Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a great game, but since its relaunch observers have been wondering if it would have the legs to survive in the long term.
A troubled launch didn't help; while this is nothing unusual for a new MMO, the new version of Final Fantasy XIV really needed things to go smoothly after its previous incarnation had been so poorly received. Fortunately, despite the usual teething troubles, Naoki Yoshida and his team managed to get things sorted admirably quickly, and it wasn't long before the game was running smoothly and enjoyably. Going forward, the plan is to introduce major content updates every three months, beginning with a patch that adds player housing and PvP, with smaller special events unfolding in the meantime to keep things interesting every so often.
Would it be enough, though? The pay-to-play MMORPG model is often criticized as being outdated and irrelevant these days, particularly with the rise in free-to-play titles along with DLC-supported pay once, play forever games like Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World -- so would Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn be able to survive without going free-to-play?
Well, so far things are looking very positive. The game has, according to Siliconera, so far outperformed expectations, causing Square Enix to revise its earnings forecast significantly.
Final Fantasy XIV's better-than-expected performance coupled with strong arcade sales for the six month period up to September 30, 2013 led Square to alter its projections from a 2 billion yen ($20 million) operating loss to a 4.7 billion yen ($48 million) operating profit -- a complete turnabout. Net income, meanwhile, was adjusted from a 1.3 billion yen ($13 million) loss to 2.6 billion yen ($26 million) profit.
Not at all bad for a new game in a genre of apparently declining popularity -- and one using a business model that is often perceived as outdated, no less. Still, it's testament to the high quality of Final Fantasy XIV -- both as an MMORPG and a mainline installment in the Final Fantasy series -- that it's done so well. Once the PlayStation 4 version launches, we can probably expect another influx of new players, too. Considering that a month ago the company was looking to dig itself out of a serious hole by experimenting with more "flexible" business models, new president Yosuke Matsuda must be breathing a sigh of relief right about now.