FFXI original Release date (JPPS2) was May 16, 2002. In December 2003 (After JP PC Release in Nov 02 and NA PC Release in Oct 03), FFXI reached 200k subs and Wada announced that it had passed the "break even" point and anything beyond this was profit.
Not saying it's false, but a citation would be great. From what I remember, they hit 500k subs in 2004 and that was the turning point. Still pretty good considering their estimate was for it to take twice that long. A year and a half seems generous. XIV currently isn't anywhere close and with all the added work they're putting into it, it's sinking further and further into the hole.
Yes there was negative reception, but mainly because its an unfinished product. I wouldn't conclude that its critically broken though, just a victim of a hasty release.
Whether or not it's critically broken isn't really the question. The question in the mind of a business is "How much more
will they have to invest (on top of the already millions they've dumped) into repairing this? Is that investment going to return given the current state of the game and the competition coming over the next few years?" Pulling the trigger too quick has had devastating consequences already and with each passing month that this game isn't where it was expected to be at release worsens that situation exponentially.
Now that I think about it I'm not exactly qualified to make the claim that they came out ahead for a while with only the revenue from initial cost of the game. Whether or not its in the red, it has the potential to turn a nice profit once its fixed, so abandoning the game all together seems a bit off.
It wouldn't make any sense for you to say that they're even close to being out of red. Going on 6 years of development, the costs associated with just that alone are way beyond what they've made in box sales. Add to that the costs of extra man hours, firing and hiring half of the development team and other additions like the new official forums... there is no way. Again, keep in mind that the further they go to repair this game, the higher their costs rise and as of now they are generating no income from FFXIV either via sales or subscription.
It's completely possible that they can bring the level of this game up to (at the very least) people's expectations, but it's going to take a lot of work; in most cases it's more work than it's worth. Edited, Mar 14th 2011 4:48am by FilthMcNasty