The rest of the world may already have enjoyed the reborn realm of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, but as usual, Chinese gamers have been forced to wait quite a bit longer for their first taste. Now, finally, that waiting is at an end: the game’s first China beta will kick off on April 23.
Beta keys will start being given out on April 10, though you can try to reserve one here. The beta itself will only run through April 29, and the servers will only be online from 2 P.M. to 9 P.M. Beijing time, so nobody’s going to have too much time to power-level before the thing shuts back down.
Still, it’ll be Chinese gamers’ first taste of the official game, and they’re definitely excited. The vast majority of the 6,000-plus 17173 readers who’ve voted on this article about the beta so far, for example, said that they were either “excited” or at least “paying attention”.
Those interested in China’s gaming business ought to be paying attention too, because FFXIV will be following in the footsteps of Guild Wars 2 by not going free-to-play in China. With two big, overseas-developed MMORPG games launching around the same time and offering gamers a respite from the pay-to-win nature of many free-to-play MMOs, it will be interesting to see if China’s gamers turn back towards subscription and client-based payment models.