Square Enix provided a status update on their troubled MMO Final Fantasy XIV. The most immediate piece of news is that they plan to start charging subscriptions again.
"It is my hope that we will continue to receive your support as we will need to bring the unbilled period to a close between late November and early December 2011, and introduce our subscription-based billing system," said Square Enix CEO and President Yoichi Wada in a letter to players. "I appreciate that this decision will not be popular, but it is a necessary step in building upon the foundation our fans and development team have made together and to realize the full potential of Final Fantasy XIV."
FFXIV accounts are, by default, set to renew subscriptions automatically. However, Square Enix plans to suspend all automatic renewals, so you'll need to re-enable it manually. This will prevent people who no longer play FFXIV or don't know subscriptions are coming back from getting charged.
The development team will continue reworking the game and releasing new content. These efforts will culminate with the release of Final Fantasy XIV 2.0 between October and December of 2012.
"Among our new plans is the fundamental reworking of in-game maps. As part of this process, there will be a period required for switching over to a new client and new servers, after which there will be a large transfer of data when service is brought back online," said producer/director Naoki Yoshida. "After the new client is completed, new software for the PC version will be distributed online, and can be acquired free of charge. Character data and progress for players already playing the PC version will also be preserved, allowing those players to continue using their in-game avatars."
A free trial will be offered for the game during this period. At the same time, a closed beta will be held for the PS3 version of the game. Square Enix plans to release the full PS3 version and end the free trial sometime after January 2013.