On May 16th, just under seven months ago, Square started flogging Final Fantasy XI for the first time. Since then the EverQuest-style MMORPG has sold steadily but poorly compared to expectations, mainly due to a shortage in Sony's prerequisite PS2 network adapter - something Square had hoped to overcome to a small extent with the PC release of the game last month.
However as we draw close to the turn of the year, Square president Yoichi Wada has spoken to Bloomberg Japan and reminded us that the company aims to break even on the game (by reaching the golden figure of 200,000 paying customers) by the start of 2003. In fact, he said that the company expects to cross the threshold within the next fortnight, comfortably on schedule.
FFXI has reportedly accounted for 12.5 per cent of Square's sales during the current fiscal year, but the publisher/developer will be hoping to make plenty more cash from ongoing subscription fees, and when the game is launched in the US and perhaps Europe in the future. That said, Square has still yet to confirm plans for a European version and the game was curiously absent from Sony's Online announcement last month. Opinion around the Eurogamer office is that if anything, we're likely to end up with the PC version but nought for PS2 thanks to NVIDIA's recently-announced involvement.
Meanwhile, Keiji Honda, president of Square's merger pals Enix, has mentioned that his firm's newfound love for the Final Fantasy developer could mean the opportunity to piggyback Square's online services and jointly develop an online Dragon Quest title (PS2 being anticipated platform) - research into the subject is apparently already under way.