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Mobius Final Fantasy players devastated by server shutdown

The mobile Final Fantasy game will come to an end in June

Final Fantasy character with pink hair laying on the ground Image: Square Enix
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Square Enix will shut down Mobius Final Fantasy’s global servers on June 30, the mobile game’s operations team announced on Jan. 15. Players received notice this morning that the game’s “Warrior of Despair” story will conclude with the server shutdown in June.

“It is with heavy heart that we must now bring you this sad news,” Square Enix wrote. “We will continue to implement updates to in-game events, including the conclusion of the Warrior of Despair story, until the end of service, so it is our fondest hope that you will see our adventurers’ fates out to the very last.”

Mobius Final Fantasy is a free-to-play mobile role-playing game that was released in Japan in 2015; it was released globally in August 2016. In 2017, it came to Steam as a Final Fantasy 7 Remake tie-in. Mobius Final Fantasy is a “gacha” game — like the capsule-toy vending machines. Players use in-game currency, “Magicite” or tickets in Mobius Final Fantasy, to pull collectible cards.

Popularity has waned since the game’s release in Japan, but fans are devastated — but not necessarily surprised — to see Mobius Final Fantasy go.

“Generally, we all know going into a gacha that the game always has the potential to shut down,” David, a 21-year-old Mobius Final Fantasy player, told Polygon. “Whether it’s from laws regarding gambling or having a small player base and therefore not enough profit.”

Mobius Final Fantasy has had its share of problems over the years; Square Enix pulled the game (and two others) from Belgium, citing uncertainty over the gacha mechanics and the “legal status of ‘loot boxes’ under Belgian law.” The Korean server was shut down in 2018 due to its small player base. Likewise, the Japanese server has been shut down since December 2019. Players have been worried about the state of the game since the earlier server closures.

Now that the end is actually in sight, players are upset: not only about the monetary investments they’ve put into the game, but because of what it’s represented to the community. (But the money spent on a game that’s going under stings, too. Weirdly enough, Square Enix is still letting players invest money into the game until March 31, when Magicite sales will end.)

Mobius to me was an escape,” 22-year-old Esteban Romero told Polygon. “I fell in love with its plot, characters, art, gameplay, and especially music. It felt like an experience I could’ve never gotten on anything until now.”

Romero said he’s been playing since “day one,” and has been active in the community since then. He posted a call to action on the game’s subreddit: Let’s start archiving the game while we can.

“The tragedy of games as a service is that very rarely can you go back and experience a game you love once its servers are gone,” Romero said. “Sadly, Mobius is no different. Soon, no one will be able to play this game and step foot in Palamecia again.”

Some players said they’ll continue playing until the end, to see the story through. Others are moving onto other games — but plenty of players told Polygon there’s no game like Mobius. Steve, a 34-year-old player, said that Mobius was actually free-to-play friendly,” which is “extremely rare” for a gacha mobile game.

Robert Jose Swinkels, a 36-year-old player from the Netherlands, said he’s deleted the game entirely. Playing it for the next couple months would be too much to bear, knowing it’s shutting down. “I know it’s just a game, but [it] was a major part of my life,” Swinkels said. “I deleted the game because I know by playing it with the knowledge I have, I would get sadder every day we got closer to the shut down.”

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