During today's Japan Expo, Final Fantasy XIV Producer Naoki Yoshida shared that the game has accumulated a total of five million paid subscribers during its 21 months on the market.
To be clear, the current subscriber count hasn't been announced, nor has Square Enix ever shared this figure. The five million subscriber total doesn't include trial accounts, and only those who have at one time or another paid the $12.99/$14.99 monthly fee making it a substantial feat.
Estimates place FFXIV at around 800,000 to 1.2 million subscribers after a one million subscriber bump from February's announced total of four million, averaging at around 9,000 new players per day over four months. Significant post-launch updates and the arrival of Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward have been key components to recent growth.
With subscription-based MMORPGs becoming an increasingly rare breed on the market, FFXIV stands as the second most popular game of its kind in the world today. High-budget games such as Aion and Star Wars: The Old Republic have opted for an optional subscription model after debuting with a monthly fee, while games like Guild Wars 2 prefer a buy-to-play model.
FFXIV trails the reigning subscription MMO World of Warcraft, a game that has been the king of the jungle for more than nine years. Despite significantly outperforming its competition, it recently plunged to its lowest figure since its Burning Crusade expansion in 2007 with around 6.5 million paying players. Blizzard has attempted to combat this trend with a WoW Token system that allows players to trade in-game currency for game time.
The only other subscription-based MMO on the market that challenges FFXIV is EVE Online, which is estimated to have around 300,000 subscribers in 2015. WildStar has been competing with FFXIV for players for the past year, but will transition to free-to-play this August. Meanwhile, The Elder Scrolls Online has already undergone a jump to buy-to-play.
FFXIV initially launched to scathing reviews in 2010, and was later reinvented in the form of 2013's FFXIV: A Realm Reborn which was led by new management. It has since become one of the most compelling MMOs on the market in addition to being available for both PC and console players.