is Los Angeles, which is 2,500 miles from Hawaii.
As might be expected, island gamers have to deal with latency in gaming, which can result in them being several milliseconds behind everyone else. This wouldn’t be a problem for most gamers — unless they’re into esports. The highest levels of competitive gaming involve incredible timing and reflexes, and even milliseconds could make the difference between winning and losing. Pretty much the only way to avoid this in Hawaii is by setting up a local server at a LAN party.
If you’ve wondered why it’s necessary to build esports arenas – which are basically giant LAN parties – in places like Vegas, here’s your answer. Physical location can make a real difference in competitive gaming. It’s not just to hold the screaming throngs of esports fans. Keeping the competitors in close proximity means it’s less likely for one to have a latent advantage over the other.
Hawaiian gamers can and do still compete in esports, from League of Legends to Overwatch. The article specifically mentions Matt Elento from Team Liquid and retired legend Dyrus. But Elento now lives in Los Angeles, and Dyrus moved to a gamer house in New York when he started to gain some traction. They didn’t have to contend with Hawaiian latency at their peak.
Until game servers start springing up in Hawaii, it looks like island gamers are going to have to think a few milliseconds ahead of everyone else.