Microsoft’s local Azure datacentres are now open for business, but…

As expected (even if it’s not on time), the company has launched its two local datacentres in Cape Town and Joburg, Microsoft South Africa confirmed at a press conference today, providing infrastructure and resources for its cloud-based live services on this end of the planet.

What this means for games is a different thing, though. Azure datacentres host multiple services like Office 365, and should also include some kind of Xbox Live support – but according to my Xbox network statistics, it… doesn’t. That 169ms ping is bumping out of the EU, same as yesterday.

It’s possible that the new datacentres are prioritising enterprise-level services for the moment and Xbox Live support will be phased in at some later date, but Microsoft’s reps aren’t even talking about it. The clue was in the headline the entire time.

“The availability of Microsoft’s cloud services delivered from Africa will mean local companies can securely and reliably move their businesses to the cloud while meeting compliance requirements,” explains Azure Networking corporate vice-president Yousef Khalidi.

“The combination of Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will increase economic opportunity for organisations in Africa, as well as connect businesses across the globe through improved access to cloud and internet services.”

It’s also important to remember that most online multiplayer games are hosted by other, third-party server solutions, with only partial if any integration with Azure, so it probably doesn’t matter much anyway.

UPDATE: Fortune reports that South Africa’s Azure datacentres are supplying cloud computing services and nothing else for now, with even Office 365 only available from about July. Sorry, kids, Christmas is cancelled.