Players are struggling to access the video game Final Fantasy XIV due to publisher Square Enix being unable to acquire servers fast enough.

The company blamed the issues on the ongoing semiconductor shortage, which impacts data center servers, among other industries.

Final Fantasy XIV data center locations
– Square Enix

A massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), Final Fantasy XIV sees players exist together in 'Worlds' with a finite cap on how many people can be in a given world.

While the game has been out since 2013, the new Endwalker expansion pack has led to a surge of new and returning players.

“When it comes to adding new Worlds, we need tens of ‘server machines’ for every World that we add,” producer and director Naoki Yoshida said in a blog post. “Server machines are high-performance computers, which utilize numerous semiconductors. However, due to the Covid-19 countermeasures currently in place, many factories across the globe which produce semiconductors, have halted production or have faced labor shortages."

While Covid-19 shutdowns did lead to initial semiconductor shortages, the current crisis is much deeper. Most factories are actually producing more chips than ever before, but semiconductor demand has rocketed, making supply constrained.

Yoshida continued: "We have made considerable investment — even more so than usual — to secure the required hardware, but even so, a long lead time will be needed to prepare the server hardware."

He said that the development team optimized server source code and increased the amount of players that can be in a single world, but said that, “given the current situation, we anticipate that it may take several months or more to add new Worlds."

Square Enix currently runs the game out of three 'data centers' in North America, another three in Japan, and two in Europe. A single location in Oceania is planned for February next year.

While referred to as data centers, it is not clear if they are geographically independent locations or just clusters of servers in a single facility. Square Enix calls its North American data centers Aether, Crystal, and Primal; its Japanese ones Elemental, Gaia, and Mana; and its European ones Chaos, and Light.

When operational, users are asked to choose a data center and then a World. Players within the same data center, but different Worlds, can interact, but those in different data centers cannot.

Gamers can, however, pay $18 to move Home Worlds or data centers.

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