Final Fantasy XI

How often does a thirteen year old video game get a press conference anymore? The only two that could possibly demand that kind of attention are our longest running "big" MMORPGs. World of Warcraft is of course one, and the other is Square Enix's Final Fantasy XI.

The dinosaur MMO still has a dedicated fanbase around the world, and Square Enix touts it as the most profitable game in the company's history. It's a nice, sentimental cash-cow that generates just enough revenue to keep it fresh and innovative with frequent updates. Apparently though, this new something is worthy of its own press conference!

Square Enix has scheduled a broadcast to be streamed through YouTube on Thursday, March 19 at 4PM Japan time (12AM PST / 3 AM EST), and the announcement reads, "We will be holding a press conference regarding our plans for Final Fantasy XI going forward, with the event broadcast live on the internet."

World of Warcraft recently revealed a new plan that will allow players to pay off their subscription fees with in game gold, and The Elder Scrolls Online has dropped subscriptions all together (though it has retained a premium tier). We have to wonder if Square Enix will also be looking for a new method to monetize its aging hit. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is the company's main MMORPG focus these days, and it's obvious that it would rather see subscription fees flow through that game instead.

With the right tweaks to its pricing, Final Fantasy XI could very much still be relevant in the video gaming world. It is a horribly slow and challenging grind, but those who stick with it will find an incredible open world with beautiful stories, lore, scenery and music. I'm also willing to bet that all those profits had something to do with Final Fantasy drifting away from the traditional menu-based battle systems, making Final Fantasy XI one of the secretly most influential games in the franchise's history a well.

Everyone should at least have the chance to experience that, and free-to-play could be the answer. We'll find out tomorrow!