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Final Fantasy XIV has "no plans" for going full free-to-play

If the model ain't broke, don't fix it.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

September 6, 2023

1 Min Read
Promo art for Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker.

Whatever's next for Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV, embracing a free-to-play model may not be a part of the equation. Talking to Eurogamer, director Naoki Yoshida said there are "no plans" for the hit MMO to stray from the subscription-based model it's been working with since launch.

Over the last decade, online games like Star Wars: The Old Republic or Destiny 2 have switched to free-to-play after previously requiring players to spend money. The transition has been fruitful for those games, and developers have balanced that out with season passes and regularly releasing paid expansions.

Speaking to Final Fantasy XIV's expansions, Yoshida affirmed that the game can't switch up its model due to the "huge amount of time and money" that went into making them. Those add-ons help drive the game's revenue, both on their own and in bundles that consistently go on sale.

"Revenue from sales of the expansion package itself is still very important in order to continue to make expansions on this scale," he explained. "We would like to constantly aim for the best on the business side as well to continue making a lot of content to be enjoyed."

Final Fantasy XIV has been a huge boon for Square Enix since its Realm Reborn relaunch, to the point that it had to stop selling the MMO because its popularity was creating server congestion. The most recent expansion, 2021's Endwalker, was deemed a "massive contributor" to the developer's 2021-2022 fiscal year.

For those who want to play Final Fantasy XIV without paying for a subscription, there's a trial that lets newcomers play free up to a specific level (70) and expansion (Stormblood). Yoshida said it's likely that the trial will be further expanded the longer the game goes on. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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