In a new interview with Games.On, Bethesda marketing executive Pete Hines defended The Elder Scrolls Online's subscription fee, saying it was the "right decision" for the MMORPG. Recalling the decision to make The Elder Scrolls Online subscription-based instead of free-to-play, Hines said it was a "mutual" choice between publisher Bethesda and developer Zenimax Online Studios.
Though Hines said he's feeling some trepidation around the decision to make The Elder Scrolls Online a subscription-based game, he ultimately believes that "it's the right decision for the right reasons." The Elder Scrolls Online's success or failure will come down to the game making a strong enough argument to lead players to pay $15 month beyond the free 30 days, Hines said.
"If we're providing the kind of content people want to see where they're like 'This is awesome, I'm having a blast, this new stuff is totally worth it and I’m having fun', then the subscription totally works," he said. "If we're putting out stuff that doesn't make a case for it then we have a problem on our hands and we have failed to meet that value proposition."
Hines stressed that it's not the distinction between free-to-play vs. paid that determines an MMO's success or failure, but rather whether or not players feel they are getting their money's worth. "If yes, then they don't have a problem with it. If no, then they have a problem with it," he said.
MMOs like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Lord of the Rings Online started out with a subscription model and later transitioned to free-to-play. One analyst believes the same will be true for The Elder Scrolls Online.
Speaking with GameSpot earlier this month, Hines defended The Elder Scrolls Online's subscription-based model, saying players can expect meaningful content updates delivered on a regular basis. The Elder Scrolls Online launches this Friday, April 4, for PC. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions will arrive this summer.
Disclosure: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves is a member of the Zenimax Media Board of Directors.
|Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch|
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