Final Fantasy XIV, following its timeless redemption story, has always been popular, but it’s blown up in a big way over the past two years. Thanks to a combination of engaging content, coverage from streamers and some big hits on the competition World of Warcraft (or, at least, the studio behind it), Square Enix’s MMO (or MORP depending on who you ask) is more popular than ever. So popular, in fact, that the studio has to halt sales of it as servers buckle.
Popular kid problems for Final Fantasy
As a woefully inadequate but fit-for-purpose explainer, MMOs (massively multiplayer online game) run on servers, because the whole point is that you’ve got hundreds to thousands of people playing in the same world at any given point. But servers aren’t all-powerful, and they can technically fill to capacity. And Square Enix can only run so many servers at a time.
Because of its rampant success, FFXIV effectively has a surplus of players now, with substantially more concurrent players than its servers are capable of holding. This has become increasingly apparent following the latest expansion, Endwalker, which released last month.
Because of this, players have to put up with lengthy queues to even get into the game, let alone queue up for popular content. Square Enix is therefore halting sales on the game so that queue issues don’t get any worse for people currently playing the game. This would also give the studio room to get new servers up and running, if it weren’t for the fact that the ongoing semiconductor shortage is making that nigh-impossible right now.
As far as problems go, there are worse ones to have. Clearly, Square Enix has a lot to celebrate. It’s got an incredibly active and devoted player base that’s grown exponentially in a relatively short amount of time. On the other, not being able to sell new copies to new players means that there’s money left on the table for the company, which never bodes well.
The studio has apologised to current players for queue times and prospective players for being unable to accommodate them at the moment. It’s also given out 21 days of free game time (FFXIV runs on a subscription model) as part of its apology.