I think they're finally realising that outside of Japan, they can make lots of money if they treat people with more value than dog sh*t.
While I concur that SE is finally taking steps in their release dates, there is a good reason why old FF games had a lead time. In the golden era of video games, most of the problem was manufacturing of cartridges. The main problem today is translation and English voice over work. The fact that FFXIV is going to feature English only VO proves my point.
The important thing to remember is RPG's used to be a niche market in the NA region. Dragon Quest(Warrior), Final Fantasy, Ultima, Shining Force, Phantasy Star, and Wizardry were the games I remember from my childhood. None of those games held a candle to the Mario Bros, NBA Jam, Tecmo Bowl, Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat and countless other franchises in terms of popularity. Nowadays GTA, Call of Duty, Halo, and Madden series still dominate the sales figures in the NA region. That being true, rpg's aren't as niche as they used to be either. I'm very excited SE is pushing for a world wide release of FFXIV. That shows me that they do care about all their player base, no matter what region they live in. Edited, Dec 5th 2009 6:14am by ShadowedgeFFXI