In brief: Square Enix has halted the sale and delivery of Final Fantasy XIV Starter Edition and Complete Edition due to the overwhelming success of the recently launched Endwalker expansion pack.
Naoki Yoshida, the game's producer and director, said players are still experiencing substantial congestion when logging into the game nearly two weeks after the start of early access. The extremely long wait times are "due to the dense concentration of play hours which far exceed our server capacity, especially during peak times."
In response, Square Enix has decided to temporarily suspend sales of the game over the next few days. What's more, they're also suspending new registrations for the free trial and suspending all new advertisements.
Yoshida said expansion packs and collector's edition digital upgrades will continue to be available for existing players, allowing them to upgrade as needed.
What's most frustrating about the whole situation is the fact that Square Enix warned last month (ahead of the early access period) that severe server congestion could be an issue. The video game company optimized servers ahead of Endwalker's release to increase login caps but said the ongoing shortage of semiconductors prevented them from doing more.
That excuse would be more palatable if this didn't happen literally every time a big game launches. Nevertheless, Square Enix aims to provide more information regarding its server upgrade roadmap by the end of January 2022.
Square Enix recently granted seven days of additional game time for all players, and will soon be tacking on an additional 14 days to help compensate for the issues.