Square Enix has pulled the Mac version of Final Fantasy 14 from sale and offered customers refunds.
Producer and director Naoki Yoshida apologised for the various technical issues associated with the Mac version of the fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game, as well as poor communication ahead of launch.
The Mac version of the game launched on 23rd June, and players quickly found it suffered from a raft of bugs and performance issues. In particular it performs poorly compared to the Windows client - even on Mac machines with equivalent hardware.
Square Enix exacerbated the problem by releasing incorrect system requirements before the Mac version's release, which Yoshida said was done "in the chaos" leading up to the multi-platform launch of the Final Fantasy 14 expansion, Heavensward.
"While the development and operations teams, as well as our entire company, were involved in this mistake, it was I who ultimately made the decision to release the Mac version under these circumstances and therefore bear sole responsibility, and I sincerely apologise to you all," Yoshida wrote in a post on the Square Enix forum.
"Because of this situation, many of you purchased a product which your Mac hardware could not run at even the minimum system requirements, resulting in insufficient performance, for which many of you have expressed your dissatisfaction. Had we provided accurate information beforehand, I know many of you would not have purchased the Mac version, which is why we decided to offer full refunds. Once again, I apologise."
It didn't help that the Mac version was available to download a play before Square Enix was able to conduct planned maintenance. This meant some people were playing a "pre-release build", as Yoshida described it.
The upshot is Square Enix has hauled the Mac version of Final Fantasy 14 from sale, and won't sell it again until accurate information on system requirements is released.
"Until this is done, and I am personally satisfied that our users are adequately informed, we will be suspending the sale of the Mac version," Yoshida explained.
Those who are already playing the Mac version can continue to do so.
Yoshida goes on to explain why the Mac version ran into problems, and why the Mac version performs poorly compared to the Windows PC version. In short, it's to do with the difference between the DirectX and OpenGL APIs, and the decisions the development team made while making the game.
Final Fantasy 14 uses middleware to convert Windows' DirectX drawing method into OpenGL on Mac systems, rather than having native OpenGL. Yoshida admitted this decision was about "development cost".
"Very few games are sold for Mac systems," he said, "and the prevailing opinion is that the majority of Mac users aren't interested in games. This results in an extremely high risk for development."
But because of the complexity of the game, even if Square Enix had developed the Mac version in native OpenGL, "it would be exceedingly difficult to provide a level of performance that matched that of a system using DirectX".
Yoshida promised the development team will continue to work on updates for the Mac version in a bid to improve performance.
"With the adoption of DirectX11 for Mac, and the replacement of OpenGL with a new graphics API in Apple's next OS, the fundamental gap in current performance issues may soon be eliminated," Yoshida said.