I thought at first that this latest bit of Final Fantasy XIV generosity was just an extension of the free weekend from earlier this month, perhaps heralding an impending move to free-to-play. On closer inspection, however, it seems like a much more mundane free trial program, at least superficially similar to the one Blizzard implemented in World of Warcraft a few years ago.
Anyone can take part in the free trial, but only once, and only if they're not already a FFXIV player. The trial accounts allow the creation of just one character per world, and those characters can only advance to level 20. Trial players cannot use the shout, yell or tell commands, they cannot trade, they cannot use the Market Board or the Moogle Delivery Service, they cannot hire retainers, and they cannot do a whole bunch of other things, either. There are also limits on the amount of "gil," FFXIV's in-game currency, that trial players may acquire, although the FAQ doesn't say what the limit actually is. The most significant difference from the World of Warcraft trial, obviously, is that once the 14 days are up, you're done.
It's a long list of limitations, but on the other hand, it's free, and if you like what you see and sign up for a subscription within 90 days of the end of the free trial, your character will carry over. And it appears that this will be an ongoing program; the 14-day period begins immediately following account creation, and there's no "get it while it's hot" expiration date on the free trial site that I can see.
Square Enix also launched a new "Recruit a Friend" campaign today, offering in-game rewards to anyone whose invited friends subscribe to the game for either 30 or 90 days.