Bethesda Pushing for Elder Scrolls Online to be Playable without Xbox Live Gold Subscription

In the past couple of years we’ve seen more and more MMO games creep away from the PC platform and they’ve started to crop up on consoles.

It used to be impossible for consoles to be considered as viable platforms to launch an MMO on, due to the difficulty of playing online, but the current generation of consoles has fixed that problem and now developers are really starting to take advantage of the platforms.

We’ve seen titles such as DC Universe Online and Defiance have successful lives on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Now we’ve got Elder Scrolls Online, and since the Elder Scrolls series exploded with popularity after the console versions of Oblivion and Skyrim, of course this is a great opportunity for Bethesda to add another console MMO to the market.

There’s a problem however, because Bethesda intend for Elder Scrolls Online to be a subscription based MMO: i.e paying a monthly fee in order to access your game. The costs go towards server maintenance and continued development of content for the game.

Online access on Xbox 360 is only available via an Xbox Live Gold subscription, which would be another monthly fee on top of that for Xbox 360 players, so what’s the deal there?

According to Peter Hines from Bethesda in an interview with OXM, Bethesda are trying to convince Microsoft that you shouldn’t require an Xbox Live Gold subscription as well as your Elder Scrolls Online subscription in order to play the latter.

We feel like most people such as yourself currently pay that subscription not to pay a game, but to play all games online. So in that sense, when I’m playing Call of Duty online I don’t feel like I’m paying my monthly Xbox Live sub for Call of Duty – I’m just paying it because that’s a thing that I do, and whatever game I’m playing at the time is the one that benefits.

Having said that, we have been in talks with Microsoft about that very thing, and seeing whether or not there’s any room to change their minds about that, for folks who are only paying The Elder Scrolls Online and don’t want to pay for an Xbox Live Gold subscription, just to pay the Elder Scrolls Online.

The answer right now is that’s the way it works, but it’s something that we’re aware of and we keep pushing on, to see if there’s something that can be done. We’ll let you know if there’s movement there.

Currently you’ll have to pay $15 a month for Elder Scrolls Online on top of whatever you might pay for Xbox Live Gold, and that kind of money adds up fast.

In an ideal world, Microsoft will support MMO development by cutting out the Xbox Live Gold paywall for MMOs on their system. It might mean a little less money for them, but it means more game sales, and surely that’s a good thing?