Like many pc gamers in the region, I long for low ping servers and the accessibility to hop onto a populated server with a decent crowd. However, the reality we face in our region is that of fragmentation. Spread across the archipelagos, Southeast Asian ISPs are not interlinked and peering with each other due to political or business reasons. James pointed this out last week in his article with how the Philippines is suffering from this problem. Case in point, I live in Singapore, and a lot of my pc gaming buddies are in the Philippines. The issue we have is that their ISP, PLDT does not peer directly to Singapore, which prevents us from playing together with decent ping.
In looking at the US and Europe however, you have a situation where bandwidth is relatively cheap, and most countries are interconnected via an internet backbone/exchange that has good peering with each other. This means ping to neighboring countries is a lot lower, and allows for hassle free gaming with sub 100 latency.
As such, computer hardware enthusiasts and pc gamers like us have evolved and adapted to the situation. We have formed individual pockets of communities each focusing in our specific countries where we know pings will be low enough to enable lag free gaming. Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, etc have their own servers and play amongst themselves. What we have seen over the last 5-10 years is the explosion of many pc gaming oriented communities in SEA -- off the top of my head, Lowyat, GameAxis, Hardwarezone, VR-Zone and XJZ -- all catering to specific countries pc gaming crowd. I myself am a member of all these communities and they are superb because they have enabled like-minded gamers to interact in forums and play together on game servers.
As a follow up to the exponential growth of the pc hardware and pc gaming communities in the region, I personally feel we need to move a step further in linking us all together. I know this is a long shot but in the very near future I envision a time when pc gaming in the region will no longer be hindered by peering issues. We don’t have our own data centre or dedicated servers; in fact we just rent ours from well known GSPs. But I think what we have to offer is the strength of an idea, a concept of unity for all of the SEA pc gaming community. We want to work with everyone involved, from as high up as the ISPs, GSPs and data centres down the line to the forums and communities, across the region because we know we can’t do this alone. We here at OMGeek are passionate about this, and hope that setting up this community is a small step in the right direction. We hope you feel the same way.
We have big plans in the coming months for pc gaming and Southeast Asia, and we want you to be part of these plans. There's no question of whether it's possible to have a truly interconnected Southeast Asia that allows all of us in the region to play pc games with each other. We simply need to ask ourselves if we want this badly enough. We can be content with what we have, or we can push for a better gaming experience for everyone.