Final Fantasy XIV Subscriptions Aim to Regain Player Trust

Final Fantasy XIV Subscriptions Aim to Regain Player Trust

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The game's payment model will keep the product in Square Enix's hands.

Developers have offered a lot of justifications for the subscription MMO model, in which players shell out a monthly fee for unfettered access to more or less everything in the game. As free-to-play games offering -la-carte gameplay options become more and more popular, fewer MMOs can stay afloat by asking the player base to pay for its fun up front. However, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn remains unmoved on the benefits of free play. As a justification for keeping the subscription model after the troubled MMO's upcoming relaunch, Square Enix states that the trust of its players and its financial independence are more important than the number of people playing.

"The main reason why we haven't decided to take the free-to-play option is that, at the game's original launch, it didn't live up to expectations and it let down a lot of fans ... We want to regain that trust and to deliver on past promises," says Naoki Yoshida, the game's director. The link between fan loyalty and subscription fees may seem tenuous, but Yoshida clarifies that this payment method is Square Enix's way of ensuring that every FFXIV player has constant access to every single facet of the game. Although Yoshida is opposed to serving up the game piecemeal, however, he has no aversion to the free-to-play model in general. "It just really depends, and it's hard to say which one is better."

Another reason Yoshida cites for the subscription model is Square Enix's lack of outside investors for the game. "We'd have to pay our investors back, and free-to-play is an option to get that money back to investors quickly," he explains. While free-to-play can often rustle up large sums of money through microtransactions, Yoshida wants to ensure that FFXIV is beholden to no one except its parent company. "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a product that is independent to Square Enix. All of the money's coming from us, so we had more time to put it into what we wanted to do. We're not in a rush to pay anyone back."

Square Enix's commitment to comprehensively fixing FFXIV's problems is admirable, but the game already took a serious blow on the chin after its unsuccessful initial launch. Wary gamers will be hard enough to entice without the added burden of a monthly subscription fee. On the other hand, if FFXIV turns out to be as strong as Yoshida hopes, tentative players shouldn't mind dishing out a little money for it. A Realm Reborn is currently in alpha tests, and should launch in early 2013.

Source: VG247

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I don't know about this... It feels like they're saying:
"We shall regain your trust! Now give us some monies first!"

But that just may be me.

Random thoughts:

Well, after all the free months they were throwing at people the original was almost Free-to-Play as it was....

So, what's the plot of this one gonna be? A dragon burns the world to death and then builds an auction house for no reason?

Aren't people still playing #11?

I really do applaud Square for going out of their way to fix a problem they made, though they should have seen it in the first palce through testing. Oh well, live and learn, and it definatly cost them. I've already got WoW as my paid MMO, but I'd definatly would like to give this a try if I could, just to see if it was good.

so a question, or rather the question im been doing myself, who this fee afect the ps3 version?i have never play a mmo before (except runescape and MU) but i nver pay for anything, so i buy the ps3 version and then what i have to pay more?

dragongit:
I've already got WoW as my paid MMO, but I'd definatly would like to give this a try if I could, just to see if it was good.

This is half the reason free-to-play is becoming popular and why new MMOs keep dying. When you already pay for one you don't feel like paying for another or even trying it, I pay for EVE Online so the only reason I'm going to be playing Planetside 2 is because I don't have to shell out another $15 a month. I really think Square is going to be shooting themselves in the foot on this one.

kajinking:

dragongit:
I've already got WoW as my paid MMO, but I'd definatly would like to give this a try if I could, just to see if it was good.

This is half the reason free-to-play is becoming popular and why new MMOs keep dying. When you already pay for one you don't feel like paying for another or even trying it, I pay for EVE Online so the only reason I'm going to be playing Planetside 2 is because I don't have to shell out another $15 a month. I really think Square is going to be shooting themselves in the foot on this one.

They already shot one foot when they made the initial game, they are hoping this time they only take out the pinky toe if shit goes wrong. Maybe adapt a free to play model like all the others.

How does microtransactions make the company beholden to others? Does some other company hold the patent on the microtransaction model? There's also no need to restrict content, Yoshida. Many free to play games out there are very successful just selling cosmetics and frills. Of course, Mr. Yoshida farmed out half the games development to hacks in China and released a barely functional game which is taking nearly 2 years to "fix", so I think it is safe to say his decision making is questionable at best.

Additionally, my lack of trust in Square Enix is precisely why I WONT be buying this game. You wanna regain my trust Square? Don't expect me to drop $50 + $15 a month to find out if you've salvaged a playable game for that pile of rubble you tried selling me in 2011. The only people I don't trust that I give money to are the IRS.

I have to give them this. I take real bollocks to step and say we fucked up and we realize that, but we want to make this right. Now if only they could do this to final fantasy 13....wait

Sylveria:
How does microtransactions make the company beholden to others? Does some other company hold the patent on the microtransaction model? There's also no need to restrict content, Yoshida. Many free to play games out there are very successful just selling cosmetics and frills. Of course, Mr. Yoshida farmed out half the games development to hacks in China and released a barely functional game which is taking nearly 2 years to "fix", so I think it is safe to say his decision making is questionable at best.

Additionally, my lack of trust in Square Enix is precisely why I WONT be buying this game. You wanna regain my trust Square? Don't expect me to drop $50 + $15 a month to find out if you've salvaged a playable game for that pile of rubble you tried selling me in 2011. The only people I don't trust that I give money to are the IRS.

You do realize Yoshida was the replacement for the original producer, right? After FFXIV flopped on release (putting it lightly) SE pretty much kicked all of the major players off of the dev team along with a bunch of other people, and replaced them with all new people. Hell, Yoshida has never actually worked on a FF game as far as I'm aware--he was always a Dragon Quest developer.

So far, he's pretty much lived up to his word as far as remaking the game goes. A lot of transparency between the community and the developers, and he's determined to make the remake as good as it can be. I believe he recently said that they're about three months behind schedule because they didn't like the state of the new version back in August when Alpha testing was supposed to begin, so they pushed the schedule back and had been hunkering down to get ready for the Alpha tests. They're determined to do the best they can, and they won't settle for anything less.

I know I come off as a bit of a fanboy here, but it's hard not to admire what Yoshida brought to the table. He's basically turned FFXIV from a failure to, what will hopefully be, a celebration of what made FF good. This new version by all accounts is sort of like a love letter to fans with all the references it makes, and I for one like that.

You know, whether FFXIV succeeds or fails, SE actually showing it is thinking about the long term instead of the short term has gotten my respect. They feel really passionate about the game, which is something I can't say about some of the yearly block busters that have been coming out.

I still have a bad taste of the original.
I was in the beta, and it was horrible. The battle system felt unresponsive and really had no explanation of how it actually works. The introduction to the game was also terrible. You're on a boat, a storm happens, some monsters happen, now you're in a gigantic place, go do something. An hour of dicking around learned me the basics well enough, but the combat still felt like it was designed to be obtuse. And then there's mobs that one-shot you in the beginner field. Oh, and it took me 2 hours to figure out how to resurrect when I died. I actually rerolled a character just because I died and couldn't figure out how to res. Turns out it was in a subsection in the main menu. It wasn't even named properly. At that point, I just couldn' take it any more and removed the shit.

Whatever they do, they cannot possibly fail as hard as the original did, even if they tried to.

Korten12:
I don't know about this... It feels like they're saying:
"We shall regain your trust! Now give us some monies first!"

But that just may be me.

I'd say it is just you.

They pretty much kicked all the original FF14 devs off the game, brought in their "A-Team" so to speak, and then offered the game at essentially a "buy to play" price for the better part of a year or two while updating and seeing if they could fix it before saying we'll just rework the entire dang thing.

It couldn't of been cheap to develop (it IS a FF game after all), and the fact they allowed people to play for nothing more than the initial box price for most of the game's actual retail life, definitely was a way to keep up player trust. At least, it was a smart move on their part to admit they screwed up and smarter PR to dump the subscription for the time being.
Players could still buy the game, and had no reason not to really if they were at all interested (seeing as it dropped the monthly costs) since they'd also get this newer version free as well.

Uh, Square-Enix, I'm not sure if anyone has told you yet, but bear with me here: F2P doesn't mean you piecemeal content out you idiots. Most F2P MMOs live off the fact that they offer you microtransactions that will just help you out, or are pure vanity items. (People eat up vanity items like crazy) Look at most any F2P MMO, they don't lock content away, they offer convience at a price, but never require you to pay. Here, I'll even do it for you using FFXI as an example:

Want to sell more that 7 things on AH? Offer sale slot increases.
Want to level faster? Offer the exp rings already bought with conquest points, but aren't time locked.
Want a bigger gobbiebag, but items too expensive? Allow players to pay in cash instead.

See, those were the three first that came to mind using other MMOs as examples. It's THAT EASY. Instead you want to cling to the horrible FFXI model that FFXIV cloned of not only charging for the acct per month, but a dollar a character. FFXI is still THE most expensive MMO subscription, and one of the worst MMOs to ever ask for a subscription.

Or you could just learn from ArenaNet and sell the game and make money off the expansions, lord knows FFXI had enough of them. (It's only a year older than WoW and has almost double the expansions)

cursedseishi:

Korten12:
I don't know about this... It feels like they're saying:
"We shall regain your trust! Now give us some monies first!"

But that just may be me.

I'd say it is just you.

They pretty much kicked all the original FF14 devs off the game, brought in their "A-Team" so to speak, and then offered the game at essentially a "buy to play" price for the better part of a year or two while updating and seeing if they could fix it before saying we'll just rework the entire dang thing.

It couldn't of been cheap to develop (it IS a FF game after all), and the fact they allowed people to play for nothing more than the initial box price for most of the game's actual retail life, definitely was a way to keep up player trust. At least, it was a smart move on their part to admit they screwed up and smarter PR to dump the subscription for the time being.
Players could still buy the game, and had no reason not to really if they were at all interested (seeing as it dropped the monthly costs) since they'd also get this newer version free as well.

1) I'm pretty confident SE doesn't have an A-Team anymore. Not judging by the quality of their last 5 years of games.
2) They HAD to take the subscription off to get anyone to even use the servers. They even stated themselves, laughably as if it were something to be proud of, that they kept a 30k playerbase. For point of reference, a lot of Ragnarok Online private servers boast that population. And those servers are illegal.
3) It was likely a ploy to get people to buy more of the boxed copies of FFXIV, as a destroy order had been sent out to eliminate all copies after last week.

The biggest problem with the whole "Realm Reborn" fiasco is twofold. First off, you have to BUY THE GAME AGAIN. I can't stress that enough. People that got suckered into FFXIV the first time will have to pay out another $60 for this 'new' game. Secondly, the manifest SE released on what would be changed did not fill most of us with any hope. The first thing on their list to change? The graphics. The one part of the game that I couldn't bash. The game looked fine, hell, it still looked probably as good as GW2 does right now, and it's only a month old. The list was a giant proof of the statement "We don't get why this failed so bad," that most of the people that bought or tried FFXIV believed.

And before anyone asks, yes, I did play it. I was in the beta, trying to post what was wrong on their forums so they'd do something about it, which they didn't. And I picked up a copy for $5 a month before GW2 came out to see if they had changed anything. Which they really hadn't done shit.

The best way out of a situation is often not to be in that situation to begin with.

Ehhh...I don't know how I feel about it. As a customer, I would expect to be able to play for free after they've fucked up. You know, to repay those customers who already spent their money on their broken game. But they won't budge.

But I can see their point. You need money in order to make money. And they need as much money as possible to fix the game. So it's a never ending circle.

However, I'll probably won't buy it unless I hear it's just as good as 11. Nay, BETTER than 11. Because, ya know, that's the point of releasing 14 even though 11 is still pretty popular. Or so I'd think.

Also, Square-Enix needs to regain my trust through other methods other than fixing FF14.

I am probably going to give this game another chance. Just let me level up to max level by myself and I'll play with other players, I promise.

Sylveria:
How does microtransactions make the company beholden to others? Does some other company hold the patent on the microtransaction model? There's also no need to restrict content, Yoshida. Many free to play games out there are very successful just selling cosmetics and frills. Of course, Mr. Yoshida farmed out half the games development to hacks in China and released a barely functional game which is taking nearly 2 years to "fix", so I think it is safe to say his decision making is questionable at best.

You misread what the article is saying. Most MMORPG's have investors, who expect to be paid back when the game is released. Linked to that he's saying that the FTP model is a way to raise money quickly... I would guess because it invites an influx of players who start purchasing content early on. I would guess again that these players don't stick around long, just until the next FTP to try comes out. So between the FTP model vs subscription model you're looking at a quick influx of cash with little overall growth vs a slow start financially but potential long term sustainability.

Since Square doesn't have investors to worry about, pressuring the company for their all important return on investment they can be patient and aim for the riskier subscription model, counting on core group of players liking the game enough that they stay around for a few years.

Jennacide:
...you have to BUY THE GAME AGAIN...

No you don't. Any player that has a copy of the original version will be able to upgrade to 2.0 for free. They have stated this on several occasions.

Well, good luck to XIV. I can always respect people owning up to their mistakes.

Personally I'll never play a P2P MMO again. I just can't dedicate myself to one game long enough to justify the expense. Subscription fees just sort of... Died in my book. Hell, they where the reason I never got into MMO games in the first place until my entire family started pitching in for WoW game time cards. Now that it's no longer necessary with extremely solid FTP games around every corner I just can't see myself paying what a company wants me to pay when I can pay what I want to pay.

Anyways, if XIV really can remake itself into something people actually want to play... Well, it'll be impressive. Age Of Conan used to be the old laughingstock but it wiped the mud of its' face and carved out a niche for itself. Of course, even it wasn't THAT bad...

If you're not doing it like GW2 (price model), you're doing it wrong. WoW is still able to operate under the dinosaur model because they snowballed such a huge userbase back when large-scale MMOs were still in their infancy. Now it's the players who can't bear to give up years of dedication that are still playing it. GW2 has the perfect model of making it both easy to leave AND to come back.

Marshall Honorof:
.....without the added burden of a monthly subscription fee.

OK, irrespective of the actual focus of the story, this comment pisses me off. Game journalists whinging on about the subscription fee being a "burden" and constantly questioning whether or not it's necessary give undue validation to the whiny gamers making the same(idiotic) argument, and as such are partially responsible for the wave of shitty nickle&dime F2P microtransaction wallet rapers which now saturate the MMO space.

Do you know how much content I had access to for 9/month when I played SWG? All of it. Do you know how much money I would have to fork out to have access to all the content in a F2P MMO like, for example, Planetside 2? Several years worth of subscription fees, except now I would have to pay that money up front. I didn't have to pay 2.50 when I tired of my character's look and wanted a black jacket instead of a red one, I didn't have to fork over 5 for a new weapon, I just played and enjoyed the game.

If the cost of two bottles of beer in a pub is a "burden" for someone, then videogames should be the least of their worries.

This grumpy rant from a 70 year old man in a 27 year old's body has been brought to you by Downloadable Content, the other thing that was supposed to be better for gamers than the old system and has in fact turned out to be an exercise in naked corporate greed.

No way in hell without a demo this time.

Formica Archonis:
Random thoughts:

Well, after all the free months they were throwing at people the original was almost Free-to-Play as it was....

So, what's the plot of this one gonna be? A dragon burns the world to death and then builds an auction house for no reason?

Aren't people still playing #11?

yes we are.

Plenty of people on XI still, but the prospect of starting over again in a new world with wtf graphics and being a "noob" again seems fun. I'll likely give it a shot, at least until the next XI expansion comes out (already in development and scheduled for next year as well.)

I agree with the overall sentimentality that it's nice to see a developer actually try to repair damage to it's name rather than just bury the game in obscurity and pretend it never happened.

You know, the subscription model does not really impact profitability (that statement is supported by stats) short-term (though a larger player base can lead to a more profitable game long-term).

However, making a good game does. Try starting with that, Square.

So they want to regain our trust by not going free to play? They also don't want to go free to play because they don't have to pay back investors and FTP would generate a lot of money quickly and they don't want to do that?

Sounds like a load of BS.

No one is gaining my trust when they mention subscriptions. For anyone who says you can't have a good free-to-play without restricting content, I point you to League of Legends http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_Legends

It is also the most played PC game in the world. I would call that successful.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngaudiosi/2012/07/11/riot-games-league-of-legends-officially-becomes-most-played-pc-game-in-the-world/

^I saw your comment after I posted this, so i thought I would make an edit to draw your attention to this.

Magichead:

Marshall Honorof:
.....without the added burden of a monthly subscription fee.

OK, irrespective of the actual focus of the story, this comment pisses me off. Game journalists whinging on about the subscription fee being a "burden" and constantly questioning whether or not it's necessary give undue validation to the whiny gamers making the same(idiotic) argument, and as such are partially responsible for the wave of shitty nickle&dime F2P microtransaction wallet rapers which now saturate the MMO space.

Do you know how much content I had access to for 9/month when I played SWG? All of it. Do you know how much money I would have to fork out to have access to all the content in a F2P MMO like, for example, Planetside 2? Several years worth of subscription fees, except now I would have to pay that money up front. I didn't have to pay 2.50 when I tired of my character's look and wanted a black jacket instead of a red one, I didn't have to fork over 5 for a new weapon, I just played and enjoyed the game.

If the cost of two bottles of beer in a pub is a "burden" for someone, then videogames should be the least of their worries.

This grumpy rant from a 70 year old man in a 27 year old's body has been brought to you by Downloadable Content, the other thing that was supposed to be better for gamers than the old system and has in fact turned out to be an exercise in naked corporate greed.

*Checks their website* Ooooo they're bringing back classes. My favourites aren't really in there but still... Nothing says final fantasy like dragoons and summoners.

oldtaku:
No way in hell without a demo this time.

Odds are almost entirely against demos helping sales.

I'd be surprised if Square didn't pitch a free week's game time sort of project, but that's not exactly a demo.

Asking for a monthly subscription lets Square market a completely different game than if it was a freemium game.

Still, the real question folks developing MMORPGs need to be asking is how they can put the community back in it, and how they can put the RPG back in it. Ever since WoW everyone's suddenly got it in their heads that levels, classes, and gear means you're playing an RPG.

Are they calling the races by their 'proper' names yet? That's the sole reason I didn't give FFXIV a try. It may seem petty, but damned if I call a Galka anything but a Galka after ten years in Vana'diel.

How is F2P "restricting" content? Plenty of MMOs that have gone F2P have included 100% of the content available to everyone at any time. Lineage 2 is currently one of those games I'm playing that ditched the subscription fee and puts zero barriers between you and the rest of the game. Guild Wars 2 is obviously a quality F2P title. Star Wars: Old Republic's F2P option is appreciated by many.

Can we cut the BS out and jump straight to the real reason? FF14 needs subscriptions to offset the millions wasted on it already. They're banking on a few, but loyal, people to fork over monthly fees over the long-term to eventually balance out all their prior wasteful spending, and they're too proud to admit that F2P is a viable model of MMO now. There is NO Square Enix MMO that has gone F2P, and they are not about to do so for the customer's benefit at this point. These are the same people charging $30 for 10 year old ports of their games on iPhone, after all.

Frankly, I think that's a mistake. FF14, despite their admittedly heroic attempts to fix it, still has the stench of failure around it and the stigma of upsetting millions of fans with a crappy game. Two years later, asking people to literally PAY to find out if it still sucks isn't going to make a lot of people happy. A few will take the plunge, and they may even enjoy it...

... But it would be like if Bioware asked me to pay $20 to see if the Extended Cut of Mass Effect 3 still sucked. If it's free, sure, I'll try it out and maybe even walk away impressed. But it's going to take more than that to make me pay them another cent, and FF14 has nearly two years of bad press, irate gamers, and broken promises bogging down the relaunch.

The relaunch could be great... but I'm not about to pay $15 to see if one of the worst games ever has miraculous become worthy of supporting. ESPECIALLY not when so many other superior games are sharing shelf space with it and don't have monthly subscription fees to get between me and the game.

For those that never played the game before, will you really pay $60-75 to see if the game everyone told you was awful has stopped sucking?

 

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