The Elder Scrolls Online will not be a free-to-play MMO and will adopt a monthly subscription, Bethesda confirmed today.
The first month following its launch will be free to everyone. However, starting from the second month, those interested to keep adventuring will have to adopt a “premium” monthly subscription fee of $14.99 /€12.99 / £8.99.
The news comes as a surprise. Almost every major online title released recently has gone for a free-to-play model and those who didn’t were forced in the end to do so. Zenimax Online Studios though believe that a monthly subscription to the game is a better-suited model for the MMO.
Zenimax Online Studios president Matt Firor revealed the news in an interview with Gamestar. He said a business model where players pay once per month for access to the entire game is better-suited for the MMO than a free-to-play scheme.
“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 percent 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,” President Matt Firor told Gamestar in an interview.
“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,” he added. “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 anyway.”
He pointed out that the free-to-play model was always on the table but Bethesda thought a subscription model went better with the game.
“But subscription is the one that fits ESO the best, given our commitment to freedom of gameplay, quality and long-term content delivery,” Firor said. “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,” Firor added. “We don’t want the player to worry about which parts of the game to pay for–with our system, they get it all.”
The Elder Scrolls Online will release in Spring of 2014 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.