Final Fantasy 14 smashed its concurrent player record on Steam this weekend following the release of Endwalker, according to SteamDB. The game was originally released in late 2010 in a much-maligned state, what many now call the 'failed' version, before in 2013 a complete overhaul saw it become Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Since then, the only direction of travel has been upwards.
December 5 saw the game reach a peak of 95,150 players on the platform, up from the previous record of 67,148 players in July 2021. It's worth noting that Steam won't fully account for even the game's PC player base—many own the game through the Square Enix store, and then you have players spread across the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions.
While a new expansion always sees a spike in players, the mass WoW exodus from earlier this year has no doubt played a part in Final Fantasy 14's ongoing success. Between players being dissatisfied with WoW's direction and streamer Asmongold ditching Blizzard's MMO in favour of Eorzea, Final Fantasy 14 has seen droves of WoW players come over this year to drink the catgirl Kool-Aid. Asmongold and other streamers like CohhCarnage were largely responsible for July's player record, and seeing it smashed again feels like a testament to how good a job FF14 has done at retaining its new influx of players.
It's great seeing the game do so well, but it's caused more than a few headaches this weekend. Queues to login have been out the wazoo, with players regularly getting Error 2002 messages, losing their place and having to restart an already lengthy wait. While I've been lucky enough to avoid the login woes myself, friends and guildmates have sometimes waited between one and five hours just to experience the latest expansion.
Square Enix did its best to temper expectations leading up to Endwalker's release—the ongoing semiconductor shortage has meant no new servers to handle an already bloated player base—but even still I think the player count exceeded expectations. Players with an active subscription are currently being offered seven days of free game time because of all the issues, with more compensation potentially being given depending on how things go.