Over a decade after its initial release, Square Enix’s MMO Final Fantasy XIV has surpassed 24 million players, producer Naoki Yoshida announced during the latest Endwalker’s media event, according to IGN.
He added that it’s become the most profitable game in the Final Fantasy series, overtaking other MMO game Final Fantasy XI. Released in 2002, Final Fantasy XI was announced as the most profitable game of the license in 2012 and had kept its place since then before being surpassed by Final Fantasy XIV.
Yoshida reportedly said that in 2015, the game totaled four million registered players. After Stormblood’s release in 2017, the player count had more than doubled by reaching 10 million. And now, it’s doubled again.
“Moving forward, we’re going to spare no expense with our investments to ensure that this game continues to be one which our players can enjoy,” Yoshida said.
Following a disastrous launch in 2010, Square Enix entirely reworked FF XIV after hosting an apocalyptic event in the game to mark the end of its initial version. This gave birth to A Realm Reborn, which was then followed by three expansions—Heavensward, Stormblood, and Shadowbringers—that contributed to growing the popularity of the game every two years.
This year, however, the player base grew due to other factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic that caused multiple lockdowns around the world and boosted video game consumption as a whole, as well as the free experience’s expansion to include Heavensward. High-profile MMO streamers like Asmongold also tried out the game following the introduction of an unpopular patch in World of Warcraft.
The latter caused a sudden spark of interest from many people that consequently extended the waiting times and overloaded the Final Fantasy servers. The game hit its concurrent player record on Steam in July. Square Enix reacted to this by promising to add more servers and implementing an AFK timer to kick out inactive players, among other changes. The digital copies of A Realm Reborn were even sold out due to the influx of players.
The game’s player count could increase even more with the release of FF XIV’s next expansion, Endwalker, which is set for launch on Nov. 23 and will bring the current narrative arc to a conclusion.