MMO launches are never smooth. Even when developers throw down the money for extra launch servers and hold extensive beta tests, the hundreds of thousands of people hitting those servers on launch day are bound to cause technical problems. Not only that, but the abundance of new characters in starting areas can begin to frustrate new players trying to complete quests in the midst of a crowd.
The re-launch of Final Fantasy XIV as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has been no exception to this rule. Square Enix is attempting to solve the MMO's popularity problem as so many other publishers have: by suspending sales of the game. It's not an ideal solution for companies trying to sell more copies of a game, but a necessary one for the health of a subscription-based MMO.
Square Enix specifically shut off digital sales of Windows and PlayStation 3 copies of A Realm Reborn. The publisher stated in its announcement that more than 187,000 simultaneous users were connected to the game at one point, limiting a large number of players who already bought the game from logging on and playing. From the statement:
This restriction has resulted in a great deal of inconvenience to players. We are currently working hard to expand the system, including server capacity in both the Japanese and North American & European data centers. Judging from login numbers observed during the early access period, we anticipate that the number of concurrently connected users will reach 200,000 shortly.
The sales restriction is expected to be lifted some time next week. Square Enix stated that it is preparing to add "additional Worlds" (new servers) to the game to ease server populations.
(Image courtesy Square Enix)