Endwalker is an Avengers Endgame-level moment for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. It concludes the storyline that the game has been building towards for nearly a decade. The excitement is high, and this should be a time for celebration for the game’s fans and developers. Unfortunately, publisher Square Enix has already issued a warning that several issues may crop up on Endwalker’s launch day due to a real-world problem: the semiconductor shortage.
What happened — On November 29, Square Enix released a blog post explaining that Final Fantasy 14’s servers will likely be very congested when the Endwalker expansion releases in early access on December 3 and to everyone on December 7, 2021.
“There is a high likelihood of congestion that will result in Worlds reaching maximum login capacity and lengthy wait times when logging in,” the post reads. “We would like to apologize for making this sort of announcement at a time when many of you are looking forward to the expansion, as well as for inconveniences that may be caused by congestion.”
Over the past year, Final Fantasy 14 has become one of the most popular MMOs on the market. Square Enix points out that demand is at an all-time high for the game and is expecting more logins at once over the next week than the game has ever seen before.
That in of itself would cause issues, but Square Enix revealed that the semiconductor shortage is only amplifying the severe queue time problem. But how?
“We optimized our servers ahead of the expansion’s launch in order to increase login caps,” the post explains. “On the other hand, due to the ongoing global shortage of semiconductors we have previously mentioned, we were unable to add new Worlds before the release of Endwalker.” The main issue has everything to do with the scarcity of “necessary server machines” caused by the semiconductor shortage.
Final Fantasy 14 servers are called “Worlds,” and more have been added over the years to accommodate ever-increasing player demand. Square Enix can’t do this for Endwalker as the semiconductors required on the hardware side of things simply aren’t obtainable.
Supply issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and high demand from the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries have caused semiconductor shortages. This has impacted everything from the production of cars to the availability of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and now the servers for MMOs like Final Fantasy 14.
What this means for players — Long login and instanced content queue times to get into servers should be expected once Endwalker drops. Players may also be unable to create new characters during this time and might run into Error 2002.
Square Enix says it will prioritize owners of the full version of the game, log out inactive players for 30 minutes, and recommend that players try logging into a less crowded World if possible.
The Inverse Analysis — While we were already aware of the semiconductor supply chain strain’s negative impact on consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X, it always seemed like a consumer hardware supply issue. This problem with Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker highlights that some powerful hardware is essential on the development side of games, too, not just next-gen console hunters.
Thankfully, Square Enix does say that “the addition of new Worlds will still be considered as we procure the necessary server machines.” It seems to be a matter of when and not if Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker’s server situation will get better.
Still, it’s disappointing that the launch of a highly anticipated expansion for a popular MMO will suffer because of something that’s entirely out of the developer’s control. At least Square Enix was transparent about this problem and avoided a Cyberpunk 2077-level launch disaster.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker is available now for PC, PS4, and PS5.