Final Fantasy 14 is the place to be, apparently!
Final Fantasy XIV is having what you’d call a bit of a moment. The MMO, long thought as one of the gold standards of “fixing your broken release” has risen to become massively popular over the last few years, but for a variety of reasons, the game is currently surging like never before.
Back on July 5, it was reported that Final Fantasy XIV has broken its previous concurrent playercount record on Steam of 41,200 players set in June 2019 with 47,000 players. But what hasn’t really been reported is that the game has been repeatedly breaking that record a couple different times since then. Most notably this past weekend broke the record again in consecutive days with 52,000 players and then 58,000 players.
And around this time, that’s when things started to buckle. At a certain point the past few days, Square Enix actually stopped selling digital codes for PlayStation and PC for Final Fantasy XIV. New players were finding it difficult to even make it through character creation without issue. Others were met with login queues not normally seen outside of a major expansion release.
So, what’s going on? There are a few different theories, some stemming from the game offering longer free trials than usual, but most are centered around the concept of “World of Warcraft” refugees. And much of it attributed to just one man in particular, Asmongold.
Asmongold is a hugely popular World of Warcraft streamer who on July 3, finally started playing Final Fantasy XIV for the first time after many years. The stream averaged something like 150,000 viewers, and while he was mobbed by fans in-game, he pushed through, and has been consistently playing the game since then. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the playercount started surging pretty much exactly that day, the records were broken a short while later, and continue to be broken now.
Asmongold may have been the trigger, but it may be WoW itself driving many players into the arms of an alternative. Blizzard does not release WoW subscription numbers anymore, but as a company, Blizzard has lost 2 million players its last quarter, and in general, Blizzard games are down almost 30% of their players in the last three years. Blizzard maintains WoW is still performing well for them, but we’ll see what next quarter brings, as maybe we can track if this Final Fantasy surge really is driven by a WoW exodus.
Switchovers or not, Asmongold clearly sparked interest in the game, which has snowballed into FFXIV breaking its playercount records by close to 50% at this point. Will next weekend bring even more shattered records? We’ll know soon enough.