League of Legends lag could soon be eliminated forever - but only for some players

league of legends
(Image credit: Riot Games)

League of Legends (LoL) developer Riot Games has joined forces with networking giant Cisco in a bid to enhance the competitive experience for professional players.

The pair have entered into a multi-year agreement that will see Cisco provide a range of different networking technologies, to be deployed in a live tournament context.

Most significantly, Cisco technology will now drive the private server responsible for supporting matches at three high-profile LoL tournaments: The Mid-Season Invitational, The League of Legends World Championship and The All-Star Event.

The resultant performance gains will be two-fold; spectators will benefit from a smoother live-stream thanks to improved broadcasting capabilities, while the players will enjoy a sub-1ms ping, effectively eliminating input lag from the equation.

League of Legends esports

League of Legends has been at the heart of the esports scene ever since the first World Championship took place in 2011, two years after release. A decade later, the game still attracts millions of players every day, the most successful of which combine strategic nous, precise input and effective team communication.

While rival MOBA franchise DOTA is responsible for the largest tournament prize pool in history ($34.33 million) according to Statista data, LoL remains a highly popular and lucrative esports title. The 2018 World Championships, for example, saw roughly $6.5 million split between the participating teams.

With millions of dollars on the line, it is vital that the risk of technological malfunction is reduced to minimum - especially given the importance of quick-fire reaction to League of Legends gameplay.

“As a sport completely reliant on technology, it is essential that League of Legends runs on a trusted and reliable network,” explained Scott Adametz, Esports Tech Lead at Riot Games.

“With Cisco as a partner, now we are able to build and expand the infrastructure necessary to deliver the best esports experience possible for fans and professional players all over the world.”

In a bid to realize this goal, Cisco will provide a cocktail of different networking technologies, including UCS Blade and Rack Servers and Nexus Data Center Switches. The equipment upgrade is expected to deliver a raw performance gain of up to 200% by the time the 2020 World Championship rolls around.

“Cisco is committed to redesigning the internet for the future, and esports has a big impact on that,” added Brian Eaton, Director of Global Sports Marketing at Cisco.

“With more people online than ever before for work and entertainment, it is critical to have a highly secure, flexible infrastructure in place to help ensure the visual quality and speed that will be required in the future.”

With the help of Cisco, Riot Games will also deploy upwards of 200 new tournament servers, establishing a common infrastructure across 12 regional broadcast centers - a move designed to standardize the competitive experience outside top tier tournaments.

Cisco did not immediately respond to questions from TechRadar Pro about whether improvements might trickle down to the regular player in future.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.