Login | Signup

Square Enix Explain Why Final Fantasy XIV Is Sticking With Subscriptions

Brendan Griffiths
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, MMORPGs, Naoki Yoshida, Square Enix

Square Enix Explain Why Final Fantasy XIV Is Sticking With Subscriptions

With many MMO games with a monthly paid subscription service making the transition to a free-to-play model and supporting themselves via DLC and microtransactions, we were thinking that Square Enix may join the likes of Star Wars: The Old Republic and DC Universe Online and bring the revamped Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn out with similar pricing models next month.

Well, don't hold your breath. In an interview in this week's copy of MCV, the game's producer Naoki Yoshida, defended the game's need for regular income.

"Everyone has an opinion. But we believe to have a successful MMO that has regular, large-scale updates, then the project needs a stable income. If you are going free-to-play with microtransactions, one month you may have a lot of money, but you might not the next. That makes it hard to plan for the future. Also, subscription offers stability to your staff. They know that if they don't make enough money from free-to-play one month, their job is gone."

Yoshida also mentioned that many new MMOs need to repay investors quickly, but Square Enix aren't in that position, so can afford something of a slow-burner start. Many other titles panic and go FTP for a quick financial boost to pay back investors. "What makes us -and the likes of Blizzard- different is that we are using our own money. We don't have investors to pay. So even if we don't hit our subscription goal immediately, we can still keep that subscription going. And because we have no investors, any money we make can be put straight back into the game."

Some of Yoshida's reasoning does ring true. However, he fails to mention that Blizzard have lost millions of subscribers recently and they have moved towards pay-to-win microtransactions, a sign many are taking that they will be providing a FTP option soon.

Also Square Enix will need to make money on their game sooner rather than later. The initial launch of XIV was a disaster, meaning gamers will be very cautious to subscribe again.  The company also failed to meet its ridiculously high sales targets for games like Tomb Raider and Hitman: Absolution and the re-development of A Realm Reborn has cost millions and Square Enix can't afford to fail again.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is out August 27th on PC and PS3.

Add a comment4 comments
Kuhn  Jul. 26, 2013 at 15:20

Don't you just love one-sided articles?

FFXIV is worth P2P, its great for people tired of the slew of crap that comes from F2P aka Free to Pay.

Late  Jul. 26, 2013 at 15:41

Not sure how you have a problem here, Kuhn. BG has detailed both sides of the argument. Looks to me like approx 50% of the piece advocates p2p (mainly as quote from source), and about 50% voices concern.

Perhaps you think people shouldn't have opinions?
If so your post breaches your own rule...

ExoticXCheese  Aug. 9, 2013 at 11:09

I don't agree with free to play mmos. They tend to wait until you're at a much higher level before you need to pay real money to get an item or a potion to beat a boss one time. (I have seen it in a free to play mmo before.) This way when you pay for a subscription you know that everyone is equal on the items (unless they work hard for a better item) and it seems more like a fair start. I have seen free to play mmos that ask for a retarded amount of money for a good weapon or armor. I agree with Square Enix on this one. Yes, over a long time you would be paying more, I'm sure (unless you bought everything in the free to play store many times.)

I also don't think that a free to play mmo can have a good economy system either. (this being said as an mmo has micro transactions) I could be wrong though. This game seems more like it's going just beyond grinding to the end game, and it gives you a lot to do. I understand if people don't play it because they don't have a steady income or they don't think they should have to pay before they try it out. I just wouldn't bash them over it for making it a subscription based mmo. There are both good things and bad things to both paid and free to play. I guess it's just which you prefer.

JonLester  Aug. 9, 2013 at 11:35

I feel that there'll always be a place for subscription MMOs. So long as they offer polished and balanced content worth paying for, the subs pay wall ensures that all of the player base is there because they want to get involved and enjoy the game rather than just freely grief for a bit (plus, it keeps out a lot of the annoying youngsters as well). More importantly, mind, the money influx ensures that the developers have a war chest to spend on major expansions and regular sweeping updates.

Again, though, games have to earn their subscriptions. I look forward to seeing whether FFXIV:ARR can do so.

@ExoticXCheese: You're right, in that F2P economies can be a nightmare to balance, and done wrong, can be horrible. Neverwinter, for example, keeps trying to put its hand in your wallet every few seconds, and confuses the issue with a frankly ridiculous number of currencies. However, I feel that F2P MMOs and MMORPGs definitely have a lot to offer, and we'll see developers getting increasingly skilled at using the relatively new business model over the coming years.

Last edited by JonLester, Aug. 9, 2013 at 11:36

Email Address:

You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.