For the millions of gamers on Xbox One and the couple of million who have picked up a Nintendo Switch, you might be wondering where Final Fantasy XIV is? It's on PlayStation consoles, it's on PC... so why not the other two? Well, there's one thing that needs to happen before Square Enix brings the game to the Xbox One and Switch: cross-play support.
Speaking with Kotaku, producer and design director Naoki Yoshida explained what the condition was for making the MMORPG a reality on Microsoft's game console and Nintendo's newest hybrid system, saying,
Naoki Yoshida explained that he's been in talks with the upper management of Nintendo about Final Fantasy XIV coming to the Switch, and he's also had conversations with the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer. Yoshida mentioned that he's been very tenacious in trying to push the cross-platform compatibility given the nature of Final Fantasy XIV's design.
In fact, it was the cross-compatibility that eventually led Square to abandon supporting the PS3 for the MMO, because Naoki Yoshida explained that the input/output read speeds were just astronomically slower than the other platforms ,and it was affecting what other players could see in their screens on other systems.
Another big hurdle is the patching and certification process. Things have to work slightly different MMOs utilizing cross-platform compatibility, because patches have to roll out synchronously across each supported device. Usually patches require a week or two of certification by the platform holders, which can severely dampen the way an MMORPG is updated or patched. In some cases developers also have to issue hotfixes to address some problems where a patch might break one area of the game after fixing a completely separate issue.
In the past, Microsoft has been quite open with cross-platform play, offering it up regularly between Xbox One and PC users with games such as Gears of War 4 or Forza Horizon 3. In the case of Nintendo, it has been rather slow in adopting cross-platform play with other systems, but the company has always been keen on trying to find ways to link the Gameboy, DS and 3DS with its other home console systems.
Just recently it was announced that Nintendo would be allowing cross-platform play between Nintendo Switch users and other gamers on other platforms through Minecraft. The company was even forward thinking enough to allow for Xbox Live accounts to be used to access Minecraft on the Switch, so it seems like something both Microsoft and Nintendo should be open to in terms of third-party cross-platform compatibility.
Hopefully Microsoft and Nintendo give Yoshida and the rest of the crew the thumbs up so that Final Fantasy XIV can make its way to the Switch and Xbox One.