If you were to ask certain Final Fantasy fans about the current state of the series, they’d most likely to tell you that it is doing poorly or flat-out falling apart. However, based on Square Enix’s transcript of its most recent quarterly earnings conference call, this might not be the case. In fact, based on the performance of Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age, the series is actually fairing far better than many realize.
Discussing the present state of Final Fantasy XIV, President Yosuke Matsuda stated paying subscribers are at a “record high” since the release of the Stormblood expansion on June 20th. Though not exactly a precise figure, its important to note that this figure only alludes specifically to active subscribers, as opposed to the recently reported ten million registered users which represent the number of created accounts overall — regardless of activity.
Of course, it would be easy to marginalize this achievement somewhat by noting that MMO’s often see activity spikes following the release of a major expansion, but its also worth noting that Square Enix didn’t even have especially high expectations for the game that quarter to begin with. Upon revealing that the MMO sub-segment of the business saw the greatest outperformance of the company’s expectations, with sales growing by a reported several billion yen, Matsuda noted this was largely due to the company being overly conservative in estimating how well Stormblood would perform that quarter.
Regardless of how it reached this point, however, noting the game’s present success, Square Enix is now looking forward to Stormblood making a “sustained contribution” to the company’s earnings going forward.
Moving on to the offline side of the business, Matsuda revealed that sales for Final Fantasy XII TZA on the PlayStation 4 have been “brisk” since launch. Unlike Stormblood, it appears the success of FFXII wasn’t as much of a surprise for Square Enix. Right out of the gate, the game did incredibly well in both retail and digital sales in Japan, quickly selling 78 percent of its initial stock for the former and topping download charts for two weeks in a row for the latter. This, of course, isn’t too surprising. TZA was well-received by fans and critics, even from those who weren’t too thrilled with its original iteration on the PlayStation 2.
With Square Enix reporting such success for its two most recent titles, perhaps the future of Final Fantasy is brighter than most have come to expect. Of course, whether this continues to be the case depends on the future sales of FFXIV and XII TZA, the highly-anticipated release of the Final Fantasy VII remake and any smaller projects that are released before then.