Final Fantasy on Xbox? I’ll Believe It When I See It
Final Fantasy XIV is coming to Xbox – and all it took was a decade. I don’t believe in looking a gift horse in the mouth. This is amazing news. But it was the secondary part of this announcement that was more interesting to me.
As part of the announcement, it was said this was the beginning of a bigger presence from the publisher on Xbox, and in particular Final Fantasy was mentioned. This comes after years of confusion around Final Fantasy 7 Remake, the Pixel remasters of the first six games and, now, Final Fantasy XIV. Crisis Core came to the system though.
Here’s the thing: it’s not the first time this particular franchise has been promised a bigger spot on Xbox. It happened before, with all the previous available titles coming to Game Pass for a while. And that was amazing. But then they went, and Sony snapped up some exclusivity and Square became the last great bastion of major third-party exclusivity. It was such a big deal, it got mentioned in the judgment of the FTC’s case against Xbox in the Activision merger.
And that’s not always paid exclusivity. Square didn’t release the pixel remasters on Xbox for reasons unknown. They came to Switch, and were already available on PC. Some people presumed a kind of “high-end console exclusivity”, which is possible but unlikely. It seems far more plausible that Square… just didn’t. They decided the port of every major Final Fantasy game before VII just wasn’t worth it on Xbox.
And that may have been because Xbox can pay some Game Pass money for the ports at a later date. But whatever the issue, it’s not good enough. And everybody involved seems to know that.
So with this announcement, I am remaining skeptical.
Final Fantasy on Xbox
Lookk, there’s no secret that Xbox isn’t big in Japan. But you can’t deprive an entire console of content for years and years, and then expect a big deal to be made when that franchise returns. You can’t keep Final Fantasy VII Remake away from Xbox (and PC/Steam at first), and then expect a fanfare of a billion sales when it finally makes it across.
These things take time, and they take some disappointing sales. And they take bad comparisons, like when it turned out Capcom’s Phoenix Wright trilogy had sold less than 5,000 copies on Xbox. Why? Because if I’m a huge visual novel fan I already have a PC or a Switch to play visual novels on. It takes years to turn that around. An entire generation, probably.
And I’m not convinced on two things: firstly that Square will maintain an appropriate level of support for a generation, despite the potential for low sales. And, secondly, that Sony won’t offer bigger and bigger wads of cash to keep future Final Fantasy games exclusive. It pays to be the home of Final Fantasy, even if it’s not a massive money spinner.
If fans still need a PlayStation to play Final Fantasy VII day one, that’s what they’ll have. It isn’t a choice.
And I’ll finish this article with this: I hope I am wrong. Genuinely. The more people who can play, the better. Bring everything to everything. Sega have figured it out, now let Square follow suit.