Except that the odds of drawing in any substantial number of players after the fact are slim to none. It just doesn't happen. An MMO launches and, thanks to the pre-launch hype, typically draws in hundreds of thousands of players. If the launch is a disaster (as it has been with FFXIV), it loses a substantial number of those players in the first 1-2 months. This is already happening, evidenced by the extended trial period.
Your theory has few flaws:
A) XIV, unlike other MMO's, has a niche. Other MMO's compete against each other, and it always results in a failure because you can't out-WoW WoW.
There's no arguing that XIV is a niche game, but where your argument seems to fall apart is that you seem to be under the impression that people who might be drawn to XIV would only be drawn to XIV. While that may be true for some players, it is certainly not true for most, and it's the "most" that defines the difference between a thriving game ad a flat game. I don't mind the niche aspect of XIV, but in no way am I the kind of player who would only be satisfied by those things SE does right to the exclusion of all else. I'm not going to play a game that irritates or bores me as much if not more than it entertains me. Niche or not, most players feel the same way.
B) Other MMO's try to steal players from other MMO's. They are in no way trying to build their own playerbase, except maybe Korean MMO's. They either don't have the name or the game to stand out from the crowd. They just want a slice of that pie that is the current MMO industry.
SE is no different. MMOs do not lend themselves to SE's strengths. SE strength in RPGs lies in storytelling. That is it. And MMOs are not the ideal platform for storytelling. What that means is that SE is taking something they do at a mediocre level (gameplay mechanics) and applying it to a genre where other people are doing those things better (MMOs) and hoping that their strength (storytelling) will be enough to get them through. And for some players, it will be. For most, it won't.
C) For many people, there is no choice. For all of the FF fans who want to play an FF MMO, there is no choice. This game is made for a niche, there are no choices to be had. And that is the game's biggest strength. It doesn't need to compete.
If by many you mean more than 100, sure. If by many you're referring to the MMO market in general, no. For many MMO gamers, their choice is a game they like or the next best thing or the next best thing or the next best thing. If FFXIV presents itself as #8 on that list of next best things, it will not end well for SE.
Why play AoC and Warhammer when there is WoW? It does everything better. But WoW is not the answer if somebody doesn't like XIV.
That was umm...ya...I'm going to try and forget you even typed that.
But in reality, it doesn't matter who they ****** off. Only idiots would not play the game when it is good just because years ago it was bad. That just doesn't make sense. Especially if you skipped the launch due to poor reviews (which every rational fellow should have). There is nothing to indicate that a good game can not be successful.
No, only people who moved on to something else that they enjoyed more than XIV aren't going to come back to XIV just because years ago it was bad. That's the point. You seem to be happily flitting about this delusional world where everyone is just waiting for the next SE MMO and filling time in between. It doesn't work that way. Most MMO gamers either have an MMO they enjoy already or are looking for a different MMO to enjoy and they don't give a **** who makes it. If it's good, they'll play it and they'll play it for a long time. If it's not, they move on and they rarely come back.
And I never said AoC or Warhammer turned into good games. I'm saying that after launch the devs fixed a lot of issues in each game to the point where some people who were turned off at launch came back and those who stuck around through it all were at least partially appeased. And neither of those games ever returned to the number of people they had at launch. And based on that, we could say that if SE is going to buck that trend, they've got a long, hard slog ahead of them.