Final Fantasy XIV announces launch date and pricing model

The speculation for Final Fantasy XIV's eager fanbase can finally come to an end. Square-Enix's hotly anticipated MMORPG has an official release date, and contrary to the expectations of many it's not at the absolute end of the year. The game will officially launch on the PC on September 22nd -- and September 30th. In addition to the official release announcement, Square has disclosed the bonuses for the Collector's Edition, and one of those bonuses is a full week's early access.

The Collector's Edition, which retails for $74.99 instead of the standard version's $49.99, will also include an exclusive in-game item, a security token, a travel journal with concept art, and a special cover with art by Yoshitako Amano. Both versions include 30 days of free game time, with subsequent months priced at $12.99. No word on whether the fee will increase for additional characters a la Final Fantasy XI. If you can't wait for another three months, however, you can take heart in the promise that Final Fantasy XIV's beta will start in early July. It's not quite as good as launch, but we're sure it'll ease the scant time remaining.

[Editor's Note: As an additional note, extra character slots in the game will cost $3.00 per month, much like Final Fantasy XI's $1 per month character slots. However, if you wish to have another character for inventory purposes in FFXIV, then the cost is still only $1 dollar. So, to recap, a playable character slot in FFXIV is $3.00 per month, while a non-playing "inventory use only" character is $1 dollar per month. ~Sera]