Final Fantasy XIV free-to-play? Now that I’ve stoked your interest — and captured a few search results from Google — let me tell you that it could one day be possible, though it would take a consensus the likes of which MMO players never seem to enjoy.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, FFXIV Game Director Naoki Yoshida boasted about the game’s high player count — more on that in a bit — and the difficulty in convincing players to pay a subscription fee in 2017. The game does allow players to play for free to level 35, and Yoshida says that limit could be raised to level 50 when the game’s next expansion launches.

Could FFXIV be even more free-to-play than that? Yoshida doesn’t totally rule it out, saying:

“That being said, if 80% or 90% of our players are demanding we go free-to-play, then we might need to look at shifting our business model. But we would also need to change our game design to match that business model. It all depends on what the game design should be based on what our players’ needs are.”

That’s not likely to happen, but anything’s possible, and people’s opinions of F2P in the MMO industry have changed over time. Four years ago, one person thought that FFXIV couldn’t go free-to-play, that it would make revenue too difficult to predict. That person was … Naoki Yoshida. Hopefully, Square Enix will hire an economist or two before making the switch.

With regards to the “10 million players” FFXIV has and the line in the article that states it’s “only 2m short of the 12m active subscribers World of Warcraft enjoyed at its peak,” that seems to be a bit of a false equivalence. There was a press release in August that stated that FFXIV had “10 million cumulative players,” but that almost certainly refers to total accounts created, as opposed to the 12 million active players World of Warcraft once enjoyed. S-E has been a little dodgy with its wording (hence “cumulative”), but FFXIV was said to have “accumulated a total of five million paid subscribers” two years ago, with no word of active players at that time. Adding a couple of years, an expansion, and free trial accounts could certainly have pumped that number up over 10 million (or even nearly 12 million as this FFXIV stats site seems to indicate), but there’s nothing to indicate it’s anywhere near WoW at its peak, despite the article’s language.

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.

26 Readers Commented

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  1. ravorsmalody on October 12, 2017

    this game is trash to begin with . Literally zero game combat skill required. Idk why your fussing over a sucky overpriced game.

  2. Eviil on October 9, 2017

    Trust me, majority FFXIV players do not want F2P players what-so-ever. I’m a lunch time subscriber since before the huge overhaul.

  3. Buggy on October 4, 2017

    Go free to play it will please me

  4. aRndmKid on October 3, 2017

    I think it should go f2p. A game with 2010 level graphics is charging people $15/mo while there are multitudes of f2p games out there that can offer you almost the same thing. And if you want to drop a bit of dough, you can get the full GW2 for just a few months of FF or hell BDO for just $10; both of which completely outclass FF in terms of presentation. The game is dieing and needs an influx of fresh players, that’s not gonna happen with a $15/mo fee for a non-revolutionary game in 2017.

    • Dadan on October 3, 2017

      Everyone has their own tastes in games, including their graphics and etc.
      The only thing I can really agree is the very last part about fresh players and that it will not get as many with it’s current model.
      As for the game itself, dunno where you got it, but believe me, it’s not dying. It has it’s ups and downs like any other, but it’s doing well enough.

    • Niten on October 3, 2017

      I m glad they dont go free to play because FF14 has good community and they have bot problem even with P2P system god knows what will happen when F2P player come.

      And yes game is not dying most of the old servers are always full.

      • Scout on October 3, 2017

        There are a few new games that came out for a few month and they have already have been destroyed by the bots. It becoming much worse.

  5. Curst on October 3, 2017

    What he’s trying to say is “FFXIV won’t go F2P, but you should blame the playerbase for that”.

    • Burst on October 3, 2017

      Pretty much this. Why go F2P if people keep throwing money at you.

    • Dadan on October 3, 2017

      I would rather not blame anyone. Since that’s foolish in such a case.

  6. That Person on October 3, 2017

    Having played since 2.1 and now played into 4.0 (stormblood), game is a gear treadmill, like the same !@#$ thing at the end, you do your dailies/weeklies, log off, OR level an alt class. It has tons of content, but the end game, is just the same few activities at the end of every expansion. I mean its a great game, I poured tons of money into it. But once your at the end, you start thinking “wow I’m paying, just to log in do some dailies and bounce out” The journey is amazing, but the end, is a pretty big gear treadmill. Its really boring at that point. I know their trying hard to add side things to do at end game, but honestly it wears thin really fast, They release some nice shiny content but “wanting” to do it over and over, is non existant. I got my moneys worth of enjoyment, leveling all the crafts to 70, leveled 2 combat classes to 70, Had a mansion, the whole sha bang. You might be thinking “well you played a lot, of course you got bored” I’m just mentioning what ive done, it was the exact same treadmill with a few things you could do at end game, for the base game, heavensward, and now stormblood (more side things they are adding later) My advice, play the game for a couple of months, dip your toes into some end game, then just move along. You can get the same level of end game replayability and a little more from a lot of f2p games tbh. I agree with a lot it should be buy to play. They offer a ton of content but its not fun running the same thing over and over for 2-3 months (that’s about how long it is for another shiny) Most of my FC, played side games while playing ffxiv. Ok rant over, its a great game, all my opinion of course.

    • That Person on October 3, 2017

      Short version: Buy to play with a cash shop would work way better. Paying a sub to run the same few things every 3 months is bad.

      • Moogle on October 3, 2017

        I completely agree that it’s just not worth having a subscription once you reach endgame, unless you still have quite a lot of undone things that interest you. The endgame that this game presents inbetween patches or expansions is just to minor for a 30 day subscription.
        All I do is just wait until they gather up more patches, then come back, play it trough and wait again. Of course it’s really fun during those plays, but it would be nice to have a more long lasting endgame inbetween those expansions and patches as well.

  7. Weilan on October 3, 2017

    I still won’t play it, it’s boring AF

    • Moogle on October 3, 2017

      Everyone has their tastes.

  8. Moogle on October 3, 2017

    I like the idea about increasing free to play level cap up to 50 and giving a full access to FFXIV:ARR content. But still locking them out of HW, SB and future expansions. Free to play players will be able to properly experience more of what the game has to offer, not just some early gameplay, and if they like it they can buy the expansions and subscribe to play them.

    As for full free to lay – Nope. Nah. No way. Denied.
    At least in my opinion.

  9. Runate on October 3, 2017

    It should switch to a free to play model that doesnt give any p2w advantage to the paying users, something with a premium system like in B&S where the benefits are +% of exp and gold

  10. YALL HARSH on October 3, 2017

    “We don’t want free 2 play because we already paid”

    Just let em make the free 2 play part as a trial so people who try it out have a reason to sub.

    Even if the endgoal isnt subbing having more people in a game won’t hurt it.

    Just add f2p with restrictions if you don’t sub,simple.

  11. No. on October 3, 2017

    No.

  12. grims bane on October 3, 2017

    I wouldn’t suggest free to play I would suggest that Final fantasy goes buy once free for life kind of deal, with a cash shop still in it. I think that would be the best approach for the game and would definitely get me to play more, as buy 2 play is far more appealing.

  13. rickshaw on October 2, 2017

    Games are far better off with shops more than SUBS
    subs mess to much around with your pocket as they withdraw money when you not even playing.
    off topic a bit, with the mobile game market its a cash fest for unscrupulous devs, because we now have so many idiots with full pockets or massive credit debts who play games for the sake of it to buy shit, not actual game players.
    I say F2P with shop or buy once play forever is the best approach any mmo PC gaming.

    • MMO Noob on October 2, 2017

      Wow I didn’t know that the MMO Mobile Games became the really Complete Garbage now. (Thanks for the advice.)

  14. Jay on October 2, 2017

    you can go free to play and raise the level cap to 50 but make it more grindy for gil and gear and leave it the same for users who pay $15/m

    • Derpfestor on October 3, 2017

      So basically make it like SWTOR where while it is free, you are required to pay to have fun?

      Are you delusional?

  15. Coldizz on October 2, 2017

    I believe Final Fantasy XIV should stay buy to play for real. There are just to many free to play games being on the market now Plus there are quite few decent free to plays games out there.
    ———————————————————————————-
    Here my tips for people are who are looking for decent free to plays games. Go Do Your Reasearch

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