Square Enix games are hardly missing from mobile devices, but most of what you’ll see from the company are ports of its older games. Dragon Quest VIII, which originally launched on the PlayStation 2, was about as recent as it gets. At least it was until now.
Final Fantasy XIII, which first appeared in Japan on the PlayStation 3 in December of 2009, is now available for iOS and Android devices. Even given the advances in computing power in mobile devices, this would be an impressive achievement if all of the rendering was done on the device itself, but it would also use up quite a bit of storage space. Fortunately, that isn’t the case here.
The first clue that something is different is the game’s small download size. At only 20MB, the download is smaller than even many simple apps. The trick is that the app downloaded to your phone is only uploading your input and streaming video back to the device. All the processing takes place on Broadmedia G-Cluster servers, as TechCrunch points out.
It was announced in September of 2014 that Square Enix would be using G-Cluster services to power streaming games, but while a number of games were supposed to launch in October 9 last year, this is the first one we’re seeing as a result of the deal. Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t the only name dropped in the original press release, either: Final Fantasy VII International and Season Of Mystery: The Cherry Blossom Murders were also named.
The game is a free download, though what’s free is essentially a demo, as after 30 minutes have passed, users will need to pay 2,000 yen (roughly $16.60) to keep playing. For now, Final Fantasy XIII is only available on the Japanese App Store and Google Play Store, and no release in the U.S. has been announced as of the time of this writing.
Since the game requires a steady download rate of 3 MB/s or better to run at all, it’s likely that Square Enix will be monitoring the game’s reception in Japan before the company even considers bringing it to other countries.