In 2013 I had the opportunity to fly to Japan and talk to Final Fantasy 14 Game Director Yoshi-P. There was one question I wanted to know – when would Final Fantasy 14 come to the Xbox? It’s a question that I, and every Final Fantasy 14 fan, wouldn’t know the answer to for another decade.
Final Fantasy 14 coming to Xbox marks the end that a long-lingering question. In 2013 Yoshi-P answered saying a Microsoft cross-play policy – that meant Xbox users would require their own server and therefore couldn’t play with the wider community – ended the hopes of Xbox players enjoying the game. "Community is very important for an MMO, and as Xbox Live is a closed network it means those playing on Xbox 360 or Xbox One can't play with others on different platforms,” “I don't think this is ideal for an MMO, and that's the biggest reason we haven't brought the game to Xbox platforms."
Years later, Xbox fans like myself will soon be able to experience the game on their preferred console for ths first time. Xbox Wire clarifies it’ll bring Final Fantasy 14 to the console with an expanded free trial allowing you to play the first three expansions (A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, and Stormblood) up to level 70 with no restrictions on playtime. That’s at least 100+ hours of content to sink your teeth into as a new player. It’ll be amazing to see it come to one more platform.
Enjoyed being onstage with Yoshi-P and Kiryu-san to announce Final Fantasy XIV coming to Xbox. We’re thrilled that the Xbox community will join the Warriors of Light and we look forward to partnering closely with Square Enix on future games. pic.twitter.com/zq0ETkDFq1— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) July 28, 2023
Back in 2013, the fact a game of this scale worked across PS3, PS4, and PC was a core reason it had one of the best communities in the history of gaming. I used to play it with Greg, myself on PC while he was on PS3, and while we were on different platforms, we found an incredibly welcoming playerbase that helped us along the way, and many of them hoped Xbox players could someday get in on the fun.
The lack of Xbox support was a topic that continued to gather momentum and in 2015, when we asked Phil Spencer for an update, he chalked the lack of Final Fantasy goodness up to “business” and platform exclusivity: "As I've grown in this role, and I've tried to learn the third-party exclusivity thing - and you see us doing less of it now - [I've found] it's not something I'm a huge fan of.
At E3 2016, it looked like Xbox had a change of heart about crossplay, promising that anyone willing to let their games be played across platforms could do so
"Different kinds of deals happen, and I know that's part of this business – and maybe it'll be my failing in the end – but it's not something I specifically embrace with any deal that's out there."
A year later, at E3 2016, it looked like Xbox had a change of heart about crossplay, promising that anyone willing to let their games be played across platforms could do so. This begged the question once again - would Final Fantasy 14 finally make it to Xbox? In an interview with Polygon, Yoshida gave the faintest glimmer of hope: "Microsoft actually approached the Final Fantasy 14 team about the cross-platform opportunity When our team reviewed the regulations that are associated with that, we realized that Microsoft may not have the experience or understanding of running an MMORPG as an online game genre just yet. The Final Fantasy 14 team has fed back to Microsoft that there are certain elements of its regulations that we would have to consider waived. We're waiting on Microsoft's response for that, but we are having discussions."
The following year, Yoshida again teased a possible release on Xbox (and Nintendo Switch), saying, “Conversations have been had with Mr. Phil Spencer of Microsoft, and the upper management teams of Nintendo.”, but similar issues with cross-play kept cropping up. For Yoshida, community – no matter how big or small – was everything and needed to be looked after, and closed-platforms prevented the team from making the best experience possible.
In 2019, all the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ became a solid promise – that Final Fantasy 14 would come to Xbox… someday. "The astute people out there might have noticed there's one Final Fantasy that's missing in our list: number 14,” Phil Spencer told Eurogamer. “14 is one I've been dedicated to, working with [director] Yoshida-san to find a solution to bring that game to Xbox. And while it's not in the news today, I wanted you to know, rest assured, that we will be bringing that game to Xbox.”
A few months later, Yoshi-P explained why things were taking so long: “If we had made an FPS game, then we would already have crossplay. One of the regulations is that players with different platforms cannot chat with each other in-game. Then how do you play an MMO? The other regulation is you cannot make a community with players on a different platform. You can’t form a guild. So I would like to have Microsoft change their regulations.”
Right now Square Enix is happy, Phil is happy, and more importantly fans are happy, and a beloved MMO just got a bunch of new players to join in.
After another update in 2020, in which Yoshi-P commended Xbox’s persistence (“Phil is very dedicated in his support for FFXIV, and I truly appreciate his efforts”), the game director said that, finally, Final Fantasy 14 was coming to Xbox. “There are no obstacles for developing the Xbox version”, he said in an interview with VG247. “We were able to undertake development and provide our service thanks to the immense efforts that Phil has invested.” That said, he admitted it wouldn’t happen immediately, and that the development team was working on the PS5 version of Endwalker and that the focus would switch to Xbox afterwards.
Now, after a 10 year wait, it’s happening. And judging by the reaction from communities across the globe, people are hyped!
For me, there’s another important takeaway here. While I was on the sidelines watching this story unfold for the last decade, Phil Spencer and Yoshi-P were regularly working behind the scenes to make it a reality. It’s a huge victory for Spencer to see this thing through, and likely a massive undertaking on the Microsoft side to adapt their policies to allow it. Maybe someday Xbox will give us a peek behind the curtain and let us know what it took to make that happen. But right now Square Enix is happy, Phil is happy, and more importantly fans are happy, and a beloved MMO just got a bunch of new players to join in.
In hindsight, I wonder if any of the hold-up was to do with recently revealed documents shared during the Activision hearing, where we discovered that Microsoft was in talks to purchase Square Enix, which were then put on hold. But this week’s FF14 reveal did have a promising footnote that I’m sure all Xbox fans will be excited by, when Square CEO Takashi Kiryu confirmed, “Wherever possible we're planning to bring our games to Xbox for players around the world to enjoy.” Here’s hoping that means Final Fantasy 7: Remake and Final Fantasy 16 don’t take 10 years to come to Xbox.
Destin Legarie is a Director of Content Strategy at IGN. He is really bad at Baldur's Gate 3 combat but can't stop playing it anyway. You can follow him on Twitter if you want.
Xbox Wire clarifies it'll bring Final Fantasy 14 to the console with an expanded free trial allowing you to play the first three expansions (A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, and Stormblood) up to level 70 with no restrictions on playtime.Is Final Fantasy 14 worth it? ›
So is Final Fantasy 14 worth playing in 2023? Yes! The game has continuously evolved and improved. Its compelling story, diverse gameplay mechanics, and rewarding endgame content set it apart from other modern MMORPGs.Why is Final Fantasy 14 so popular? ›
However, FFXIV has its distinctive features and virtues, which is why the game has gained a lot of fans around the world. According to many players, this game is considered the best Japanese RPG. All thanks to the exciting plot, original characters, as well as unique setting.Will Final Fantasy 15 come to Xbox? ›
Buy FINAL FANTASY XV ROYAL EDITION | Xbox.Will Final Fantasy 16 ever be on Xbox? ›
Unfortunately, no. Final Fantasy 16 is designed for the PlayStation 5, not the Xbox Series X/S. Many Final Fantasy games are available on Xbox One, which can then be played on Xbox Series X/S, but unfortunately, it won't be on any other consoles.Will Final Fantasy 14 shut down? ›
That's both true in the sense that the land of Eorzea was raked with the almighty megaflare of one of Final Fantasy's most powerful beings, the dragon Bahamut, and that developer Square Enix shut down the servers of its troubled MMORPG for good.Is Final Fantasy 14 on console good? ›
It's a brilliant game all around with a friendly community. It has a perfect balance between a compelling story and MMO elements. Here's why you should play FFXIV: If you are on PS4 and have a friend playing on PC, you both can play and have fun together.Does Final Fantasy 14 still have a monthly fee? ›
As an MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV does have a monthly cost alongside its paid expansions, but there are some ways to circumvent the subscription fee. So, check out the rest of this guide below to find how much FFXIV costs a month.Is Final Fantasy 14 noob friendly? ›
Honestly, super friendly. Many parts of the story require you to queue for dungeons and the like which you should have no problem with. Give it a go, it's a good time to get into the game right now.Is FF14 losing popularity? ›
No, the game is not dying. I've seen multiple reports recently and also some threads here in this sub with titles like "FF14 should face the Reaper soon" or "There aren't many players online".
Final Fantasy XIV is now the most profitable game in the series' history. The news was shared by the MMO's producer and director Naoki Yoshida during the media tour for Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, where he also confirmed that the game has hit 24million registered players worldwide.What consoles is Final Fantasy 14 on? ›
Final Fantasy XIV is currently available on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. There's also a very large free trial of the game that allows you to play through the base game and the Heavensward expansion (and they're expanding that to include the Stormblood expansion as well).Is Final Fantasy 14 free on console? ›
System Requirements. You can play FINAL FANTASY XIV up to level 60 for free. Characters, and their associated data, that you create in the Free Trial can be carried over to the full game.Is Final Fantasy 14 online on console? ›
FINAL FANTASY® XIV Online - PlayStation®5 Version
The FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Complete Edition, Starter Edition and the Shadowbringers expansion pack are now available on PlayStation®Store for the PlayStation 5 console.
So, does Final Fantasy 14 have cross-platform play? Yes.