Opinion: The Time For FFXIV On Xbox One Is Now

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Last week some exciting news came out of GDC and it shined a ray of hope for all those Final Fantasy Fans out there who have been wanting to see Final Fantasy XIV brought over to Microsoft’s Xbox One. Nothing has been  officially confirmed yet, but I wanted to take this opportunity to go through the history of this request by fans, the concerns some have regarding it, and why this year would be a great year to bring the game to a new console.

History of the request

The news out of GDC gave renewed furvor to the Final Fantasy XIV and Xbox One crowd. For years now, other fans and myself have wondered why the game has been missing from the Xbox One, and while FFXIV Director/Producer Naoki Yoshida has long said he wanted to see the game on Microsoft’s console, we’ve been told that it hadn’t happened yet because of a Microsoft policy that wouldn’t allow players to interact with those on other networks- specifically, the PlayStation Network.

Several media outlets, Including us here at Gamer Escape, have asked when we might see Final Fantasy XIV on the Xbox One. Speaking with Pocket-lint, Yoshida told them:

We really want to do an Xbox One version, the thing is, A Realm Reborn is all about cross-platform compatibility. Anybody from any platform can play together. We don’t want to split our community into people who play on this platform or play on that one. So we’re currently in talks with Microsoft, trying to convince them that this is what needs to happen.

And in the same year, in an interview with RPGSite he said:

To be frankly honest with you, there are now so many mobile devices, smart phones, everything — why would you ever just stick to one platform from the hardware aspect? Just — make it open to everyone? That’s my opinion.

He went on, talking about how he would never want to divide the player-base because of the Microsoft policy.

I would love for as many players as possible to enjoy the game worldwide, so from a business point of view it could make sense to have it on the Xbox platforms. But as I mentioned earlier, that would bring about the tragedy that somebody might have to give up their existing character. Then players might get frustrated, and then they ask us – ‘Square Enix, can’t you do something?’ and then… yeah. Unless that happens, we can’t really do anything.

Personally I thought we’d hear something about the game arriving on Xbox along with the first expansion Heavensward, we did however get a Mac client which unfortunately had a lot of issues, and up until 3.2 was pulled from sale because of the amount of issues with the game on that platform.

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Last year, there was hope in the spring that something was going to be announced, Yoshida appeared in a Live Letter at Tokaigi wielding an Xbox One Controller (which are compatible with PC). At PAX East, we even asked if there was any update on FFXIV for  Xbox, but nothing had changed at that time. A few months later, Heavensward launched and with so much renewed interest in the game this left many wondering why the game was still exclusive to PlayStation and PC. Then in September of 2015, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer told IGN that it was because of an exclusivity deal that was keeping the game away from their system. So while he didn’t say it was any specific policy that was preventing this from happening, he quickly changed the conversation to their fall lineup.

It’s business… As I’ve grow in this role, and I’ve tried to learn the third-party exclusivity thing – and you see us doing less of it now – [I’ve found] it’s not something I’m a huge fan of. Different kind of deals happen, and I know that’s part of this business, and maybe it’ll be my failing in the end, but it’s not something I specifically embrace with any deal that’s out there, whether it’s something else. It’s just not something I can explicitly talk to.

Personally, this was like a kick to the gut, and really made me lose hope that this would happen, at least for the next year or two. And this didn’t reconcile with what we’ve heard from Yoshida on the topic, which makes since, as he has a tendency to speak more casually, and Phil, being the head of Xbox, has to frame the conversation differently. And because they are both correct… “It’s business.”

But the conversation has changed, and at GDC, Microsoft announced that they will be allowing for cross-network multiplayer, starting with the game rocket league. This news lead all to question, could this mean that Final Fantasy XIV’s biggest road block to coming to Microsoft’s platform has been overcome? While there are those who don’t want the game to come to any other platform, the majority of gamers would love to see our friends who don’t have access to a PS4, or a mid-range to high end PC come and join us all in Eorzea.

But the best hope came from a tweet Phil sent out to a fan:

And that’s the history up to this point, but history is one thing, there are those out there who have concerns about the game making its way to another platform.

Common Concerns

  • An Xbox Live Gold membership will be required to play Final Fantasy XIV, a subscription based game
  • The console limitations of the Xbox One will hold Final Fantasy back
  • Adding another console into the mix will increase the time in the development cycle

Probably the most valid of the objections, is that an Xbox Live Gold membership might be required, thus the player would have to have two different subscriptions to play the game. While I can’t say this won’t happen, there has been precedence for it not being the case in the past. On the Xbox 360, Final Fantasy XI didn’t require a Gold membership. More recently, before the console release of The Elder Scrolls Online, the game was going to have a subscription and with that Microsoft said that it would only require Silver (free) Xbox live access to play. However, the game ended up going buy-to-play, and Gold membership became a requirement. Looking at the competition, PlayStation Plus is not a requirement for Final Fantasy XIV on the PlayStation 4. I hope that the gold membership won’t be required, but at the same time, I feel like a good deal of active Xbox players will already have it.

Next up comes the talk about the ever dreadful “console limitations”. In fact, many players are hoping that PlayStation 3 support will be dropped with the 4.0 expansion.

ffxiendofconsoleMany players are concerned that adding another console into the mix is going to hold the game back. “PS2 Limitations” was a very common phrased used with Final Fantasy XI and players don’t want to see any variation of that given as a reason as to why something can’t be included into the game. We talked with Yoshida about this very thing in 2013 before the launch of A Realm Reborn.

To be honest, the biggest problem we had with XI was yes the memory, but also the hard disc space. But with the PS3, you can add as much as you like, so to be honest I’m not really concerned about that. Also there was a fundamental difference between XI and XIV was made. With XI it was based on the PS2 and then that was brought over to windows. On the other hand with XIV we’re making the windows version first and then bringing it to PS3 without reducing the quality too much. We’re making sure the balance is good for PS3 players, but the foundation is on the windows version.

What this comes down to is this: If there comes a time where the systems and content that they want to add into Final Fantasy XIV are impossible on currently supported hardware, that hardware could simply stop being supported. This would allow Square Enix to include whatever they wanted, while still supporting more current platforms. Will it actually happen? There’s no guarantee. However, it is an option that Final Fantasy XI never had due to its PlayStation 2 architecture.

Lastly, and a concern that I myself share, is the idea of a longer development cycle due to adding Xbox One support. If, for example, each patch took an additional month to be released because they had to develop for the Xbox One, I don’t think anyone wants to see that kind of delay. That having been said, I cant imagine that taking a PC based game and moving it onto the Xbox One platform, which also runs Windows, would be that time inducing. I’ve also seen people arguing that they would rather see more content as opposed to more platforms. I certainly wouldn’t argue against the idea of even more new content, but adding a new platform would bring in new players, which brings in more money, which in turn increases development budgets, allowing for more content, not less. The best way to help get more content made is to increase the player base and adding additional platform support is a great way to do that.

There will always be objections to any idea proposed, and there are other objections to this happening out there, that I didn’t talk about. Fill free to let me know in the comments below, if you have, or have heard of any other objections. But with those out of the way, let’s talk about why 2016 should be the year for FFXIV on Xbox.

This year is perfect

Asides from bringing this game to a whole new market, now is the perfect time for this game to come to the Xbox One. With patch 3.2 having just released last month with new content and adjustments making it easier to get into the game and play with your friends than ever before. Eorzea is primed to welcome in a large wave of new players wanting to check out the game for the first time, as well as welcome back any players who have been on a break.

With the 4.0 Expansion likely over a year away, releasing the game on Xbox during the Heavensward patch cycle would present a whole new marketing push to Square Enix, one that they wouldn’t really get until the the release of the next expansion. Now, all this is the hopeful wish of a fan, but timing an Xbox One release late into the 3.x patch cycle just like how PlayStation 4 support was introduced, would be pretty great.

For those who share this hope of having the game on the Xbox One, and want to see the game on as many platforms as possible, please be sure to speak up. Xbox Feedback has ideas shared for this, as well as the official forums.

What are your thoughts on bringing Final Fantasy XIV to the Xbox One? Drop a comment below and let us know!

 

  • lol

    The thing is, Microsoft didn’t change their update policy, meaning it couldn’t work unless they come to an agreement. Microsoft’s policies state all game updates must go through their approval service and be pushed through Xbox Live. It’s fine to speculate, but there are more things to change then Microsoft just saying they are open to cross platform play.

    I do hope they can, I welcome more PC players. The limitations thing is bs, look at how limited the PS3 version is that doesn’t stop the game looking fantastic on my PC.

    • Brian

      Microsoft updated it’s update policy back in the day, as it was causing a lot of issues with developers, namely smaller ones. (What I’m referring to is charging each time there was an update to the game (both PS3 and Xbox 360 use to do this)… However, publishing a game on a platform does go though it’s checks and balances, all console manufactures do this. However; I’m not fluent in Sony’s and MS’s specific policies, but this isn’t one that’s been said as a limiting factor by ether Yoshi-P or by Phil Spencer. You may be right, so if you have a source for that quote, that would be helpful. :)

      I agree, and the reason XIV scales so well is it’s built off of the PC, then ported, and visuals and memory scales. What does end up as turning into “memory limitations” are features that they feel would hurt one platform’s player base, over the rest. An example would be larger zones, if you look at the new HW zones, PS4/PC handles them wonderfully, and while PS3 can manage, the load times, and general experience is less then ideal. Meaning that when PS3 is eventually not supported anymore, we’ll see some improvements overall. However, I don’t think PS4/XB1 will be an issue for at least several more years. :)

      • http://kougeru.tumblr.com/ Kougeru

        Ps3 have been outright crashing in void ark because of this.

        • Brian

          That’s what I hear… hopefully we’ll see more PS3 users upgrade. I hear that if you go with an SSD in your PS3 it helps, but that money might be better spent on getting a PS4 because you get so much more. :)

  • http://kougeru.tumblr.com/ Kougeru

    It won’t happen unless Microsoft makes an exception to their rule that “players can choose to only play with Xbox users”. It’s a dumb rule to begin with.

    • Brian

      Agreed, hopefully this latest news is the change in that policy… (Crossing fingers) :)

    • This Guy

      They have already expressed interest in opening up doors to play with PS4/PC, I am sure they would drop that rule for this.

  • Romancing

    It’s funny Microsoft keeps inviting Yoshi to negotiations whenever he makes an appearance at a western gaming convention and every time it ends with Yoshi-P saying no to Microsoft’s terms. I think he’s had it with Microsoft at this point, he has other things to do than entertain a bunch of executives on their high horses.