Games

The global chip shortage is partially to blame for Final Fantasy XIV’s long queues

Many players eager to jump into Final Fantasy XIV’s highly anticipated Endwalker expansion have hit big queues since the game launched in early access on Friday. Part of the reason for the long waits is that the global chip shortage has prevented Square Enix from getting enough servers to handle demand, according to a blog post from producer and director Naoki Yoshida.

“When it comes to adding new Worlds, we need tens of ‘server machines’ for every World that we add,” Yoshida says. “Server machines are high-performance computers, which utilize numerous semiconductors. However, due to the COVID-19 countermeasures currently in place, many factories across the globe which produce semiconductors, have halted production or have faced labor shortages.

“We have made considerable investment — even more so than usual — to secure the required hardware, but even so, a long lead time will be needed to prepare the server hardware,” Yoshida added. The development team has taken a few measures to address things in the meantime such as optimizing server source code and upping maximum logins per world. Despite those efforts, “given the current situation, we anticipate that it may take several months or more to add new Worlds,” he said.

The global chip shortage has had a huge effect on many industries — even Apple, renowned for mastery of its supply chain, has lost billions due to supply constraints. Companies of all sizes have had to come up with other solutions to make their products work, like Square Enix did; Panic, for example, revised the main board in its quirky Playdate handheld to support a different CPU, while Tesla rewrote its vehicle software to support other chips. (Tesla has also reportedly been shipping some cars without USB ports.)

Yoshida also discussed the server load in a post published hours after Endwalker’s early access launch, and based on what he said then and on Tuesday, it doesn’t seem like Square Enix will be able to fix every issue or procure as much server hardware as it wants to anytime soon. Yoshida has outlined a number of adjustments the development team is making to try and fix some issues, which will hopefully mean you won’t have to wait as long to play Endwalker in the near future.


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