It’s good news and bad news for prospective Final Fantasy 14 players on Xbox Series X|S. The open beta for the beloved massively multiplayer online role-playing game finally has a confirmed start date, but it’s simultaneously been confirmed that players will be required to have an Xbox Game Pass subscription in order to play the full release later down the line.
First thing’s first, the beta start date. New players can dive into the Free Trial version of Final Fantasy 14 (which allows you to experience A Realm Reborn, Heavensward and Stormblood expansions up to level 70, without playtime restrictions), from Wednesday, February 21 at 3am ET / 12am PT / 8am GMT / 7pm AEDT. This matches the estimated start date given by director and producer Naoki Yoshida (also known as Yoshi-P) during the Final Fantasy 14 in-person Fan Fest event last month, so it’s not too much of a surprise.
However, the emphasis here is on ‘new players.’ In a news post on the Final Fantasy 14 website announcing the start date, it was confirmed that those who’ve previously used the Free Trial on another platform, or have a Final Fantasy 14 license registered to their Square Enix account already won’t be able to join in. They’ve instead been asked to wait for the full release, which will come “immediately” after the open beta concludes (although no indication has been given as to when this will be).
Anyone who wants to play Final Fantasy 14’s Free Trial on Xbox, "including the open beta test," will be able to play regardless of whether they have an active Xbox Game Pass Core or Ultimate subscription or not. However, the full release will require an active Game Pass subscription. This is quite surprising given that on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, players aren’t required to have an active PlayStation Plus subscription of any kind in order to play, and no extra fees are required on PC, either.
All this considered, it appears that Xbox Series X|S will be the most expensive platform to play Final Fantasy 14 on if you count the additional cost incurred by the Xbox Game Pass subscription. Be sure to keep this in mind before deciding whether you want to dive in yourself.
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Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.