The editors here at GameRevolution have raved about The Elder Scrolls Online, Bethesda and Zenimax Online's upcoming MMO from the TES universe. But we've all been left with one question: What's the catch? As in, how are we gonna pay for this thing?
MMOs have largely went from subscription-based models to free-to-play models supported by microtransactions. Get your crowd hooked—an easy task for The Elder Scrolls series—and fans will empty their wallets. Despite suspecting that TESO would follow the trend, Zenimax Online's general manager Matt Firor has confirmed a monthly subscription fee of $14.99 per month will be required to play the game, with a 30-day free trial packed in with every copy of the game. He explained:
The Elder Scrolls games are all about allowing the player to go where they want, be who they want, and do what they want. We feel that putting pay gates between the player and content at any point in game ruins that feeling of freedom, and just having one small monthly fee for 100% access to the game fits the IP and the game much better than a system where you have to pay for features and access as you play. The Elder Scrolls Online was designed and developed to be a premium experience: hundreds of hours of gameplay, tons of depth and features, professional customer support – and a commitment to have ongoing content at regular intervals after launch. This type of experience is best paired with a one-time fee per month, as opposed to many smaller payments that would probably add up to more than $14.99/month any way.
And it’s important to state that our decision to go with subscriptions is not a referendum on online game revenue models. F2P, B2P, etc. are valid, proven business models – but subscription is the one that fits ESO the best, given our commitment to freedom of gameplay, quality and long-term content delivery. Plus, players will appreciate not having to worry about being “monetized” in the middle of playing the game, which is definitely a problem that is cropping up more and more in online gaming these days. The fact that the word “monetized” exists points to the heart of the issue for us: We don’t want the player to worry about which parts of the game to pay for – with our system, they get it all.