Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Coming in April, Free for PS3 Owners
If you've been waiting to jump into the critically acclaimed (and fan adored) Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and you happen to have a PlayStation 4, you may consider holding out just a little bit longer.
Already available on PS3 and PC, Final Fantasy XIV will be available on Sony's next-gen console sometime in April, Square Enix has announced. They also announced a PS4 beta will become available February 22 in North American and Japan.
Might As Well Give It Away for Free
If you already own the game on PS3 and either already have or are planning to buy a PS4, Square Enix announced that upgrading to the PS4 version will be free, and all characters and saved data can transfer over as well. No word on whether or not PC players who want to switch to the PS4 version will receive the same kind of deal, but it's probably best to not get your hopes up.
Wave of Ambiguity
It's not news that the PS4 version is a free upgrade for PS3 owners, but of course, the release date is. And while we still don't have a specific day nailed down yet, gamers can finally point to a general spot on the calendar and be excited about experiencing the first true, big budget, next-gen MMO. With The Elder Scrolls Online still riding its wave of ambiguity in terms of when it will be released, FFXIV is the first MMO PS4 owners can get excited about (though to be fair, reviews of DC Universe Online have been fairly positive).
The Battle Lines Are Drawn
It's not that the first big MMO out the door guarantees any kind of success, but it does dampen the chances that ESO will be the big winner on PS4. Had ESO launched prior to FFXIV, there is a good chance many gamers would have jumped into ZeniMax Online Studios' game and ignored FFXIV entirely when it launched. But now that Square Enix's game is likely getting out in front of ESO, there's a good chance it will steal some of those potential players. It makes the battle for MMORPG crown on the PS4 that much closer.
It certainly helps that FFXIV will be free on PS4 for PS3 owners, and when it comes time to decide what next-gen game to pick up for the increasingly cash-strapped gaming community, paying nothing versus paying $60 seems like a pretty easy choice. Especially considering it has already garnered such favorable reviews in its current state, it stands to reason it will be just as good, if not better, on a next-gen console. ESO and any other MMO contender already has a pretty high bar to try to reach.
Love It or Hate It, FFXIV's Success Is Good for Us All
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has been celebrated as a great addition to the franchise, and a credit to the MMO genre. Releasing to a next-gen console, and free for some gamers, gives it a huge edge in 2014 in the console MMO race. Whether you are a fan of the series or not, the fact that it has done well and is making what should be a triumphant next-gen entrance is good news for all of us, as it gives all other game developers something to strive for.