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Final Fantasy 14 breaks its Steam concurrent players record

At war with Warcraft?

Final Fantasy 14 broke its Steam concurrent players record over the weekend.

Square Enix's long-running MMO hit 47,542 concurrent players on Steam over the weekend, according to official stats provided by Valve's platform.

That beats the game's previous record of 41,200, set in June 2019 just ahead of the Shadowbringers expansion.

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Without a new expansion to boost player numbers right now (Endwalker is due out November), players have suggested a number of possible reasons for Final Fantasy 14's popularity boost - including a modest exodus from rival World of Warcraft.

It's impossible to know exactly how many players World of Warcraft has, as Blizzard Entertainment does not publish live player stats. But there is a sense online, within Warcraft subreddits and social media, that Final Fantasy 14 is a good current alternative to Blizzard's behemoth. Some popular Warcraft YouTubers and streamers, including Asmongold (video below) recently gave Final Fantasy 14 a shot to millions of viewers. It's likely some followed suit.

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In May, we reported Blizzard had lost another two million players across its titles.

Reporting its latest financial results, Activision Blizzard said Blizzard specifically saw 27m monthly active users in the first quarter of 2021. That was down from the 29m MAUs Blizzard had in the previous quarter. In fact, Blizzard has lost almost 29 percent of its overall active player base in three years.

Is World of Warcraft in any trouble? Reporting its financials, Activision Blizzard said Blizzard saw revenue grow seven percent year-on-year, led by the strong growth in the Warcraft franchise. World of Warcraft's Shadowlands expansion "continued to drive strong results", the company said.

That was in May, reporting on the three-month period to the end of March. How's World of Warcraft doing right now? Again, it's hard to say without official player numbers. Shadowlands' 9.1 update, dubbed Chains of Domination, launched last week over half a year after the expansion came out - and some have said this new content drought caused subscribers to consider other games.

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"One of the things we really liked for Chains of Domination is we did take our time," World of Warcraft technical director Frank Kowalkowski recently told Eurogamer.

"We wanted to make sure we hit the quality bar we wanted to. We put a lot of content in there - there's a little bit of something for everybody. We did want to make sure this was a content update that's going to appeal to a broad swath of players."

I'm not sure Blizzard is all of a sudden sweating under the pressure of Final Fantasy 14 - but it's clear the company is at the very least thinking about it. Last month, the internet surfaced a player survey sent by Blizzard that asked how likely respondents would play the upcoming Final Fantasy 14 expansion Endwalker.

Square Enix said last month that Final Fantasy 14 has over 22 million total registered players.

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