Naoki Yoshida was essentially brought in to fix Final Fantasy XIV after the game was not well received at launch. He's extremely candid over what he regards as the two main flaws the development team had going into making and launching the second Final Fantasy MMO.
“What I found were two things,” said Yoshida. “The first one was us as a company being too comfortable in the Final Fantasy franchise. We took it for granted. We thought, ‘Whatever game we make, players will play it.’ I think that was a very big mistake we made. The second was lack of knowledge of the current MMO. We really should have studied more about the competitors in order to make a game that could win the competition in the MMO market.”
While Yoshida was willing to criticize many decisions surrounding the launch of Final Fantasy XIV, the subscription-only model adoption was not one of them. He argued that the game needed the financial stability of subscriptions.
“With the free-to-play model, you’ll get huge income one month, but the next month it depletes,” said Yoshida. “Most MMOs have investors in the background, and the company uses the profit and splits the profit with the investors. But, if the game’s not successful, and it doesn’t reach the target, then they have to switch to free-to-play to try and get just a little profit from it. Among the MMOs in the market, only Blizzard and Square Enix are making money without investors in the background.”
“I don’t think there’s a right or wrong for having a monthly subscription model or free-to-play model. Games like The Old Republic and The Secret World, I don’t say those games would’ve been more successful if they had been free-to-play, for example,” Yoshida added. “The subscription model was unrelated to the success of the game.”
Source: Penny Arcade Report