What you need to know
- Final Fantasy XIV is a growing MMORPG from Square Enix.
- Declining interest in World of Warcraft has contributed to a surge in FFXIV popularity in recent weeks.
- The popularity surge has taken a toll on FFXIV's servers, leading Square Enix to temporarily halt digital sales of the game in some places.
Here's one you don't see every day. Final Fantasy XIV has "sold out," even digitally, as Square-Enix wrestles with a massive surge in popularity.
I recently wrote about the large backlash towards World of Warcraft's (WoW) most recent update, which has become a focal point for on-going issues with the game's design, writing, and insistence on randomness and time gating to arbitrarily keep players paying. Large WoW influencers like Asmongold famously moved across to competing MMO Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV), and it has helped trigger a wave of Warcraft refugees seeking greener pastures, myself included.
As noted by YouTuber Skill Up (thanks @PMS_Jordan for the tip), Square Enix has taken the step to halt digital sales of the game temporarily, stating that the game is "sold out" on its website.
I've been playing the game a fair amount recently, and noticed that even off-peak hours I am greeted with server queues. Some of my friends that have tried to pick up the game were also unable to make new characters on my server, greeted with a "this server is full" message, as Square Enix attempts to distribute load among its data centers. Every server is listing itself as "congested" as of writing, effectively implying the servers have become full. It does seem like this upsurge in popularity has taken the publisher by surprise a bit, which isn't exactly without precedent, given how utterly over-loaded Outriders was at launch.
In the past, Xbox head Phil Spencer has said that FFXIV was heading to Microsoft's console too, but it sadly has never materialized. Relaxed Microsoft Store policies with regards to content delivery networks due to arrive this year should rectify this, however. Right now, all content sold through the Microsoft Store right now has to also feed updates through the Microsoft Store, whereas Square Enix prefers to handle updates to its game manually. There's also the issue of Sony's publisher fee for cross-play gaming, which would likely negatively impact Square Enix's bottom line. Given the massive uptick in players, though, they may just be able to afford it.
FFXIV is due to get a large expansion in the form of Endwalker in November 2021, adding new activities, classes, races, and much more. While Square Enix has halted sales of the game at its end, you can still grab the PC version on Steam. Square Enix has also temporarily ended sales of FFXIV on PlayStation too.