Fortnite: Battle Royale players from the Middle East, especially from Saudi Arabia, started an online campaign early this Monday to ask developer Epic Games to open a game server in the region.
Twitter hashtag #FortniteMiddleEastServers was the top trending topic in Saudi Arabia with almost 400,000 tweets at 6:30 am CT on Jan. 7. Several players also used the Fortnite subreddit to make that request to Epic, claiming the region should be included since it has over two million players.
Many users shared a text both in Arabic and English saying they’ve been playing the game for a long time, but are “facing a big struggle with ping” that is causing a bad experience in playing the game.
Players shared screengrabs of their matches in the Middle East with over 130 ping, which is more than enough latency to decrease accuracy in a shooting game like Fortnite. This happens because players in the region have to choose between playing in European or Asian servers, which are several thousands of miles away from most countries, causing latency. Players in some areas reportedly got pings as high as 443.
Current Fortnite servers structure
Wired previously revealed Epic uses the Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers to run Fortnite: Battle Royale around the world. At the time of that story, Epic said it used 24 of the 55 availability zones offered by AWS, and none were in the Middle East. Until Amazon adds the Middle East to their global structure, it’s unlikely that Epic will be able to run Fortnite servers in that area. The AWS website says there are now 60 availability zones, but still none in the Middle East.
Will there be Fortnite servers in the Middle East?
AWS expects to bring their structure in early 2019 to the island country Bahrain, which is located in the center of the Middle East, close to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Qatar. This would give players in neighboring countries a good ping to play the game, like when South American players join Brazilian servers.
This would give Epic the structure it needs to activate Fortnite: Battle Royale servers in the region, which doesn’t necessarily mean it will..
There’s no way to predict when it’s happening, but if Epic intends to activate servers in the Middle East, they should be coming in 2019.
Another AWS services expansion that could benefit players from another region is in the expansion to South Africa. AWS predicts an expansion to the region in early 2020 with a structure based in the oldest city of South Africa, Cape Town. As with the Middle East expansion, it’s Epic’s call to add a Fortnite server in South Africa as well when this happens.
Update Jan. 7 11:30am CT: Epic has tweeted a statement in regards to players’ requests for Middle East servers. “We work with multiple cloud providers to supply the infrastructure for Fortnite servers globally,” Epic said. “None of these providers yet have capacity available in the Middle East region, but we expect to have a solution in the next few months. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.”