I'd say XI. Even if FFXIV ARR is pretty good, it won't have much more content than the average MMO at launch. Even though I plan on giving it a whirl when 2.0 hits (since supposedly people who bought a copy are supposed to get a free trial) - I really can't see it taking me away from XI in any big way, in the long term at least (though if it is about 10X better than I am expecting it to be, and it doesn't constantly stutter like current version does - I could see it pulling me away from XI until closer to SoA)
True, in its favor:
- It is a complete remake. They did invest in the game and get a motivated team to make the game fast. As noted, that's something most companies don't do with a failed MMO. Maybe it may be fun and have an enthralling world.
(when did they announce the remake? It may have a shorter development time than FFXI, though I wonder if they redid everything
, like the skins on items, monsters, etc?)
- It has stunning graphics (though so did 1.0).
- It has a fair number of FF fans willing to give SE the benefit of the doubt, even beyond those who aren't playing it, those who are waiting for 2.0 (because those playing now are a very small pool).
And going against it:
- History of the MMO genre. No game has bounced back from a huge flop, being shut down and relaunched again.
- Its name. Final Fantasy XIV means failure, biggest bomb ever for many MMO players. SE stuck with the name on their desire to redeem it and save the franchise name from having FFXIV be not the black sheep but the black hole in black sheep's clothing, but this may hurt it among some. They sent mixed messages, claiming the game is being totally recoded from scratch yet they're using the same name. They say the game is different but will use the same name (is that entirely true?). People will see FFXIV ARR and think FFXIV 1.0.
- Expectations. Will the game meet people's expectations. Will it have enough content? Do people expect 2 years worth of content or will they treat it as a brand new game?
- The timing. MMO players are more fickle/less likely to attach to a game than when FFXI came out.
- Subscription. F2P is making it hard for new sub-based games to compete. Old ones like WoW & FFXI still hold on, but for FFXI it was the standard for the old era of MMOs and for WoW, it was that originally and for newcomers, it's basically the entry fee/price to pay for playing the largest MMO in the world.
- Graphics didn't help 1.0. The gameplay and UI is what ruined the game and the world was described as soulless by some (pretty but hollow).
- There are only so many FF fans willing to cross the MMO barrier. FFXI was subject to this. And the same goes for PS3 players who aren't playing MMOs on PC already.
- The bar needing to be reached for revenue. It needs to be a smashing success. Turning out ok numbers isn't enough given how much money it lost.
And something I wonder about is their strategy. In the summer, they were pushing getting the game released in China, a big market. I wonder if they were going to use box sales & subs from China to try and take out a chunk of all those losses. But if you've been following the news lately, you'll notice over a set of islands between China, Japan, and Taiwan, a lot of trouble erupted, basically Kristallnacht for Japanese in China. Smashing businesses, cars and other Japanese items, burning down buildings, huge protests in the streets (in 85 cities, which means widespread
), Japanese factories shutting down and telling Japanese nationals to stay indoors out of fear. Some banners voiced messages of waging war with Japan, occupying Japan, or even outright exterminating all the Japanese.
This went FAR beyond previous protests over these islands or other issues China had with Japan (revisionist textbooks, war shrine memorial visits). If Chinese people are being pulled out of their Japanese cars and having their cars smashed up and set on fire, news photographers having their Japanese cameras taken and destroyed, this may not be a passing storm, there may be lingering anti-Japanese sentiment. FFXIV may not sell well if released into China now (as in now into the near future). I'm not sure feelings that get this intense ever really go away, at least in the timeframe of the next 1-3 years or so.
If you didn't see it... well, the anti-film protests around the Muslim world covered it up and got all the attention (I guess there's only room for 1 angry mob at a time in the news). I get NHK News a few times a day, so I saw it and read it too on Google/Bing news. It was quite disturbing actually from a country that has the capability to act on their anger.
What I'm trying to say is if
China was a big part of their equation for FFXIV profitability, I'm saying that may
have fundamentally changed.
(yeah, for some reason I'm in list mode today)