Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn director Naoki Yoshida has confirmed that the reason the game will be the 'odd one out' and the only upcoming entry in the series to skip Xbox platforms is down to Microsoft's ongoing Xbox Live policies.
"The policy has not changed on Microsoft's side," Yoshida revealed to us when asked if an exclusivity deal had been signed with Sony alongside the PS4 version or if the lack of an Xbox platform version was still thanks to Microsoft's restrictive Xbox Live Policies.
Specifically, Microsoft refuses to allow titles to share multiplayer servers between other platforms. For Final Fantasy XI's Xbox 360 release the company made an exception - presumably to curry favour with Square Enix to secure Final Fantasy XIII's release for their console - but no such exception has been made for the latest MMO entry. If Square Enix want to release it, they'd have to offer another set of servers for the Xbox 360 release. PC, PS3 and PS4 are all intended to share with no boundaries once released.
"To be frankly honest with you, there are now so many mobile devices, smart phones, everything -- why would you ever just stick to one platform from the hardware aspect? Just -- make it open to everyone? That's my opinion."
"I would love for as many players as possible to enjoy the game worldwide, so from a business point of view it could make sense to have it on the Xbox platforms. But as I mentioned earlier, that would bring about the tragedy that somebody might have to give up their existing character. Then players might get frustrated, and then they ask us - 'Square Enix, can't you do something?' and then... yeah. Unless that happens, we can't really do anything."
The fact that Final Fantasy XIV had potential for an Xbox 360 version has never exactly been a secret. Previous producer Hiromichi Tanaka said the company was "actively pursuing" additional platforms back at E3 2009, and then a Xbox 360 version of the game popped up on a developer's LinkedIn profile in early 2010. Shortly after taking over in 2011, Yoshida told us he was "continuing our talks with Microsoft" and hinted that the game might put in an appearance on the next iteration of Xbox.
So there you have it. Same old stalemate. Your move, Microsoft. Read the full interview with Yoshida through this link.