Even if FFXIV's subscription system doesn't work, the game could join many other Modern MMO's and go F2P. Offering micro-transactions for customers not willing to commit to a monthly subscription usually works out in the companies favor anyway, and it also brings more life into an MMO community. This also works out well for players who choose to retain their month subscription for the additional bonus' that they carry, because now they have more people to play with.
I think whether FtP brings in more cash than PtP is a question that's not as easy to answer as you make it look like.
Scenario 1: If everything is FtP, you earn exactly nothing.
Scenario 2: If most things are FtP, and only a few cosmetic ones are not, your profit stems only from players who are willing to fork over 50 bucks for an aethereal pony. While the world is full of idiots, not every idiot wants an aethereal pony.
Scenario 3: Many things are FtP, but certain features (like raid participation or items for faster progression) require you to pay on a case-by-case basis. That way, you generate first class and second class players, whereof the former may actually pay more than they would in a simple subscription model (see SWtoR; their system, which sells even GUI elements piecemeal, has often be describes as the most horrid abomination possible). Now that would piss me off, because I would most likely belong to the former group.
Scenario 4: PtW. Dies as soon as wealthy players have bought all the items, while the rest left long before.
Scenario 5: It strikes a perfect balance and customers perceive it as completely fair. Welcome to Wonderland.
Offering micro-transactions for customers not willing to commit to a monthly subscription usually works out in the companies favor anyway, and it also brings more life into an MMO community.
It brings in a greater turnover of players (and freeriders like RMT), but I have yet to see proof that it leads to a greater overall retention rate.
Edited, Mar 15th 2013 6:02am by Rinsui