In another of today's main Gamasutra features, PlayOnline organizer and producer Sage Sundi took the microphone at GDC to examine what makes Final Fantasy XI
unique and successful as an MMOG, as he went on to detail how the game is supported to ensure a uniform experience across all platforms and all territories.
In this extract, the universal server concept for Final Fantasy XI
"The reason for universal servers was not just to reduce operation costs by 66% but to create "A cross-culture world without borders. A world of cultural harmony." The key way to accomplish this was the use of an in-game translator for all supported languages. Players have a list of keywords they can use to create a sentence and then have translated by the game. Also customer support both in-game and by phone are available in all the same languages as the game, which are Japanese, English, German, French and Chinese. They also design the release of each expansion for a simultaneous worldwide release.
Since they use universal servers there is no downtime in game activity. In addition the game currently has over 500,000 active subscribers making game maintenance a hard job. The company stressed that they hire only highly-qualified people for service jobs."
You can now read the full Gamasutra coverage on the matter
, including detailed information on this intriguing lecture (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).