Suffering from Success: The Final Fantasy XIV Conundrum

In the history of MMO’s, rarely has there been a game that has removed itself from sale in the middle of it’s lifespan. Final Fantasy 14 (FFXIV) is one such game. It hasn’t done this in spite of it’s failures, but instead from an overwhelming amount of new accounts, players, subscriptions, and sales that their servers literally cannot handle.

Want to Play? Wait in Line.

Queue times in FFXIV since the start of December and especially during the launch of its latest expansion Endwalker, have been upwards of 3 hours. Free trial accounts have been unable to login during peak times. Square Enix, and lead game designer Naoki Yoshida (lovingly nicknamed “Yoshi-P”) have been putting forward steps to curb the amount of wait time for paying players to login to the game.

Starting as of December 15th, Square Enix has taken more drastic actions to mitigate the queue. Actions which have been overwhelmingly in favor of current players, and unheard of in the games industry. These Include:

  • Adding a total of 21 days of game time to subscribers
  • Temporarily suspending sales of the game
  • Temporarily suspending advertisements of the game 
  • Temporarily suspending the creation of new accounts

There is no word yet on exactly how long these restrictions will last.

Growth Beyond All Expectations

With all the recent hype around it, FFXIV seems to have really begun to suffer from it’s success… literally. According to Belluar News, Square Enix has given away an estimated total value of $12 million in revenue to it’s players from the game time compensation alone. With a high baller estimate of $20 million lost, as a result of new players subscribing during the Endwalker expansion.

When referring to (pictured below), Final Fantasy XIV’s daily player count has expanded by around 1.5 million since the start of December for a whopping 3.5 million daily concurrent players. That’s more growth than any other MMO on the market in 2021.

Because of the global chip shortage affecting all forms of electronics, Square Enix has been unable to acquire adequate server racks to increase their capacity. They literally cannot handle any more players with the current servers, that’ve been increasing in size with each expansion since the game’s re-launch in 2013. Eorzea, the setting of Final Fantasy XIV, seems to have an overpopulation problem.

From One MMO to the Next

Final Fantasy XIV’s rapid growth is due in part to the “WoW Exodus” which started in July of this year. It began when major World of Warcraft (WoW) streamers and content creators stopped playing WoW, in favor of trying out FFXIV. This was in part due to the massive accusations of workplace harassment towards it’s developer Activision/Blizzard, and the growing number of complaints towards the game’s design.

During this time, many WoW players followed suit. This massive migration resulted in Square Enix’s first attempts at halting congestion back on July 20th, by removing access to the game from free trials temporarily. Until now, those restrictions were alleviated.

Did You Know…?

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you must have heard this copypasta in the gaming sphere a thousand times:

“Did you know that the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV has a free trial, which includes the entirety of A Realm Reborn AND the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 with no restrictions on playtime?.” 

Well… it’s true! And it’s so worth the try.

I’ve been playing FFXIV off and on since 2014, and I can personally guarantee that the free trial is possibly the best free to play content of any game ever.

If free trial accounts open up again in the near future, I highly suggest any RPG, JRPG, or MMO fan get a taste for it.

See you in, Eorzea!


Games Journalist, Competitive Pokemon/VGC Player, Content Creator

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