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Final Fantasy 14 players in Ukraine are being priced out of playing the MMO

Final Fantasy 14 players walk towards the town centre of Thavnair
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Ukrainian players are struggling to keep up with the cost of Final Fantasy 14 subscriptions due to the economic effects of the Russian invasion and a lack of regional pricing on various storefronts. 

The issue was recently flagged (opens in new tab) on the MMORPG’s subreddit, though it’s gaining momentum thanks to the attention of popular Final Fantasy 14 streamer Zepla (opens in new tab), who initially lived in Ukraine until relocating (opens in new tab) due to the conflict earlier this year. 

One Ukrainian fan shares that the economic situation brought about by the Russian invasion has led to subscription prices almost doubling to 440 Ukrainian hryvnias from 260 Ukrainian hryvnias. For a sense of scale, the poster explains that some locals would be looking at two to three days' salary to raise the necessary funds and points out that - as you can imagine - jobs aren’t too easy to come by right now either.

As reported by Reuters (opens in new tab), the Russian invasion will likely lead the Ukrainian economy to contract by up to 45% this year. The country’s central bank recently devalued the hryvnia by 25% against the U.S. dollar to offset the growing economic impact of the conflict, just days after country officials asked creditors for a two-year debt freeze (opens in new tab). Perhaps most importantly, at the end of July the hryvnia fell significantly against the Euro - the currency most Ukrainians would use to buy their subscriptions - further driving up relative prices.

“I think I'm not talking only on behalf of myself but [for] all [the] Ukrainian community of Final Fantasy 14,” the Reddit user says. “We are asking you to make a regional price on subscription at least for the period of war so our people could enjoy your game and sometimes hide from cruel reality.”

The topic of regional pricing in Final Fantasy 14 has long been a prominent one in the community. While Square Enix has adjusted (opens in new tab) subscription prices in countries like Russia and Brazil on Steam before, you’re typically more likely to be at the mercy of how your local currency converts to more popular currencies like euros, pounds, or dollars. 

At one point, Ukrainian players could use a loophole to create Russian accounts on Steam to benefit from lower pricing, partly due to regional prices and because Valve doesn’t support (opens in new tab) increasing the cost of a recurring subscription. Using that loophole now, however, proves difficult due to the ongoing effects (opens in new tab) of sanctions against Russia and the somewhat recent requirement (opens in new tab) that Steam and MogStation accounts need to be linked. 

The problem of regional pricing isn’t unique to Final Fantasy 14, with Blizzard introducing the Ukrainian hryvnia (opens in new tab) to Battle.Net earlier this year. As Zepla explains in the video above, the benefit is that her subscription to World of Warcraft has stayed at its pre-conflict price despite the economic disruption of the past few months.

Final Fantasy 14

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Speaking to GamesRadar+, Zepla says that she hopes Square Enix will add hryvnia support to its store or add regional pricing that accounts for the currency's devaluation. While the developer could find other solutions, the crucial thing for the streamer is that the issue is raised so that “Ukrainian players, many of whom have already lost their real-world homes, don't lose their virtual home in Eorzea too”.

“I fled Ukraine the morning the war started to the sound of air raid sirens, and it's been an ongoing nightmare to figure out what to do next. But that's nothing compared to the constant fear people face who are still living in or near war zones or who have family on the front lines,” she says. “I can't imagine how much worse this would be if I didn't have access to Final Fantasy 14. It's helped to get my mind off things and the community has helped me feel less alone. 

“Being a refugee can be incredibly isolating, moving from one temporary stay to the next, unable to put down roots anywhere. Final Fantasy 14 has been those roots, and for many it's the one place they can still find some refuge amidst the real-world chaos that doesn't seem to be stopping soon. Gaming helps those who have been forced to flee stay in touch with those who cannot.”

We’ve reached out to Square Enix for comment and will update this story if we hear back. 

Final Fantasy 16's Naoki Yoshida thinks the series is "currently struggling" to keep up with the times.

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.

With contributions from