League of Legends online video game plans big connection to Chicago

Chicago’s bandwidth, fiber and data-center space are luring battle-hungry minions from Oregon.

Online video game League of Legends, which has more than 67 million players, is moving its North America game servers to Chicago, a Riot Games brand manager posted in a blog Thursday night. The post did not say when the move will happen.

According to the post, the coastal location of its current servers in Portland made sense once upon a time but that “the exponential growth of the NA server and North America’s changing internet landscape mean that west-coast servers are now directly contributing to markedly inferior service for a huge number of east-coast players,” the post reads.

The game’s makers turned an eye to Chicago, which “happens to be one of the best connected cities in the entire world, let alone in North America.”

“With more bandwidth running through it, more fiber running through it, and more data center space than any other North American city, plus a central location and role as a major exchange between the US and Canada, Chicago is simply the premier place to provide the best overall service for the far-flung NA player base,” the post reads.

The move will bring most players under 80 ms ping, which refers to network latency — or the time of data transfer — from users to the servers. Though some regions will experience latency increases, the move to Chicago will deliver a “far more balanced” experience for players, the blog said.

West Coast players commented on the post their displeasure with the server change, but East Coast players, who are expected to experience latency reductions, seemed pretty pleased.

“The east coast can now step out of the hyperbolic time chamber and take over League of Legends when this is finished,” one poster commented.

Dan O’Neil ⇒, executive director of Smart Chicago, said the move is a big deal for Chicago as the eSports industry booms. With the city’s central location and connectivity, the announcement “just ties in with a world of strength here in Chicago,” he said.

Blue Sky is trying to reach Riot Games for details on where the League of Legends servers will be housed, and whether future game conferences could be held in the Midwest.

Email: mgraham@tribpub.com • Twitter: @megancgraham

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