With over 5 million subscriptions, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is currently the second most popular subscription-based MMO on the market. Not only is it supported by a franchise that’s existed for decades, but it is readily available to players on PC, PS4 and PS3. As of August, Square Enix was still in talks with Microsoft to hopefully bring the game to the Xbox One. Last week, however, Phil Spencer all but extinguished any hope gamers on the Xbox One had for playing the game on their platform.
Citing business reasons, Spencer stated that he wasn’t a fan of exclusive deals for third party games. Naoki Yoshida, producer and director of A Realm Reborn , previously remarked that he understands how Microsoft’s decision might make sense from a business perspective, but it doesn’t make sense from a gamer’s perspective. Yoshida also mentioned that he’d be ready to start development on an Xbox One version of the game the moment Microsoft gave him the greenlight, so long as they agreed to cross-platform play so that all subscribers could play together. Allegedly, Microsoft wouldn’t even agree to cross-platform between Xbox One and Windows players.
At this point I’m inclined to wonder if it’s Microsoft being inflexible with a policy for policy’s sake, or if there is something specific about Final Fantasy XIV that they don’t think would work on their platform. As a gamer and reporter rather than a Microsoft executive, it seems to me like they could be passing up on a good opportunity. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn certainly seems to have thoroughly worked out on Sony’s console, after all.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is one of very few MMOs that intuitively work on both a keyboard and a controller, with the player base evenly divided in terms of preference; a very good sign, if you ask me. The ease of access provided by a console instead of the sometimes higher barriers of entry that a PC can require helps gamers who would otherwise not bother explore an interest in the genre.
The game also boasts a large and passionate player base who are more than eager to recruit their friends to adventure alongside them. Couple this with the already in place recruitment rewards system alongside the free trial often advertised on both PS4 and Windows and it becomes clear how the game’s subscription numbers continue to grow. Players of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will attest to the fact that, at any given time, free trial players can be spotted in high frequency. And given that the game is, indeed, an MMO, it naturally has a longer life cycle that will keep players engaged with their console for years to come.
Of course, Microsoft has allowed a Final Fantasy MMO on their platform in the past in the form of Final Fantasy XI, a game that still has long term fans nostalgic for the hours they logged in the virtual world of Vana’diel. If those players stayed with Microsoft’s platform instead of jumping ship to the PS4, then they might welcome the chance to try out the game’s spiritual successor on the Xbox One.
With the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV and Square Enix’ tendency to cross-promote their games, I can’t help but feel that there’s a missed opportunity by not greenlighting development on an Xbox One version of the game. For now, Final Fantasy fans who want to play the MMO with their friends have no choice but to opt into the PS4 or PC version of the game.
In the meanwhile, Naoki Yoshia urges gamers to reach out to Microsoft to let them know that this is an important issue to them. How about you, readers? Do you think Final Fantasy XIV would be a good fit on Xbox One?