Square Enix will boot idle players from packed 'Final Fantasy XIV Online' servers

The MMO is dealing with a huge surge in players after popular streamers picked up the game.

Square Enix

Final Fantasy XIV Online is seeing "record user numbers in all regions" after some popular streamers started playing the MMO. A major expansion is scheduled to arrive in November, and players may be returning or picking the game up ahead of Endwalker's arrival.

However, the game's servers are struggling to handle the influx of players. Producer and director Naoki Yoshida wrote that many players in North America and Europe have had trouble logging in or creating characters recently because of "server congestion."

Some North American servers were at maximum capacity for up to seven hours at some points last weekend, and the average queue times were around 10-20 minutes. On the European servers, players had to wait for up to 40 minutes.

Square Enix has revealed some measures to tackle Final Fantasy XIV Online's server issues. It has accelerated plans to boot out players who stay idle for too long. That feature is typically enabled when a new expansion arrives to help the systems cope with a surge in player numbers, as Polygon notes, but Square Enix is bringing it back early. Yoshida also asked players to log out and free up spots if they're inactive.

The publisher says the game's North American data centers were recently upgraded. As of this week, the game supports up to 18,000 simultaneous logins in that region — up to 750 players per world server. The European data centers are in line for a similar upgrade soon.

Meanwhile, Yoshida noted the global semiconductor shortage has slowed delivery of servers to some data centers. Travel restrictions related to COVID-19 have prevented the server infrastructure team from visiting data centers too.

It's fascinating to see a game that's been around for eight years have such a massive, sudden increase in popularity, four months out from the next expansion. Still, it once again highlights the impact that streamers have on gaming culture.