Final Fantasy XIV is a game that got off to a rocky start. When it first launched in 2010, people didn’t care for it. Subscriber counts were low. People criticized the content. It was, in short, a disaster. The only thing that saved it was the launch of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn in 2013, a rerelease that put a new team to work on the MMORPG and was essentially a fresh start. Now, three years later, could the game be looking for that sort of invigoration again?
Square Enix recently held the Final Fantasy XIV 2016 Fan Festival in Las Vegas. It was a lavish affair that brought with it a new announcement. Stormblood , a new expansion, would be coming to the game in 2017. The question is, could this extra add-on be enough to keep people not only coming back to the game, but pay for the expansion, ongoing subscription fees, and perhaps even a new console? While it’s supposed to allegedly be a full game’s worth of content, the costs could prove concerning.
Let’s start with the expansion price. Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward was $39.99 for a standard copy and $59.99 for a copy that included the A Realm Reborn base. That means we can expect the same from Stormblood . Which isn’t too high a cost. But, you have to remember that this is apparently going to be a full game’s worth of content. That’s probably going to take over a month to play. Which means you need to think about what it would cost to also re-up your subscription, since Heavensward didn’t come with a 30-day play period and Stormblood likely won’t either. 30 days of a standard membership is $14.99 per month, though committing to 90 or 180 days can bring the monthly price down to $13.99 and $12.99, respectively.
Let’s be optimistic. Getting into Stormblood will require at least a $54.98 investment for returning players. We’ll imagine people paying that price will be dedicated enough and have the free time needed to complete the most important elements of the expansion within one month. Realistically speaking, though, it’s going to be probably $81.96. MMORPGs work differently than normal games, due to the grinding and reliance on other players. You’ll probably need at least three months to reach a point where you feel like you’ve done everything in Stormblood that you’ve had to. In both cases, $54.98 and $81.96 aren’t outrageous prices for one month or three months worth of entertainment.
Unfortunately, the cost could be quite higher for a number of people. When it comes to a MMORPG, some people may turn to it as their primary source of gaming entertainment. This means there could be PlayStation 3 owners who rely on that version of the game to fill their free time. Except Stormblood won’t be coming to that console. Which means anyone with a PS3 who wants to keep playing will need to upgrade to a PlayStation 4 or switch to a computer capable of running the MMORPG.
Square Enix is making some concession to these folks’ needs. A promotion will take effect sometime in the future that will allow a free upgrade from the PS3 to the PS4 version of the game. But this only applies to people moving from one console to the other, and not to someone going from the PS3 to PC version. That means people who choose not to buy a PS4 will need to upgrade or invest in a new computer and whatever other fees they’ll need to pay for software to keep their characters current when Stormblood arrives. And even if someone did go with the option that would offer the free upgrade, is continued Final Fantasy XIV play and access to the new expansion worth the $299.99 system, $39.99 expansion, and a $12.99-$14.99 per month subscription? I wouldn’t pay that much to keep playing. Such a move isn’t good for business.
It feels like Final Fantasy XIV could be heading in a rather divisive direction. It seems like it could come down to cost, when people decide whether they should continue their adventures in Eorzea or not. People playing on PCs and PS4s will certainly have no trouble ahead of them. All they’ll need to worry about is the price of an expansion and keeping their subscription current. But anyone who still remains on PS3 could find the game suddenly too rich for their blood.