It came as something of a surprise to hear that the next installment in the Final Fantasy series will not be appearing on Xbox 360, only months after Square Enix’s phenomenally successful RPG made its debut on Microsoft’s console. As reported by Platform Nation’s own D Demitrius Smith, Final Fantasy XIV Online is heading to PS3 and PC only and the game’s director, Hiromichi Tanaka, gave an interesting reason for snubbing the 360 when talking to Eurogamer at E3: the limitations of Xbox Live. “The main reason why we couldn’t go with Xbox 360 was the Xbox Live system” he explained, citing the closed nature of XBL as an insurmountable obstacle to his team’s plans for the game.
The sticking point in negotiations with Microsoft would appear to be the fact that Microsoft’s network does not allow third party publishers much flexibility in designing their own business models. It’s difficult to see quite why this is such a problem to Square Enix, since the same is true of PSN in almost every respect. However, could it be that they plan to allow free trading of items between players in the upcoming MMO makeover of Final Fantasy? Allowing players to set their own prices for items or characters is something that’s difficult to imagine being possible on Microsoft’s console, whilst Sony’s eschewal of a proprietary currency like Microsoft Points means that such a bartering system could be far more easily implemented on PSN.
If this turns out to be the case (and you – possibly – read it here first!) then it’s bad news for Microsoft but great news for anyone who fancies adding a bit of haggle to their JRPG stew.