It’s in the books, FFXIV is the largest sub MMO out today

The troll job from SquareEnix using ‘registered accounts’ for subs continues, this time to announce that the game has crossed the 5m sub mark. As WoW has likely continued to bleed subs since the 5.4m announcement, I think its rather safe to say FFXIV is now the larger MMO in terms of paying players.

So, who had August 2015 as the date WoW was dethroned?

I will admit this is a bit anti-climactic, mostly because Blizzard dug their own grave rather than being beaten while they were still putting up a fight. Sure, FFXIV is a great MMO, and the fact that it’s basically a modern-day vanilla WoW is especially fantastic, but if Old Blizzard was still running WoW this doesn’t happen.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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29 Responses to It’s in the books, FFXIV is the largest sub MMO out today

  1. 5.6 million WoW subscribers. We’ll see if Q3 2015 has Blizzard under 5 million subs. That will certainly be the big headline, WoW #2. Until then though, Blizz still has some time to do something. I don’t think flying in Draenor will create a subscription boost, but it might help hold the line. That comes on Sept. 1.

  2. Shandren says:

    How on earth did “registered accounts” turn into currently subscribed? I know I have a registered account, but I am not currently subscribed. I may have missed a post sometime back where you explain why it should be read as currently subscribed, but it seems wildly implausible…the words have rather well defined seperate meanings.

    • Matt says:

      Syncaine is pretty much the only person alive who reads it this way.

      • kalex716 says:

        Admittedly, I once came here because I believed Syn had a level headed approach to his criticisms of the industry. But now I just show up for the sensationalism.

    • SynCaine says:

      Back when they announced 2m ‘registered accounts’, they also said 500k players were logging in daily. You can’t have 500k daily if your 2m is total boxes sold (registered accounts).

      As the post said, I think at this point SE uses the term to troll people, or it has something to do with PC+console player counts (but since console players pay a sub, I’m not sure why they insist on the term).

      • Anonymous says:

        Their recent event posted 96,809,761,442 /played in a slide (see the slides here, the one being referred to is ~1/3 of the way down: ). That kind of number can’t be reached without millions of active subscribers. 5.5 million people logged in 24/7 for 2 years would meet that number.

        • SynCaine says:

          Thanks, but if people can’t grasp the 2m/500k ratio, zero point zero chance they can wrap their minds around /played math.

        • Matt says:

          Only problem being there is no way that number is actually correct, as it would require ~10 million characters playing 24/7 just to make up the difference between it and last year’s figure (823M).

  3. Shandren says:

    Dont get me wrong, im not saying FFXIV is doing bad, by any account its likely still the 2nd largest current mmorpg. But i sincerely doubt that it is anywhere close to half that number in current subscriber… And i do believe it is a better mmorpg than wow, but larger? That one I will have to see some serious argument before i believe :-)

  4. Azuriel says:

    Only 95 million more to go* to match WoW in January 2014!

    *Apparently includes trial accounts.

    • carson63000 says:

      Well in 2011 Blizzard said that WoW had considerably more former subscribers than current .. so I would say their number would have been 30 million or so back then.

  5. Anti-Stupidity League says:

    A while back all Playstation Plus subscribers got free access to FFXIV for a month(?) or so. Are these registered FFXIV accounts still as well?

    • SynCaine says:

      How long ago? The quick search I just did shows that as long as 8 months ago FFXIV was a separate sub cost for PS players.

      Either way, 2m/500k can’t doesn’t happen if we count inactive PS accounts, can it?

      • Anti-Stupidity League says:

        Yes, it still requires a subscription, the plus account isn’t enough, but PS+ subscribers got a free FFXIV account and some free playing time, that was the point. Whether all/some of them are still counted as registered FFXIV accounts or not, I have no idea. If they are, that surely bloats that number somewhat.

        In any case, 500k daily users is a great number — and in my opinion it should be a great number as the total number of monthly players as well. I.e. It should be enough for any MMO game, really. Using ‘5m registered users’ as the number for the amount of subscriptions is just some idiotic marketing speak that doesn’t really mean anything for anyone who is actually playing the game.

  6. Shandren says:

    Heya, I’ve been looking back through your archives to find that link to the 2m/500k post to get some info, but with no luck so far (as I said I has likely missed a post where the reasoning was explained). So take this with a grain of salt, but if you dont need to have a subscription to play in certain countries, then it seems possible that they may indeed have had 2 mill total registered accounts (prior and former), as it specifically mentions that it doesnt count free accounts in this number, while still having 500k people logging in daily, provided this number includes free players.

    And looking at the “hours played” number they HAVE to have a very significant portion of free players to get to that number…as Matt mentions 5 mill subscribers wouldnt begin to cut it :-)

    Shandren out

    • SynCaine says:

      You can’t play FFXIV for free anywhere, including the most recent launch in F2P-mania; South Korea.

      • Shandren says:

        Hmm what are these free trials mentioned in the article you linked? Is it something easy to get access to, I am wondering how on earth they can have 96billion hours played since last year with 5m subscribers and no way to play for free. Or is that number just plain wrong? Also do chinese players pay per hour as in wow, or is it the same setup as in the west for FFXIV?

        And could someone link the article where the 2m/500k statistic comes from?

        Still not trying to bash any oppinion, just finding it hard to believe that anyone is even close to wow without it being a major newspoint. Seems like something one would brag/PR about.

        • SynCaine says:

          I couldn’t find my post about it (I think the 2m was in the comments someplace, but didn’t look that deep), but here is the news about the 2m/500k:

          Free trial is different than F2P, and Square specifically states that the 5m accounts number is without free trial accounts. I should have been more clear; you can try FFXIV for free, you can’t play it past the trial for free anywhere, US/EU or Asia/Japan. From a quick search FFXIV in China uses the pay-per-hour account model.

          Edit: Oh, about the /played number; 5m is the total subs currently. The /played number counts those who played and unsubbed (and I’d also guess includes trial characters, as I’m sure trial characters impact some of those other numbers from that slide deck). Assuming just below industry average churn for FFXIV (its growing, and retains people well), that /played number is highish (people play a lot of FFXIV, because there is a lot to do) but entirely possible.

        • Amalec says:

          Their played hours number for the year would have required over 30 million players playing 8 hours a day, 365 days a year. They’ve either made a mistake or they’re lying.

          As for having 5 million subs, I can understand how you got your numbers. Still, it’s far more believable that they they’ve fudged another number/ made a mistake/ are using some other criteria than ‘paying subs’ than it is that they actually have 5 million paying subs.

          That their 96 billion hours played number is obviously incorrect reinforces this. That they’re not announcing that they’re the biggest sub MMO in the world – with all the money that advantage would bring (press, new players, etc) – cements it, in my opinion.

        • SynCaine says:

          There must be some odd calculating to get to 96b for just a year, I agree. I could easily see that 97b being the total /played for all characters in FFXIV though; since launch that’s very possible, and would be more inclined to believe the past-year number is somehow off, but that slide is pretty clear with the 118x fact.

          As for announcing it, while we can look at where FFXIV is heading and where WoW is heading and reasonably guess FFXIV has surpassed WoW already, that’s very different than Square officially announcing it. They won’t do that (if they do it at all, remember Japan culture is different than US/EU) until they are 100% certain, likely when Blizzard announces a total decently below what FFXIV has.

  7. Shandren says:

    About the 96b number. Lets assume there havent been more than 5mill players subscribed at any one time. With 5mill players each would have had to have played since launch… Nonstop….
    96000/5 = 19200hours per player, its now 2 years since launch, so 19200/(365*2)= 26,3 hours per day per player…

    If we say they all play a measly 8hours a day, we are still talking 15 mill players subscribed since launch. The number must be broken as Amalec and others suggest.

    But that doesnt have to mean the rest of the numbers are of course.

    About the 2mill/500k thing:

    Thanks for the link. It was interesting for two reasons.
    First off it included a link to the original source of the numbers, a fantranslation of an interview. It was dated oktober 2014 so a year ago or so.
    From the interview it seems clear that the number 500k includes all players including free ones, whereas the number of registered a counts, 1,8mill, does not. However it is also mentioned as a conservative estimate so it might actually be more than 500k daily users. At the time they say they have racked up over 400k hours played (game launched august 2013) so this would mean an average of 2,19 hours played per day per person who logged in daily (just to put the numbers above in perspective)

    Secondly the interview doesnt actually mention “registered accounts” it mentions “players (accounts)”.

    -“To start with me (FFXIV), we’re currently sitting at just over 1.8 million players (accounts). Total in-game character count is 6.75 million, and we’ve just reached over 400 million hours played by our players”- (quote from the fantranslation).

    So this does seem to speak in your favor. It can still be read as registered accounts, but it doesnt seem as far fetched to say he is talking about actual players.

    It is a fan translation though, so take thespecific wordings with a grain of salt.

    Even with some of this speaking in favor of the high sub numbers, I would still be cautionary of reading the announcement as 5mill current subscribers, it might however not be AS ludicrous as I first supposed, seeing as it includes china, and also plays on playstation 3,4 and portable (whatever its called).

    All the other people reporting on this seem to be estimating subs at a lot lower, and peerdisagreement is not a thing to ignore :-)

  8. MaximGtB says:

    There is an unofficial census of the Lodestone (official character database) carried out by a japanese player here:

    And some summary taken on 2015-08-09 here:

    The short of it is that this guy found only 2M characters with any class above level 21, of which only 800k were considered “active” since the last census (in April 2015, I think).

    There is some margin for error, of course, but… unless the game has 4M active players without a single class over 20, or paying the subscription but not playing in 4 months, I don’t see how the 5M active subscriptions theory could be true.

    Before anyone asks, no, I don’t understand how the 500k daily logins fit into this. Maybe they are counting multiple logins per account on a single day? RMT bots/trial accounts?

    • SynCaine says:

      So a game that has sold 5m copies (if we take the 5m as total sales, not active accounts) has only had less than 2m of those copies sold (some accounts will have 2+ lvl 21s) hold people long enough to hit level 21? And of those 5m sold, only 800k of all of those people are currently playing what is, by almost all accounts, one of the best MMOs out right now, one that just had a very well-received expansion?

      Sorry, those numbers add up less than the /played number to me.

      • MaximGtB says:

        The 800k to 5M ratio seems plausible, if a little low. The game is already 2 years old, after all. More if you count 1.0, but I doubt that sold a significant number of copies.

        Only 2M characters having reached level 21 is indeed suspect, I agree. I’m not sure how to relate it to the average of all classes 6-60 being 28.

        Another interesting data point is the number of players having beaten Alexander Floor 1: 218k. This is a casual, max level raid. Most people who are even remotely interested in combat and have a max level class should have cleared it. If the game had 5M active subscriptions, it would mean less than 5% of the game’s population cleared it. Sure, there are some full-time crafters/gatherers/fishers and people still leveling their first class to 60, but… 5% seems a little low, doesn’t it?

        (Average level and Alex clears are from the latest official census:

        • SynCaine says:

          A game that is growing (I don’t think anyone would argue FFXIV is losing subs at this point) having a 16% overall retention rate currently (when an xpac just came out) seems very, very low to me. I’d almost say impossibly low, since it is only 2 years old in its original markets, and less than that in newer markets. It’s not like WoW where there could easily be 50% of the population who have played but will never play again regardless of changes (such as myself).

          Honestly 218k seems high IMO, as a LOT of players never get into raiding, or if its someone with multiple accounts, generally only one account/character is the raider. I’ve been subbed for 6-9 months now with two accounts (wife’s) and we aren’t even 50 yet, and I’d say we play an average amount for a casual pair. Plus that’s 218k who have completed the first raid, so that’s not even including however many attempted it once, failed, and gave up on raiding. I think I remember WoW saying only 2% of all characters raided.

        • Anonymous says:


          The new Alexander raid with 217k clears is considered extremely easy – you can reliably clear it in Duty Finder/LFD/whatever equivalent (automatic matchmaking). The only one that you might have difficulty with is the final one (at 190k people cleared). It’s a raid in the same sense that LFR is a raid (albeit a bit more difficult, as you actually have to deal with mechanics).

          The first two Savage encounters (at 35k/15k at the time of the census) is considered the same tier of difficulty as the previous raid tier: Final Coil of Bahamut. The second set of fights – A3S/A4S – are considerably more difficult. A4S was only cleared for the first time yesterday or the day before.

  9. Back while you were still playing Eve, you would have linked to a post like this and mocked about how comical its reading of the numbers is.
    You would have argued that a PR department doesn’t use the word ‘registered accounts’ by accident – that they are using a definition which is different from ‘paid subscribers’.

    It might have continued with a discussion about some PvE themepark content having a limited lifespan and maybe a joke about a balance bug that has been there since launch.

    “Never change SOE!”, you would have quipped.

    Except you’re playing this game and not Eve.
    How the times change.

    • SynCaine says:

      Except when I was mocking Turbine for ‘total characters created’, or SW:TOR informing us that Sunday is the busiest day, or basically anything SOE has ever done, all of those were done BECAUSE those games were struggling or had weak numbers.

      FFXIV doesn’t, unless you just assume they lied when giving the 2m/500k info, which ends the conversation because that’s just a dead end.

  10. John says:

    You dont really need a number to know that FFXIV have more players than wow..if you play both games you know the difference..1 game have full servers and tons of players the other one is dead..

    I always doubt the Blizzard numbers about all those “millions” of subscribers..where are they? When I was playing back in Vanilla/TBC the game was supposed to have 6-8 million players..

    When I was playing in wod after a month the game was supposed to have 7,6 millions and with merged servers and my server does not have even the 1/10 of the players it had in Vanilla/TBC…

    Are all those million players Chinese that just payed and played for 2-3 hours 1 month of the quarter and considered as subscribers?

    From my personal experience, if wow have 5,6 million players now, FFXIV should have 105,6 millions…

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