Final Fantasy 14 is one of very few massively multiplayer online games in development for console systems. It would seem that a console with a strong online component would be a natural home for Final Fantasy 14 -- a system like the Xbox 360 (which already features a version of the previous FF MMO, Final Fantasy 11). Not so, says Square Enix.
Hiromichi Tanaka, creator and director of Final Fantasy 14, puts it this way:
"The main reason why we couldn't go with Xbox 360 was the Xbox Live system."
"[Live is] different to the normal internet environment, so when we wanted to introduce this game in the same environment as Windows PC it had to be PS3, so that was our choice."
"Microsoft has a different point of view: they want to have a closed environment for Xbox Live. We're still talking to... We couldn't come to an agreement on Xbox Live."
Specifically which parts of Xbox Live's "closed environment" caused problems for Final Fantasy 14 were not discussed.
The situation becomes less clear when considering that Final Fantasy 11 has had a small but dedicated number of Xbox 360 players for the past four years. The Xbox Live environment seems to have been sufficiently open for that game. Somehow, it is difficult not to imagine that the sticking points ultimately boil down to monetary issues.
Xbox Live has long been considered the gold standard of online console services (pun not intended). Should sufficient demand for Final Fantasy 14 on Xbox 360 be demonstrated, it seems likely that Square Enix and Microsoft could come to an agreement.
But is Final Fantasy 14 a game 360 players are clamoring for? Live is absolutely dominated by shooters, as demonstrated by Major Nelson's list of the most played Xbox Live games for the week ending June 14th.
- Modern Warfare 2
- Halo 3
- Red Dead Redemption
- Call of Duty: WaW
- FIFA 10
- Call of Duty 4
- Gears of War 2
- GTA IV
- Battlefield Bad Co. 2
- Transformers : War for Cybertron Multiplayer Demo
The only non-shooter title to make the list is FIFA, which is no doubt reaping the benefits of the 2010 Word Cup. Even well regarded titles with a clear multiplayer focus, like Bizarre Creations' awesome Modern Warfare meets Mario Kart racer Blur, have trouble breaking into the Live top ten. In the end, it's questionable how valuable it is for Microsoft to have Final Fantsy 14 available for Xbox Live.
Ranters, is Final Fantasy 14 a title you want to play on Xbox Live? Are you generally interested in playing massively multiplayer online roll playing games on consoles?
Final Fantasy 14 is scheduled to release on PS3 and PC sometime in 2010.