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Final Fantasy 14 PS3 still alive

Closed beta test confirmed for late 2012.

Square Enix has re-announced the PlayStation 3 version of MMO Final Fantasy 14.

It plans to integrate the "current service" and the PS3 version into an "all-new" FF14, called Final Fantasy 14 Online Version 2.0, between October and December 2012.

During this "reboot phase" the Japanese publisher will offer a second free trial, as well as a closed beta test for the PS3 version.

The PlayStation 3 version isn't expected to launch until January 2013 or beyond.

"Among our new plans is the fundamental reworking of in-game maps," FF14 producer/director Naoki Yoshida said.

"As part of this process, there will be a period required for switching over to a new client and new servers, after which there will be a large transfer of data when service is brought back online.

"After the new client is completed, new software for the PC version will be distributed online, and can be acquired free of charge. Character data and progress for players already playing the PC version will also be preserved, allowing those players to continue using their in-game avatars.

"Another announcement will be made in the future as the day on which the new Final Fantasy 14 software will become available for download draws near, and the PlayStation 3 system version officially released."

Meanwhile, Square Enix announced it will begin charging players to play the PC version from next month.

The game has been free to play for a year following its disastrous launch.

Square Enix boss Yoichi Wada said he was aware the decision would upset fans, but described it as a "necessary step".

"One year has passed since the game's release, and despite the disappointment surrounding its launch, we have received a wealth of support from you, the players," he said.

"Your encouraging words and continued loyalty have been a source of immeasurable inspiration to everyone involved with Final Fantasy 14's development.

"In the ten months since the Final Fantasy 14 team's restructuring, we have put forth the utmost effort into not only improving the game's existing features, but also creating a concrete plan to outline the game's new direction. Today, I am pleased to announce we can confidently present that plan to our customers.

"We fully realize this is but a single step towards our ultimate goal, and that to meet the high standards set in the plan, more time is required. In the meantime, however, we will not waver in our commitment to bringing players exciting and engaging content, even as the game moves through its evolution.

"With this, it is my hope that we will continue to receive your support as we will need to bring the unbilled period to a close between late November and early December 2011, and introduce our subscription-based billing system.

"I appreciate that this decision will not be popular, but it is a necessary step in building upon the foundation our fans and development team have made together and to realize the full potential of Final Fantasy 14.

"The team will stop short of nothing as they move towards realizing the new Final Fantasy 14, and as they do so, I humbly ask for both your understanding and support."

Final Fantasy 14 has been free to play for a year. In that time, a huge team of 250 has tried to turn the MMO around.

Square Enix will release information on the game's subscription-based billing system in emails to players.