One of the beautiful things about the FFXIV expansion is how it feels like old times again in MMO land and it'll probably be the last time we see early access codes because the "official launch" has the retail code until console MMOs begin to become a more commonplace. The reason that FFXIV follows the traditional early access pre-order code followed by the launch retail code is the simple dynamic of retailers and the console portion.
I'm getting error 2002 right now and I can confirm nothing works to fix it, you'll have to wait until Square Enix gets the servers working due to the huge influx of players, but in the meantime, let's talk about how and why you get an early access code.
A game goes "gold" when the developer hands the publisher the full and total content required to install the game or run the game on the console. That's when they raise their hands up and say "good enough" and then send it off to the printers to have the discs printed. The discs are then obviously printed, boxed up, and then sent off to various distribution centers for your local game stores and big box retailers.
Retail stores do not put products up as soon as they get them. They put products up when they are due to be released. This is because the product has a reservation, of sorts, on the shelf at the store and they need to make sure they have room for it (usually retiring another product). They also need time for marketing to play out and a set day for you to show up in the store and pick the product up. Additionally, no store wants another store to release it before they do, so it helps for all the stores to have the product at the same time (which it'll arrive to various stores on different dates due to shipping constraints) with some time for error, then they all say go together. There is lots of other factors and these don't apply to every store, but generally speaking, they want a release date.
Now, since the game has gone gold and they can digitally deliver it to you with just a patch and the extra assets on top of the main game, you can play earlier than the launch date. However, the physical copy is still being held by a retailer. So they in turn give the retailers "early access" codes to help in marketing pre-orders. These codes allow them to let you into the game early, but still allow the retailers to launch the boxed editions whenever.
Now, this was in the days where early access was only for those who could suffer the long length of time to download the actual game and before "founders access" which let players play extended early open betas before a game "went gold" and launched. Digital access has made it where, providing this early access code, is kind of odd because you have the game, you have it downloaded, and if you buy it right now you can play it (you'll get the early access code immediately from most retailers even after early access ends, as they have extras of the pre-order items).
Anyway some interesting discussion while I wait on the game to become playable for me. You know what right after this was finished, it's up, but I'm in queue :(!
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