Square Enix’s MMOs Total Under 1 Million Subscribers, 2015 Plans
Polygon has clarified that this information was based off of Square Enix's annual report published last year. We apologize for the error.
Despite how well you think Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Dragon Quest X are doing, let's just say World of Warcraft is still beating them in terms of subscriptions, by a lot.
According to Polygon, Square Enix has released its 2014 Annual Report, and some surprising facts were revealed with regard to its three main MMORPG titles: Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Dragon Quest X. Ever since it debuted for the Wii in 2012 (and moved on to Wii U, PC, 3DS and Android), Dragon Quest X has yet to have any kind of release outside of Japan. Unfortunately, the Dragon Quest series has been overshadowed by the Final Fantasy series in the West, which plays a big role as to why DQX was never released outside of Japan. Final Fantasy XI launched in 2002 and has experienced tremendous declines in its subscriptions over the years, especially as more and more MMORPGs started to hit the market.
The final nail in the coffin for Final Fantasy XI came from Square Enix itself, when Final Fantasy XIV launched in late 2010. A large percentage of FFXI's remaining players moved on to Final Fantasy XIV in the years that followed out of sheer dedication to the franchise. Due to the overwhelming negative reception to the original version of FFXIV, Square Enix shut the MMORPG down and rebuilt it from the ground-up as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which launched in late 2013. Despite the fluctuating populations and the hardcore fan bases of all three of these MMORPGs, one alarming fact by Square Enix stands out the most -- the current, paid subscription bases of FFXI, FFXIV and DQX do not even add up to one million combined players.
"Three major MMO titles - Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn which began operation last August, Dragon Quest 10, which was launched in August 2012, and Final Fantasy 11, which has entered its thirteenth year of operation-maintain nearly 1,000,000 paying subscribers all together, and have established a solid revenue base," said Square Enix President and Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda.
To put things into perspective, World of Warcraft's subscriptions peaked over the 10 million mark this past November thanks to its new Warlords of Draenor expansion.
Matsuda claims that 2015 will be chopped up into three big sections, with the first part focusing on large-scale/long-term developing and ironing out the things wrong with Square Enix's disc-based model of gaming. Another section will be dedicated to applying varied pricing models, such as F2P games, when needed. Could Final Fantasy XV's possibly subscription-based multiplayer project be a part of this approach?
Of course, a major focus of Square Enix will be on the smartphone/tablet market, which it's starting to see success with due to its ports of the Final Fantasy series and its mobile-specific games. Lastly, Square Enix hopes to focus on the trends in the industry. With crowd-funding and a recent trend on low-cost titles becoming hits, Square Enix believes that gaming's markets "have created an ecosystem in which large-scale funding is no longer necessary."
Large-scale projects still are necessary, Square Enix. We just like a little variety from time to time. Just because Shovel Knight and Minecraft have become hits doesn't mean the market has to follow them. Nevertheless, we can't wait to see what 2015 brings for Square Enix.
Square Enix can summon Eidolons, just not subscribers.