Square Enix’s two biggest MMORPGs, Final Fantasy XI (available for PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox 360) and Final Fantasy XIV (PC now, PS3 later this year), will finally have their servers turned back on today, after having been shut off on the day of the Tohoku Earthquake. These were just two of many Japanese games with online play whose servers were turned off for days or weeks at a time; some are actually still off. The effort was one of conserving electricity, as the headline-making tsunami knocked out the power in a large portion of Japan’s Northeast. Nearby areas have had to deal with rolling blackouts in order to make sure there’s enough electricity for the region as a whole to get by.
Recently, however, things in Japan have been picking up. Japanese news station NHK recently reported that the Sendai area, for the first time since the tsunami, has been shipping oil again, and electric power is on its way to restoration as well. This and a number of other small positives has games going back online. In Square Enix’s case, they’re still conserving power, though. To make up for the servers coming back on, the company has dimmed the lights and skimped on other “non-essentials” (because really, who needs light anyway?) which will make the office environment a little different, but enable citizens of Eorzea and Vana’diel get back into their games.
Due to an infamously poor release, Final Fantasy XIV players do not yet pay subscription fees, so their billing cycles are unaffected by this downtime. Final Fantasy XI, which has been more stable and complete for several years, paused its billing program, meaning its subscribers will not be charged for the month.