The Elder Scrolls Online will be a "premium" subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, carrying a monthly fee of $14.99/€12.99/£8.99 after the first free month.
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 game 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," Firor said.
"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."
Firor pointed out that Bethesda's decision to go with subscriptions for The Elder Scrolls online is "not a referendum on online game revenue models" like free-to-play, which he said can be "valid."
"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."
Bethesda recently said that The Elder Scrolls Online will see a "high frequency" of post-release support.
The Elder Scrolls Online is aiming for release on the PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in spring 2014, though official release dates have not been announced. For more on the MMO game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.