1up.com published an article entitled: “The Future of Online Gaming in Japan: The people behind FFXIV and Phantasy Star Online weigh in.” Despite the seeming popularity in Japan of Final Fantasy XI, and surely of Final Fantasy XIV, the article details why overall online gaming in Japan is less popular than in the United States or Europe. Only Nobuaki Komoto, director of FFXIV took issue with the premise somewhat, stating:
The way MMOs attract players has dramatically evolved. It’s especially noticeable with American and European titles. Games used to favor hardcore players; there were a lot of games made with the philosophy that everything should be hidden and the players can work together to figure it out. It was very unkind. Games these days don’t let their players ask ‘What am I supposed to do?’. They guide the player along the way — but there are several paths to take, and you’re still free to do something else. They’re free experiences.
The ultimate ideal would be for them not to be called ‘online games’ any longer. I think that’s the real goal for us. Lots of downloadable games, not to mention Gears of War and Fallout 3, are ‘online games,’ but nobody calls them that. I think we’ll see that term go by the wayside even for games with lots of online features. Their presence will be considered a normal part of the package.
What does that mean for FFXIV? Only time will tell.