SE: FF XIV staying subscription based to fulfil promises, not in a hurry to get $$$

#1
http://www.vg247.com/2012/11/19/fin...ptions-to-regain-trust-of-fans-says-director/

Yoshida replied, “The main reason why we haven’t decided to take the free-to-play option is that, at the game’s original launch, it didn’t live up to expectations and it let down a lot of fans. We lost the trust of fans who had followed us across our 25-year history. We want to regain that trust and to deliver on past promises."

“One of the promises we originally stated was that we would release the game with a subscription model. Players will be able to play it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days in the year if they paid a subscription fee."

“So to regain the trust of our players we must of course fulfil this promise. Right now we believe that to be more important than any kind of business decision.”
Mod Edit: There was some confusion about a mistranslate(?) earlier in the article but it has since been fixed.

“The last thing is that our aim is to make an MMO,” Yoshida continued, “and a lot of companies do their development for MMOs by getting money from investors. Then the investors want their money back, so if the game doesn’t make enough money or doesn’t have enough users, then what do we do?

“We’d have to pay our investors back, and free-to-play is an option to get that money back to investors quickly. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a product that is independent to Square-Enix. All of the money’s coming from us, so we had more time to put it into what we wanted to do. We’re not in a rush to pay anyone back.”
VG247 said:
Dave Cook
19/11/12, 3:16 pm

@12 Yeah that does make sense. At any rate it’s been edited out. That’s how it was said on the recording, although it was a translated chat, and in this context it’s wrong.
It looks like Square Enix is defiant to the very end.
 

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#3
Going F2P would change things though, because of course F2P isn't ever really "free" its just a method of hiding costs from the user in order to get them to spend the equivalent or more money long-term.

And let's face it, after all this time it would undermine the whole "face-saving" part of the exercise of rebuilding FFXIV from scratch as long-term players would see the least benefit out of the change.
 
#6
“One of the promises we originally stated was that we would release the game with a subscription model. Players will be able to play it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days in the year if they paid a subscription fee."
They can also do that when the game is F2P. You know "F" stands for "Free".

We’re not in a rush to pay anyone back.
Wonderful position from a stock-listed company.
 
#7
F2P or subscription-less MMORPGs often doesn't work out very well. GW2 is about the only successful example I can think of. Most games are super heavy into pay to win, since SE is still trying to fix a lot of previous problems, it may be best they don't enter this territory and screw it up.

I've always thought $15 a month for an MMO seemed fine, if I was motivated or enjoyed playing it for at least 15-20 hours a month. We shall see if FFXIV manages this.

I think the '24 hours a day' reference is to stuff like Dragon Quest X, where for free you can play like 2 hours a day or something.

Edit: Edited first statement for clarity.
 
#9
I would rather pay a subscription than have Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn be free-to-play. It's not that I think all free-to-play models are bad, I'm just not convinced that Square Enix will do something different than the mortifying way Star Wars: The Old Republic did it.
 
#11
F2P or subscription-less often doesn't work out very well. GW2 is about the only successful example I can think of. Most games are super heavy into pay to win, since SE is still trying to fix a lot of previous problems, it may be best they don't enter this territory and screw it up.
Hello? World of Tanks, League of Legends, HoN, countless other 2nd tier F2P games making lots of money?
 
#12
I'm am perfectly fine with this.
It would have been a nightmare to compartmentalize this game for a F2P transition.
The roadmap does show that they will offer a fairly lengthy trial period for ARR.
 
#13
There's pretty much zero chance anyone in my group will touch this with a subscription fee, and several of them are huge FF fans, some of who played it before.

If they play an MMO, they play GW2, and there are a ton of other really good f2p games on the PC now as well.

I don't think this is commercial suicide, but I also don't think it's a great idea. Japan is behind in the online space, and this is yet another example of why.
 

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#14
There's also the question of what would happen to FFXI if its successor became F2P.

FFXI could never go F2P without major changes that would alienate their long term fans.
 
#19
Errrrr. I think there was a transcription error in their interview text. If you read what it entire statement at the end said, it seems the "not" should not be there:

“The last thing is that our aim is to make an MMO,” Yoshida continued, “and a lot of companies do their development for MMOs by getting money from investors. Then the investors want their money back, so if the game doesn’t make enough money or doesn’t have enough users, then what do we do?

“We’d have to pay our investors back, and free-to-play is not an option to get that money back to investors quickly. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a product that is independent to Square-Enix. All of the money’s coming from us, so we had more time to put it into what we wanted to do. We’re not in a rush to pay anyone back.”
What he's saying here is that other MMOs have investors, and when the game fails to make enough money or drops in userbase, they have to turn to free-to-pay to get money back for investors quickly. But there are no "investors" for FFXIV, and it's entirely funded by S-E, so they don't care if it takes longer to build up a userbase and get returns using a subscription model.

It has to be a typo, or the entire statement makes no sense. :p
 
#20
Errrrr. I think there was a transcription error in their interview text. If you read what it entire statement at the end said, it seems the "not" should be there:



What he's saying here is that other MMOs have investors, and when the game fails to make enough money or drops in userbase, they have to turn to free-to-pay to get money back for investors quickly. But there are no "investors" for FFXIV, and it's entirely funded by S-E, so they don't care if it takes longer to build up a userbase and get returns using a subscription model.

It has to be a typo, or the entire statement makes no sense. :p
you are probably right... it makes much more sense that way...
 
#23
They cost a fraction of ff14 though. I am pretty sure the sum of all their development costs will still be a fraction of ff14.
The point is to maximize revenue. There is no evidence that the subscription model brings in more revenue than the F2P model at this time. In fact, the F2P model has saved struggling products in the past, due to an influx of new users - and it would be easy to characterize this title as a 'struggling product.'

I'm not saying that they must take it F2P, but the assumption that subscriptions are inherently better at generating revenue is simply wrong.
 
#25
What he's saying here is that other MMOs have investors, and when the game fails to make enough money or drops in userbase, they have to turn to free-to-pay to get money back for investors quickly. But there are no "investors" for FFXIV, and it's entirely funded by S-E, so they don't care if it takes longer to build up a userbase and get returns using a subscription model.
This still doesn't make sense and goes against common business thinking. S-E is a stock-listed company, their goal is to make a return on invested money. Investors are involved in everything S-E does as their money is investors' money! Unless Wada and others are giving their personal cash, which they are not.

As an investor I would be very worried by this attitude among the management.
 
#26
This still doesn't make sense and goes against common business thinking. S-E is a stock-listed company, their goal is to make a return on invested money. Investors are involved in everything S-E does as their money is investors' money! Unless Wada and others are giving their personal cash, which they are not.

As an investor I would be very worried by this attitude among the management.
And according to Square Enix, as an investor you can fuck off: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6325/fixing_final_fantasy_xiv_the_.php

NY: One of the reasons I believe that it's very hard to recover from a bad launch is that with many Western MMOs, because the teams are so large and they require such a large budget -- because of all the assets and all the things they have to make -- a lot of those projects rely on investment, and it can't be done by a single company alone. So, that's why if you fail, then you fail.

And then when a game, like a large Western MMO, has a large launch and it fails, then the investors start to pull back. Then the money stops flowing. And when the money stops flowing, the development teams have to make their development team sizes smaller, which means they can't get enough content for the fixes, or they have to go to a different payment model like free-to-play.

Basically the control of the development is crushed. They want to change it, they want to start over, but it's prevented by that lack of the budget.

On the other hand, with FFXIV, operations and development are all funded 100 percent by Square Enix, so as long as we decide to continue backing the project and we don't give up, we can continue to provide things to the players, see what they want, then go back and retry things, redo things. Basically, it comes up to us. We're not at the strings of the investors.
 
#27
This is mind-boggling:

On the other hand, with FFXIV, operations and development are all funded 100 percent by Square Enix, so as long as we decide to continue backing the project and we don't give up, we can continue to provide things to the players, see what they want, then go back and retry things, redo things. Basically, it comes up to us. We're not at the strings of the investors.
They don't seem to understand what kind of company they are. There is no such things as "funded 100 percent by S-E" since S-E is funded 100 percent by investors' money!

Then again lol Olympus. Shows how much Japan care about proper governance.
 
#28
It's worth pointing out that when I interviewed Yoshida a few months back he did indicate he was looking at other revenue models for the future but sub was the thing at least initially for FF14 2.0. Can't fish the link now as I'm on my phone, but the comment is out there.
 
#36
Uh.

So what he is saying is "I'm sorry that we disappointed you before lol. But since our initial promise was 'you shall pay your money to enjoy our games', we will stick to that promise."

OK.
 
#39
It's worth pointing out that when I interviewed Yoshida a few months back he did indicate he was looking at other revenue models for the future but sub was the thing at least initially for FF14 2.0. Can't fish the link now as I'm on my phone, but the comment is out there.
This and the responses from the community reps on the Official Forums never specifically rule out alternative business models in the future when asked about F2P. Only that the game will be subscription based at launch, and other opportunities might be considered down the road.
 

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#41
Castor Krieg said:
They don't seem to understand what kind of company they are. There is no such things as "funded 100 percent by S-E" since S-E is funded 100 percent by investors' money!
The point is that someone who invests in SE stock, is investing in them as a publishing and development enterprise, not as a stand-alone investment opportunity that relies on the performance of a single product.

They can make their case to their investors that the business plan they have in mind for FFXIV is in the best interests in the FF franchise as a whole, their public image as a company, and even then, its just a single title on a much larger slate of potentially profit-earning endeavours.
 
#42
The point is that someone who invests in SE stock, is investing in them as a publishing and development enterprise, not as a stand-alone investment opportunity that relies on the performance of a single product.

They can make their case to their investors that the business plan they have in mind for FFXIV is in the best interests in the FF franchise as a whole, their public image as a company, and even then, its just a single title on a much larger slate of potentially profit-earning endeavours.
They don't seem to be doing a great job convincing investors.

 
#43
The point is that someone who invests in SE stock, is investing in them as a publishing and development enterprise, not as a stand-alone investment opportunity that relies on the performance of a single product.

They can make their case to their investors that the business plan they have in mind for FFXIV is in the best interests in the FF franchise as a whole, their public image as a company, and even then, its just a single title on a much larger slate of potentially profit-earning endeavours.
This is a fair point. That said, FF XIV's development and support costs likely comprise a pretty decent percentage of SE's total expenditures over the last several years - not to mention the fact that the negative publicity attached to it has also eroded the stock's value.

So yes, I would be surprised if investors didn't consider such a comment pretty damned lackluster in the big scheme of things.
 
#47
No. F2P has plenty of negative connotations. Non-MMO gamers just see 'free > pay'.
While hardcore FFXI players will give it a chance I'm not sure many people in the mainstream would love to go back and pay for the remake of one of the biggest disasters in online gaming history.
 
#49
I can't stand F2P. It's just awful. If the game had a cash shop that sold different skins for the characters that do absolutely *nothing*, no buffs, no additional skills, nothing, just textures and color, it's ok I guess.

But games that give an advantage, however slight, have a fundamentally broken model as the incentive to keep playing suffers from the fact that you can simply buy stuff to make it easier, or just buy whatever "stuff" it may be, even if you don't plan to -- it's still there.

I was a bit interested in TOR as well and then i found out one of the F2P limitations are missing actions bars...

action bars

yeah, no thanks.
Why would anyone want to play it like that?
 
#50
This is mind-boggling:



They don't seem to understand what kind of company they are. There is no such things as "funded 100 percent by S-E" since S-E is funded 100 percent by investors' money!

Then again lol Olympus. Shows how much Japan care about proper governance.
Excuse me?

If SE wnet public years and years ago. That money is used and spent. What money have they gotten from the public investors since unless they sell bonds? Everything since would be earnings from games and the other stuff they sell. And yes I understand that they need to protect the shareholder price etc, but it's nice that they're looking past that and trying to ensure the best possible product gets delivered.