One console door closes, and another mobile one opens.
Just after announcing that its massively multiplayer online role-playing game Final Fantasy XI will end its life on consoles next year, Square Enix says that it’s partnering with developer Nexon to create a mobile version of the 2002 MMO. It will come out in 2016 for Japan, Korea, North America, and other Europe and Asia areas.
We’re not really sure how Square Enix and Nexon are going to do it. MMOs exist on mobile, but those are always built specifically for that platform, and they’re less complex than their PC and console counterparts. A good example would be Pocket Legends, which had over five million downloads until it stopped seeing new content in 2012. However, it’s unique to see an MMO that was created for PC and consoles brought to mobile, even if it is 13 years old. The incredibly popular World of Warcraft, which has over 10 million subscribers, has never appeared on mobile.
It’s also difficult to gauge interest players will have in such an old MMO, especially with its successor, Final Fantasy XIV, performing well with over four million registered players. Still, if this mobile version does hit, it could help Square Enix take advantage of a market that could reach $30 billion, with revenues expected to exceed the console industry’s, this year, according to market researcher Newzoo.
“Developing a high-quality mobile adaptation of Final Fantasy XI with Nexon, with an extensive track record of successfully collaborating with global partners, is a great opportunity for Square Enix,” said Yosuke Matsuda, the president and chief executive officer of Square Enix, in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “Through this partnership, Final Fantasy XI, which has enjoyed 13 years of noteworthy success on game console and PC, will make a significant step onto the mobile platform.”
Nexon is mostly known for free-to-play MMOs like MapleStory, although most of its games come out in the Korean market.