A new interview with Final Fantasy XIV's Yoshida Naoki has been published on Korean site Iven.co.kr where he is specifically asked about the possibility of moving the game to a free-to-play revenue model. His answer is unequivocal, "We have no plan for F2P at all." The answer came as part of a larger discussion of the 4.3 update and general gameplay in Final Fantasy XIV.
Q: Is F2P something you have not considered yet?
Y: Absolutely not. It’s a business after all and we look at profits through games. However, we consider the close trust between developers and players than simply trying to maximize the profit in short period of time.
Games like Dragon Quest Builder recently released in Korea and FFXIV are in similar in that sense--It’s all about that “if these guys made this game, it’s a safe bet to pay and likely to enjoy it myself.” It’s much beneficial for us in the long run.
In the developer’s perspective, we think that quick profit is not the right way. Even if FFXIV is making sizable profit surprisingly well, we do not want to push players to reach further in their wallet. Instead, it would be better to encourage at least 2 to 3 times the population with lowered spending per individual, establishing healthy continuation of 3 to 10 years in sight. Hence we have no plan for F2P at all.
In addition, this “Social game” market in Japan is in rough condition . Many games do not last past 2 months and the way I see it is the broken trust between the developers and the players by looking at the profit than anything else. Only thing left out after all the games born and dead were Characters and IPs...
The interview also covers topics such as the "demands" between global and regional versions of FFXIV, mobile MMORPGs and several others. You can check it out at the links above.
What do you think of YoshiP's answer? Would you want to see a F2P version of FFXIV or not?