Final Fantasy XIV Producer and Director, Naoki Yoshida, announced the surprising news on December 15th that in the wake of server congestion and prolonged playtime by current players, the Starter Edition and Complete Edition of the game would be temporarily removed from sale. Free Trial sign-ups have also been disabled and login priority has been given to allow paying subscribers easier access to the game and its Endwalker expansion which launched on December 7th. Nearly a week after the suspension, the base game remains unavailable for new players with Yoshida’s announcement still standing as the latest word from Square Enix on the situation.
Players are currently experiencing extremely long wait times due to the dense concentration of play hours which far exceed our server capacity, especially during the peak times, and so we have decided to temporarily suspend the sale and delivery of FINAL FANTASY XIV Starter Edition and Complete Edition. Additionally, although those with an active subscription are prioritized to log in, Free Trial players are unable to log in outside of late night and early morning hours, and so we will also temporarily suspend new registrations for the Free Trial.
These temporary suspensions will be phased in over the next few days as we work with our retail partners. We will be coordinating with them as swiftly as possible, but please bear in mind that this will be a gradual process.
We will also be suspending all new advertisements. However, it will not be possible to suspend some of the advertisements due to the nature of how they were set up. We appreciate your patience and understanding regarding this matter.
Expansion packs and Collector’s Edition digital upgrades will continue to be available for existing players so that they may upgrade as needed.
To those who have been invited by their friends and family who have been considering joining, as well as our retail partners, we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and ask for your understanding and cooperation in order to reduce congestion. We will continue to monitor the situation as we consider the timing around resuming sales.
The quote is only part of a much longer post addressing the game’s future patch schedules, a delay to Square Enix’s planned data center expansions, and other issues stemming from both the Covid pandemic and increased anticipation for the Endwalker expansion. In business terms it’s one of those “good problems” — with so many players desperately wanting to dive into the new content for hours at a time — but in reality it’s cutting Square Enix off from an untold number of new and lapsed players who may not be as excited to buy after waiting months for things to stabilize.
From our end of things it’s unprecedented to have to report that a game has been delisted because it’s just too dang popular to stay online. It’s definitely a first in Delisted Games history but sadly probably not the last as we move ever forward with always-connected games. Here’s hoping that would-be Final Fantasy XIV players get a chance to actually play the game sooner rather than later. Thanks again to all who pointed out the news over the last hectic week.