There are a couple of perspectives we can look at when it comes to Square Enix’s announcement of an extra free month coupled with further refinements to the game itself through patching.
One perspective would tell us to look at the coming free month and its associated changes as a form of promise. That is, if players promise to stick by FFXIV for another month, then it is hoped that Square Enix’s changes to the game will showcase their dedication to crafting a game that is friendlier than FFXI.
Another perspective would have us look at the overwhelmingly negative critical reception towards the game, thus seeing that this free month and its associated patches are an attempt to staunch a bleeding wound of potential lost consumers.
The truth, which is shrouded in PR-speak, is probably a mixture of the two perspectives. The director’s message and FAQ have been carefully crafted to show gratitude rather than remorse, making it seem as if Square Enix is coming from a position of strength. Square Enix’s stock has, in recent days, been slowly dropping, which may show that the confidence placed at the release of FFXIV has begun to dwindle.
As such, it would appear that the free month is a gamble the company is trying to make to maintain a strong long-term subscriber base.
Of course, this all speculation, mind you. There’s one other perspective I have yet to touch upon, and that’s the perspective of a 27-year old gamer who’s waiting for October 20 to come around as his aunt is visiting and is bringing him a copy of FFXIV. Two months of FFXIV is nothing to sneeze at, and if anything, I’m quite grateful for the opportunity to play a game that’s in a state of interesting change.