Final Fantasy XIV briefly had to contend with the Western servers being full, and had a waiting list for the Complete Edition.
Massively Overpowered reports that on July 12th, the game’s Complete Edition was putting potential customers on a waiting list. Based on discussions on the game’s official subReddit, this may have happened as early as July 11th [1, 2, 3].
What’s more, late July 11th saw the game’s North American servers almost completely full; preventing new characters from being made. At least one subReddit thread notes the same issue on July 7th, with another user noting there had been a massive influx of new players.
UPDATE: Based on discussion on Twitter, the issue may also have occurred on European servers on July 13th. At the time of publication, the above issues were resolved.
What could have caused this sudden surge in interest? In recent news, Final Fantasy XIV broke its Steam concurrent players record with over 47,000; after World of Warcraft streamer Asmongold tried the game. Having continued to play the game on Twitch (starting July 3rd), his streams have had an average 1.85 million views; with his first two streams and subsequent VODs reaching 2.7 million and 2.1 million views.
While those livestreams did feature other video games being played (and more than a few stream snipers), it seems Asmongold has been enjoying his time with Final Fantasy XIV. Combined with his previous grievances with World of Warcraft, it is possible other dissatisfied players have jumped ship. Those who were not keen to play MMOs may also have gained new interest when comparing the two.
Those who had grievances with World of Warcraft may have been further motivated by Blizzard Entertainment’s Adam Holisky (Lead Product Manager, Data). Dexerto reports that after a streamer discussed how Asmongold’s “kind of hatred and rudeness is not welcome,” Holisky replied in a now deleted tweet “That guy is an asshole.”
Dexerto proposes that “all the complaining he’s done about World of Warcraft and Blizzard titles in general over the years has taken a toll on how the devs perceive him.” Asmongold took it in his stride however. “I don’t care, I talk shit about them all the time,” Asmongold tweeted. “I’m a big boy, I can handle it, I don’t need people harassing them to defend my honor.”
Does Blizzard Entertainment have a reason to fear Final Fantasy XIV, and one of the most popular World of Warcraft streamers having fun with it? Activision Blizzard’s Q1 2021 financial report revealed that monthly active users (MAU) in Blizzard Entertainment games had fallen to 27 million that fiscal quarter; a 29% drop over three years.
It should be noted the above figure would include games other than World of Warcraft. In addition, other factors may have contributed to this, such as past controversial decisions by Blizzard Entertainment.
Meanwhile, Final Fantasy XIV is almost a rags-to-riches story. The game was poorly received on its 2010 launch, leading to it being re-launched as A Realm Reborn in 2013; with producer Naoki Yoshida taking on the director role. A Realm Reborn took place 5 years after the events of the original game; where the land was slowly rebuilding after a brutal war and Bahamut devastated the land.
MMO Population- utilizing API tools, Reddit, and other resources to calculate player and active player numbers- proposed that Final Fantasy XIV has an estimated 2.49 million active players. This would be 30,000 more than their estimation for World of Warcraft (assuming both figures are accurate).
Officially, Final Fantasy XIV reached over 22 million registered players worldwide in April 2021. This would also include players who registered for the game’s free trial.
Square Enix recently launched the benchmark for the Endwalker expansion. This allows players to not only test how well the game will run on their PC, but also use the game’s character creator. The latter will provide players with a small taste of the upcoming Male Viera race.
Final Fantasy XIV is available to Windows PC, (via the SE Store, and Steam), PlayStation 4, and coming soon to PlayStation 5, and Xbox One. A free trial is available, including the base game and the first expansion with some limitations. In case you missed it, you can find our Shadowbringers expansion review here (we can’t recommend it enough!)
The next expansion; Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, launches November 23rd.
Image: Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker official website