A step toward smoothing convoluted processes
So finally, FFXIV is agreeing to let their users link their Steam accounts to their Square Enix accounts. It’s not quite a full unification yet, but it’s a start. This could eventually smooth out the convoluted ways of getting a license and purchasing the game. Hopefully, this can lead to more people getting FFXIV accounts and farming FFXIV Gil!
Square Enix can be a slow-on-the-uptake developer at the best of times and the lack of Steam Linking thus far has meant that FFXIV players have really had a hard time figuring out where exactly to buy the game and how the account system itself works. This is one reasons that the platform segregation, which is so common in the game’s industry right now is such a huge problem. It creates walled gardens out of launchers and makes the process of purchasing and even launching a game needlessly difficult.
What gamer honestly enjoys purchasing a game on Steam and being forced to launch uPlay to enjoy it? Or when Steam launches a game, but Origin has failed to connect. Platform cohesion is a critical thing that publishers ignore, but it hurts consumers. Open platforms like GoG works as a standalone game launcher and that’s partially to credit for their popularity. Gamers enjoy buying a game and simply being able to play them.
It’s beyond frustrating having to download layers upon layers of software simply to launch a game. As this article will go over later, this problem was even worse for FFXIV, not only were there two launchers for the game, but there were also two entirely separate versions of the game on PC which were separate from one another. None of your Steam progress carried over to SE account and you were forced to pick one or another. Square Enix has finally decided to adopt the industry standard ability to simply link your Steam account to a publisher account for an MMO.
This isn’t only beneficial for customers and players but has its upside for publishers as well. It streamlines the buying process and ultimately creates good will with your audience. In any case, we can only hope that this is the beginning of large publishers embracing account synchronization, cross-progression, and cross-play. There’s absolutely no reason why buying a game on one storefront should prohibit you from playing it on any other.
The Current Convoluted Process
Currently, the game considers Steam a separate platform from Windows for PC. That means your Steam account and SE account remain separate. You can get a game key from Steam, and that will be your license for the game. From then on, you should only use Steam when logging into FFXIV.
Remember how the Steam version and the Windows version are considered two separate things? If you buy from the official store, your free trial on Steam won’t get carried over to the new SE/Mog Station account. Basically, since they’re treated as separate games, you can’t use your SE account to log into the Steam version. Nor can you use your Steam account for the client downloaded from the site.
Also, since they’re treated as separate, if you want to use both Steam and the official site download, you’ll need to buy the game twice. Some people do this to make alts, even though you can make several characters in one account.
That’s not even considering the Playstation versions. The game may have cross-save and crossplay, but licenses don’t go cross-platform. If you want to switch between your PS4/5 and PC, you’ll have to buy the game for both platforms.
Fortunately, linking your PlayStation accounts is way easier than wrangling with all the PC version’s shenanigans.
What Steam Linking Can Do
For one, you’ll finally have your achievements on Steam for all to see. You’ll be able to launch the game through Steam and use the progress on your SE account. Plus, it’s added security, according to the developers.
Since linking to Steam means only opening the game through the Steam app, hackers using the official download shouldn’t be able to hack your account. At least, that’s the logic behind it. Of course, that’s not going to do much if your Steam account gets hacked. Fortunately, Steam has pretty good security and 2FA and all that.
Of course, there are going to be some requirements to this. One, this is a one-time account link process. That means it can only be done once per Steam account. It could also mean the process is irreversible afterward. So, you won’t be able to link more than one FFXIV account to it either. It’s unclear whether you won’t be able to do it later if you decline to link your Steam account, though it’s possible.
Two, the licenses for both the Steam game and the FFXIV account have to be the same. You can’t link your PS4 account directly to Steam since the license is for PS and not PC. The Mac license also wouldn’t work if your Steam account is Windows. It has to be Windows Steam to Windows SE account, and Mac Steam for a Mac SE account.
Much of the wording is still vague, so things can still change about the process and requirements. Though the fact will remain that you can link your Steam account with your Square Enix one. There wasn’t a distinction between free trials and licensed games.
That could mean it doesn’t matter whether the account is paid or not. It could also mean that they aren’t too sure what to do for that distinction. Plus, they haven’t reinstated registration for the free trials, but sales have returned. There’s no estimate on when that will return, so it could be that it doesn’t matter just yet.
This feature is set to be functional sometime in March 2022. Hopefully, after this, there’s no need to distinguish between Steam accounts and SE ones. There’s going to be a more detailed description of this process as the release gets closer, so all we have to do is wait.
Have fun playing and farming FFXIV Gil | PlayerAuctions in the meantime!