One of the last holdouts among MMOs that require a subscription is Final Fantasy XIV. We’ve mused on the (low) possibility that it could someday go free-to-play, and we’re not the only ones. Even FFXIV Game Director Naoki Yoshida, a.k.a. Yoshi-P acknowledged it could happen “if 80% to 90% of our players” wanted it.

That happened a year ago this month, but now Yoshida is singing a different tune. In an interview with Korean website Inven, Yoshida answered several wide-ranging questions about the game, covering update 4.3, translations, and class balance. Thanks to a translation from Redditor Tsunari, we can also read about Yoshida’s trip to Blizzard, where he met with new president J. Allen Brack and members of the World of Warcraft team, who “greeted us in FFXIV shirts.”

When asked about free-to-play, though, Yoshida seems quite adamant in his (lengthy) response:

Absolutely not. It’s a business after all and we look at profits through games. However, we consider the close trust between developers and players than simply trying to maximize the profit in short period of time.

Games like Dragon Quest Builder recently released in Korea and FFXIV are in similar in that sense–It’s all about that “if these guys made this game, it’s a safe bet to pay and likely to enjoy it myself.” It’s much beneficial for us in the long run.

In the developer’s perspective, we think that quick profit is not the right way. Even if FFXIV is making sizable profit surprisingly well, we do not want to push players to reach further in their wallet. Instead, it would be better to encourage at least 2 to 3 times the population with lowered spending per individual, establishing healthy continuation of 3 to 10 years in sight. Hence we have no plan for F2P at all.

In addition, this “Social game” market in Japan is in rough condition. Many games do not last past 2 months and the way I see it is the broken trust between the developers and the players by looking at the profit than anything else. Only thing left out after all the games born and dead were Characters and IPs.

It’s hardly able to tell whoever made these characters and games’ IP after companies vanish. It’s the same end for us if we were to employ similar methods of operation. However, we believe games or musics need to have a sort of culture cultivated instead of merely leaving with characters and IP.

If we look at F2P and its profit model, we’re going to walk the same plank these Social games in Japan have walked on-we’re definitely going to avoid that in the first place by not doing it at all. Global FFXIV is incredibly profitable for us right now and we want to assure you that we’re holding the same future as we promised to the adventurers when they first started.

I’ve noticed someone in front of me has Rockstar sticker on the laptop, the company that made GTA series. If I were to run a game company, I want to run just like that. There’s certainly a sense of trust in thought of “It’s the company that made GTA series.”

In the next question, Yoshida does mention the presence of Korean PC cafes (“bangs”) and how they, and the overall Korean economy, could have an impact on pricing model. So it’s possible that his denial of F2P for FFXIV is related only to its Korean version and not a statement on how he thinks the game will be priced worldwide in the future.

It’s also refreshing to hear him recognize that F2P can all too often “push players to reach further in their wallet,” though it’s not as if the Final Fantasy “characters and IP” haven’t been used in free-to-play games — some better received than others.

That said, it seems like Yoshi-P has enough control over his particular product that he’s able to convince his higher-ups at Square Enix that the current way they do business is for the best and there are no plans to change things. Unlike some game developers who insist their game won’t ever go free-to-play, I actually believe him.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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  1. ninetenduh on October 15, 2018

    There is no reason for the game to consider Free 2 Play, to begin with, it’s doing just fine with a Monthly Fee, Unless the Sub count drops down i don’t see it ever going B2P or even Free 2 Play.

  2. asdf on October 14, 2018

    Final fantasy XIV are for no brainers, just like Archeage people but enough of that. Why should i pay 60dolars for a game that you don’t own unless you pay for the sub that is another 15$. You will get the same entertainment much cheaper with other b2p games. So why in the world i will pay that much for 1 game?
    I bet that you need to pay for cash shop items also.

    • Realight on October 16, 2018

      No, I played FFXIV and there is no “cash shop” where you can buy items to utilize in game combat or anything, like, consumables. The only optional items you can buy are vanity items, like, some emotes and costumes. other than that you dont even have to spend money in the cash shop at all. >:O
      You can also buy extra retainer slots, retainers are NPCs that can hold your items to put them on the market.

    • Mizumomo on October 25, 2018

      For no brainers? xD What you think you just spam buttons in this game and that gets you everywhere? Seeing as you clearly haven’t played it, evident by your own assumptions about the cash shop, perhaps keep your completely incorrect ideas of the game to yourself.

  3. Peanuts on October 13, 2018

    Subscription for this game is the best option and the most sustainable for quality 3-4 months patches this game delivers. Yoshida knows that a loyal fanbase and trust will make you more money than cash grab free to play and buy to play. both of those models will always use a cash shop as they cannot make enough money to pay staff and server upkeep. so they would add pay to win or pay to progress elements in game to keep you hooked whereas you can just pay 8.99 for a month sub to access the full game/buy expansions without content being withheld behind a paywall or EXP potion to level up.

  4. .. on October 13, 2018

    shut up naoki shut up!

  5. Dzonatan on October 13, 2018

    You either pay willingly $15/month and have a balanced experience or have someone pay $30/month to own your ass through P2W.

  6. Weilan on October 13, 2018

    Maybe make it B2P instead. Subscription based games are games of the past, they have no place today and I will absolutely not pay a subscription just to play a game. Even if I was loaded, I still wouldn’t. I’d rather buy the rights for the game and make it B2P.

    • Nugger on October 13, 2018

      You’re broke AF

    • FlamingGnats on October 13, 2018

      Nope. Subscription keeps it polished and keeps the worst aspects of an MMO community from flooding it. If you’re too cheap that’s fine, but it’s your loss to not experience such a great game.

      I pray they never change and listen to people too cheap to pay for a good product.

      • Curst on October 14, 2018

        I thought P2P elitists were the worst aspect of MMO community.

        • Koagz on October 14, 2018

          Sounds like something a F2P elitist would say.

          • Curst on October 15, 2018

            I’m not the one talking about all the problematic people I’m too go to play with.

          • Curst on October 15, 2018

            *too good

    • TheErros on October 13, 2018

      I do like the b2p option. It’s nice being able to just come back whenever you feel like playing and not need a sub.

      F2p is terrible. None of the games seem to be able to pull off a good f2p model without it leading to a large gap between the f2p and p2w players. There are some that do ok but rare.

      I just feel like sub ends up being the best. Obviously in all cases you need a good game but a sub imo is really good for steady income and probably monthly content updates that just arent possible in most b2p and f2p models without a large enough player base or people spending tons of money in a cash shop.

    • IsamiOni on October 14, 2018

      ‘Even if I was loaded, I still wouldn’t.’
      That’s exactly why you say it like that right now. If you never had problems with spending money for anything you wish you wouldn’t get such point of view on the money issue. And you wouldn’t care how much it cost.

      Back to the topic…FFXIV.WILL.NEVER.GO.FREE.TO.PLAY. And it will keep it’s stable online. Square rather close Global server if it won’t make enough money. FF is made by Japanese…they look differently at how work is done unlike Koreans that will sell their failed projects for Western release just to make some Extra cash. Not to mention the amount of yen Square gets from Collaborations with other Japanese MMOs and single player games.

      And for the last. FFXI has been closed…and later re-released….as subscription based game…and it’s still running.

      Either pay for someone’s job or pass by silently.
      You know, Square has people they have to pay salary to…monthly…and people want to lay hands on their product for free…or pay once…the less the better.

    • eldhin on October 26, 2018

      P2P is, has been, and will always be, the best model for a quality MMO game.

  7. Curst on October 13, 2018

    I’m sure they could have opened a separate F2P server without breaking trust with anyone except for those who smear F2P to score morality points. There’s a number of games that operate like that to a moderate success and FFXIV could have been one of them. Maybe not in Japan, but globally I don’t see why not.

    Anyway… This isn’t even F2P news…

  8. rickshaw on October 13, 2018

    They just need to changed the name final fantasy and then they can go f2p. 🙂
    The real truth is the company is used to a trickle of a thousand or so players and they couldn’t handle f2p with its mass’s, if it did go F2P it would make 10 times the money and ten times the amount of online players set in one spot. I just don’t think they want that sort of pressure.

    • Mizumomo on October 25, 2018

      Everytime there’s a major patch update the more heavily populated servers have queue times because of the number trying to log on at once. I don’t think they have the population issues you seem to believe. As for “changing the name Final Fantasy.” How would that work exactly? Have you seen the game? They’d have to overhaul every single aspect of it. It’s basically a FF themepark. You can’t go anywhere without tripping over a reference. Changing the name does not change the game.

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