Cisco scores a multi-year networking infrastructure deal for online gaming with League of Legends Esports

Cisco partners with Riot Games to power LoL Esports' online professional gaming events. (Pixabay)

Cisco has racked-up a multi-year deal to become the official enterprise networking partner of Riot Games' League of Legends Esports.

Coming on the heels of last week's disappointing Q4 earnings report, which included the announcement of a restructuring plan, League of Legends (LoL) Esports was a timely customer win for Cisco.

Cisco will be providing infrastructure and networking capabilities across five continents and three global events, as well as improving the performance functions for pro players and enabling a better viewing experience for fans.

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Cisco's servers and switches will help power "The Realm," which is a private game server that's used for pro-level competitive LoL Esport matches across three major events: The League of Legends World Championships, The Mid-Season Invitational, and The All-Start Event.

“As a sport completely reliant on technology, it is essential that League of Legends runs on a trusted and reliable network,” said Scott Adametz, esports tech lead at Riot Games, in a statement. “With Cisco as a partner, we now 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.”

Slow services are the bane of esports players, especially at the professional level. League of Legends requires quick strategic planning and fast reaction timing. For pro players, it's essential to be able to face the least amount of lag, or “ping," as possible. With Cisco technology being implemented in “The Realm,” Riot and Cisco are working to help pro players compete on Summoner’s Rift at sub-1ms ping, allowing for near instantaneous reaction times and uninterrupted game play.

The new Cisco servers are expected to offer up to a 200% raw performance improvement over the previous technology.

Riot Games will deploy more than 200 new tournament game servers in regional studios all centrally managed though Cisco’s new Intersight SaaS solution. Using Cisco’s UCS B-Series Blade Servers, C-Series Rack Servers, and Nexus 3000/7000 Series Switches, Riot Games will establish a common infrastructure footprint across the 12 remote broadcasting centers (RBCs) that include virtualization, storage, and computing to deliver improved performance with lower latency for regional professional game play.

Using Cisco’s Storage Optimized Computing Solutions, Riot plans to build an archive to protect its legacy of content, which will more than triple the current amount of usable storage and capacity.

LoL Esports has become the biggest esport company in the world over the past decade, reaching a record-breaking 21.8 million average minute audience (AMA) for the 2019 World Championship Final.

For the fourth quarter that ended July 25, Cisco's revenue fell about 9% to $12.15 billion, but it beat analysts' estimates of $12.08 billion. Excluding items, Cisco earned 80 cents per share in the quarter, beating estimates of 74 cents.

Cisco's product revenue in the fourth quarter was down 13% to $8.83 billion. Infrastructure revenue was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with declines across switching, routing, data center and wireless.

RELATED: Cisco implements restructuring plan, including layoffs, as stock tumbles

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said on last week's earnings call that the company would be taking out over $1 billion on an annualized basis to reduce its cost structure. The restructuring plan, which includes a voluntary retirement program and employee layoffs, started in the current quarter and is expected to recognize a related one-time charge of about $900 million.

On the Thursday, which was the day after its earnings report, Cisco's stock slid by more than 11% to mark its worst day since February, 2011.