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FFXIV Xbox Launch Is Welcome, but a Little Too Late

Final Fantasy XIV is an MMORPG that has been associated with the PlayStation series of consoles since its release on PS3 back in 2013. After years of waiting, FFXIV is finally getting its Xbox launch, but it feels like this should’ve happened years ago.

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I still remember FFXIV producer Naoki Yoshida telling me in an interview in 2018 about the team’s desire to bring the game to both the Xbox and Switch. His optimistic comments at the time hinted at the game already being testing for other platforms. Square Enix was just waiting for confirmation from the three major publishers — Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo — for cross-play before an announcement.

Unfortunately, as we all know now, it took almost six years for that announcement to happen. Of course, cross-play has only become prevalent in the last couple of years, which likely helped with this sudden change. Even still, it feels like this should’ve happened years ago. Based on Yoshida’s comments at the time, I expected a launch on Xbox between 2019 and 2020, which honestly makes more sense.

Part of the issue surrounding the FFXIV Xbox launch comes from how long it’s taken. It feels like the time for this release is too late and some of the community members already moved on. After all, by this point in time, if someone wanted to play this MMORPG, they likely already checked it out on the PC, PS3, PS4, or PS5. This is especially true with the permanent free trial version.

Now, a partnership with Square Enix to make FFXIV part of Game Pass would alleviate this issue. Perhaps Game Pass subscribers wouldn’t have to pay the monthly subscription to play the game beyond the free trial. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case, so it feels like another missed opportunity. All there happens to be is a temporary Game Pass Ultimate Perk that gives people the Starter Edition for free for a limited time after launch.

Perhaps the most egregious part of this launch is the fact you do need Game Pass to play the game. This makes almost no sense, since you don’t need PlayStation Plus to enjoy it on PlayStation. As of right now, there is no permanent added bonus for Game Pass subscribers, outside of some early pre-order bonuses, so this requirement feels unnecessary.

Worse still, this timing feels awkward for the long-awaited FFXIV Xbox launch. Dawntrail is in a weird in-between place of being the start of a new story arc for the MMO, while still continuing onward with the characters from the past few expansions. As such, it doesn’t quite make sense for a new player to jump straight into Dawntrail. However, then there is an issue with the overwhelming amount of content before that for players to get through to catch up.

It can take hundreds and hundreds of hours to get through the end of Endwalker alone. As such, it feels like this should’ve happened years ago around or just after Shadowbringer’s launch. That way, players could catch up on one of the greatest expansions in gaming history. At the same time, they could prepare for the future in a slightly more manageable way.

It is hard to say who this Xbox launch is even for. As I mentioned, newcomers may be discouraged by the intense amount of content. The free trial is great for letting players experience a great deal of content, but it can deter given how much there is. And then it is hard for existing players like myself to jump into the game on Xbox. After all, you have to pay for the game separately again on this new platform. This is even the case if you already own it on PC or PlayStation.

Final Fantasy XIV is available right now for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

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Cody Perez
Cody is a writer who has been sharing his love for video games and anime since his high school days in 2012. When he isn’t writing about the latest JRPGs and anime series, he can be found in Final Fantasy XIV, occasionally playing some Call of Duty, or lurking on Twitter @SoulcapCody.