Sony refunds Final Fantasy XIV customers as servers remain unstable

Game director Naoki Yoshida explains FFXIV's server problems, as Sony refunds customers who purchased the game through PSN.

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The bungled relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn has seen Sony fully refund customers who purchased the PlayStation Network version of the game on August 27 or August 28.

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Affected customers will see a full refund to their wallet, the entitlements for the game reset, and the game reappearing in their download list. "We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience," says Sony.

The servers for Final Fantasy XIV have been overloaded since the game's relaunch a week ago, leading Square Enix to suspend digital sales in an attempt to balance the heavy load.

Square Enix has repeatedly apologised to users finding it impossible to play the massively multiplayer online game, and game director Naoki Yoshida has taken to the company's forums to explain that he expected far fewer players after FFXIV's first iteration flopped.

"The night following the announcement of our plans to temporarily limit sales of the download version," said Yoshida. "A Realm Reborn recorded upwards of 218,000 concurrent connections. This is in spite of the fact that the peak login times for separate regions around the world arrive at differing intervals. We estimate that without time zone differences, the total number of concurrent connections would number anywhere from 300,000 to 350,000."

"As many of you know, this is the second launch for Final Fantasy XIV--something unprecedented in the MMORPG market. Considering the outcome of our first launch, our sales estimates for this one were decidedly conservative, as we believed that there would be a more gradual rise in users over the opening weeks and months."

"Instead, to our pleasant surprise, we experienced tremendous support from a great number of players who were eager to get into the game from day one. To ensure that these players, once logged in, were able to play in a stable environment, we were required to implement login restrictions which kept server population near maximum capacity without exceeding those numbers."

"The fact that we had to implement these restrictions is a direct result of my inaccurate sales and login estimates, and as producer, I must accept complete responsibility for this misstep. Each and every player who has been affected has my deepest apologies."

Yoshida added that each World server in FFXIV can handle a maximum of 5,000 concurrent connections, and that a higher number of players leads to server crashes and errors. Square Enix has chosen to limit logins to give the servers room to breathe, and Yoshida says that the team is monitoring the Worlds "24 hours a day" in an attempt to strike the right balance.

Logins are more likely to be restricted between 21:00 and 00:00, Yoshida added, which is the peak login time for the game.

Earlier this week Square Enix offered an additional seven days of free play time as compensation for customers affected by the outages.

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