Final Fantasy XIV To Finally Charge Money, New Version Next Yearby Craig Getting on October 14, 2011 12:38 PM EST
After thirteen months of an extended free trial, Square-Enix’s MMO Final Fantasy XIV will begin charging a subscription fee. The subscription-based billing system will go into effect sometime between late November and early December, said Square-Enix president Yoichi Wada.
“In the ten months since the FINAL FANTASY XIV team’s restructuring, we have put forth the utmost effort into not only improving the game’s existing features, but also creating a concrete plan to outline the game’s new direction,” Wada said in a statement.
The game’s new direction includes the reworking of in-game maps, a new client and new servers, and the eventual release of the PlayStation 3 version in late 2012. A second, shorter free trial period will be offered during that process.
Upon launch, Final Fantasy XIV was criticized for a whole host of problems: interface design, the in-game economy, busted quests, and general instability. This prompted Square Enix to rebuild the Final Fantasy XIV development team and keep the game in a perpetual free trial. Wada even said last month that “the Final Fantasy brand has been greatly damaged” by Final Fantasy XIV’s broken launch. How running a subscription MMO in an increasingly free-to-play market will help rebuild the brand remains to be seen.
Current players will be given subscription billing details via email, and those interested can check out various PDFs of the team’s overall plan here.