Undercooked MMO Final Fantasy XIV was the talking point of Square Enix's six-month money report yesterday. President Yoichi Wada was pressed hard by analysts wanting to know what on earth was going on.
"We're quickly working on reforms," he told them during a conference call (according to an IGN translation of a Japanese transcript).
"We'd like to put our full power into regaining trust."
Since the launch of the Collector's Edition on 21st September and the launch of the Standard Edition on 30th September, Final Fantasy XIV has sold 630,000 copies around the world. Most of those were shifted in Europe (230,000 copies), with the US second (210,000 copies) and Japan last (190,000 copies).
Note that sales were counted up to 30th September 2010.
To boost future sales, Square Enix has a partnership with Chinese online operator Shanda Games poised. That's a "first step", according Square Enix's money report.
There's also a PS3 version of Final Fantasy XIV in the pipeline for March 2011. However, with ongoing PC problems that date may be subject to change.
In the short-term, Square Enix will reward frustrated early adopters with a month long extension to their free trial. "Considering the nature of much of the feedback we received and the current state of the game, we have decided to extend the free trial period for all users," reasoned the company.
The question now is, how many players will stick around after the free trial expires? Cryptic Studios boss Jack Emmert believes an MMO in today's climate is judged entirely on its state at launch. He said users are less lenient with second chances these days.
Overall, Square Enix made less money in six months this year than in 2009 - 28 per cent less. Sales amounted to ¥68.1 billion which, when popped into the currency kidney, comes out as $844 million or £520 million.
Square Enix's biggest earners were Japan exclusive Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 (1.28 million sales) and Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (1.12 million sales - 710,000 of which were sold in Europe). Final Fantasy XIV was third, ahead of Just Cause 2 in fourth (560,000 sales) and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep fifth (510,000 sales).