Final Fantasy XIV finally going pay-to-play next year

Square Enix will begin charging for Final Fantasy XIV subscriptions in early 2012, says the company. After spending more than a year in a seemingly indefinite free-play period, accounts will cost $9.99 per month beginning January 6. This discounted rate will last until Square Enix deploys its version 2.0 update – but with that patch more than a year away, don’t expect the game to break the $10 barrier for a while yet.

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“We are prepared to advance to the next stage of Final Fantasy XIV’s life, confident that we can provide a service worthy of the Final Fantasy name,” says Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada: “a service that includes both content-rich updates and the renovation of existing features.” Wada earlier lamented the Final Fantasy brand had been “greatly damaged” by XIV’s launch flaws, and admitted that the task of fixing the title “basically amounts to fully redoing the game.”

With the timeline for that overhaul in place that includes the long delayed PS3 version getting a beta in the fall, the game’s already begun building up to the 2013 launch of FFXIVv2.0. Until that time, 30-day subscriptions will cost $9.99 (which you can shave a buck or two off by buying in bulk). While billing details after the release of the 2.0 patch have not yet been finalized, the company’s saying the current price is a $2 discount off what you can expect to pay post-2.0. Or you can just keep on playing WoW, calling every elderly NPC “Cid,” and confusing team-mates with your talk of “Espers” and “Firaga.” Your choice.

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