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Final Fantasy XIV’s latest expansion pack launched this month. | Image: Square Enix

Square Enix has temporarily halted sales of Final Fantasy XIV’s Starter and Complete editions, in an attempt to ease the server congestion that’s been plaguing the game since the release of its Endwalker expansion. Writing in a blog post, the game’s producer and director Naoki Yoshida said the company is halting deliveries of the physical version of the game, digital sales, and is also suspending registrations for the game’s free trial.

Endwalker released in early access on December 3rd and got an official release days later on December 7th. But limited server capacity has meant that players have often found themselves having to wait hours just to log into the game and have been stuck in queues of upward of 4,000–8,000 other players. As recently as last night, the game’s servers appeared to collapse completely under the load.

We’d like to share an update from #FFXIV Producer & Director Naoki Yoshida on the ongoing congestion, additional game time compensation, suspension of sales, error codes, and our upcoming plans. https://t.co/3WcXX6eVkf

— FINAL FANTASY XIV (@FF_XIV_EN) December 16, 2021

Yoshida says the sales suspensions will be “phased in over the next few days” and apologizes to potential customers who are losing out, as well as the company’s retail partners. He adds that new ads for the game are also being stopped, but that “Expansion packs and Collector’s Edition digital upgrades will continue to be available for existing players so that they may upgrade as needed.”

In more normal times, a company like Square Enix would try to fix these capacity issues by investing in new servers. But Final Fantasy XIV’s explosion in popularity has coincided with a global chip shortage that’s gotten in the way of Square Enix buying new server hardware. Yoshida reports that the company is “starting to see some progress” as it builds out its server capacity and says it hopes to provide a roadmap by January 2022.

The suspension follows similar action taken in July this year following a similar increase in new players, IGN reported at the time. But this wasn’t officially announced by Square Enix, and it’s unclear whether physical sales were also affected.

As well as the server capacity issues, Yoshida’s post also offers more details on the frustrating “Error 2002” bug, which has cropped up for players even after they’ve waited hours in virtual queues. A patch to address this bug is scheduled for release on December 21st.

Although fixes are underway, Square Enix has its work cut out if it wants to solve its MMO’s problems before it risks seeing frustrated players drift away. As an apology, Yoshida says the company is giving all players who own the full game and have an active subscription an additional 14 days of free playtime. This comes in addition to the seven days granted earlier this month.

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