Final Fantasy XIII, the 2009 installment of the Final Fantasy series from Square-Enix, is now available on Android and iOS in Japan, according to a report from TechCrunch. Originally released for PlayStation 3, in many ways the mobile release of Final Fantasy XIII represents a landmark for mobile gaming.
While Square-Enix has made a dedicated effort to bring the Final Fantasy catalogue to smart phones, having announced or released over 30 titles for iOS at the time of writing (including the recently-released Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, as reported in the Inquisitr,) several factors have always stood between smart phones and game titles with very high-end graphics or processor-intensive gameplay (see: the Final Fantasy series.) There are several reasons for this: graphics hardware miniaturization is one of them, but the major limiting factors have always been heat dissipation and battery power. Modern mobile displays may be impressive, but the sheer amount of power required to run high-end graphics for extended periods can drain a phone’s battery in minutes, if it doesn’t literally melt first.
Enter Square-Enix’s ambitious plan to harness cloud computing to stream Final Fantasy gameplay to your smartphone. Final Fantasy XIII takes up less than 20MB of storage, which is a pittance in today’s terms — Facebook’s app uses significantly more. Final Fantasy itself is then run on G-Cluster servers, and streamed to the device as a video. This also makes device compatibility a snap. While you need a fairly beefy internet connection (at least 3 Mb/s) if your device can stream video, then in theory, your device can play Final Fantasy XIII, and very little additional programming is required from the developers.
Currently, Final Fantasy XIII is only available to mobile users in Japan, although as GameSpot notes, you can play the game outside of Japan if you have a Japanese iTunes account, although streaming Final Fantasy from the Japanese servers has reportedly poor performance at best from outside of the country. Oh, and being able to read Japanese would probably help as well. A 30-minute demo is available for free, after which Final Fantasy XIII costs 2,000 yen — about $17 USD.
Final Fantasy XIII is currently not confirmed for mobile release outside of Japan, and although it’s hard to speculate on an eventual release, the fact that G-cluster has offices worldwide is a positive sign. Hopefully, fans of the Final Fantasy series will soon see Final Fantasy XIII and more available on their mobile devices, and cloud computing will continue to bring AAA titles to smart phones.
[Image courtesy of TechCrunch]