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Japanese earthquake rocks online games

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Square Enix, developer of video games like the role-playing Final Fantasy game series, will shut down its servers for its online games Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV to conserve power following a massive earthquake in Japan.

Square Enix shut down the servers today and did not indicate when the servers will come back up. The online Final Fantasy series is unique in that it meshes Japanese and international players very closely and has in-game translations to help players communicate across language barriers. But an earthquake on Friday did massive damage to the country’s wireless and cloud services — which are run on remote servers that store information and handle heavy-duty computing — hampering online services across the country.

While a lot of online services in Japan have backup cloud servers across the world, it looks like the online Final Fantasy games did not merit additional servers. That might be because the game did not have as many players as other online games like World of Warcraft — which now has 12 million active monthly subscribers. The most recent game, Final Fantasy XIV, had a bit of a rough start and was not well received by critics, picking up a score of 49 out of 100 across 25 reviews on review aggregation site Metacritic.

Japan was hit by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale — which is a logarithmic scale, meaning that an extra 1 point on the scale means the quake is about 32 times more powerful. The earthquake rocked the northeastern portion of the coast and generated a tsunami warning across the country. The quake was the strongest to hit Japan in at least a century and generated a tsunami as high as 33 feet that flooded northern towns.

[Photo: 第③ª类视觉]


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